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What the F*** is Feminism?!

One highlight (of many) for me during my Residency at Haverford so far has been leading a workshop for the Haverford Womens Center this past weekend, on the topic  “What the F** is Feminism”.  Charged with addressing this – ahem – large topic in a two hour workshop, I was excited and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect, but our time together seems to have generated a pretty vital conversation on campus, which is really exciting to me.  The folks from the Women’s Center had asked that the workshop include “a history of feminism”  – which turned out to be an epic undertaking:  somewhat impossible…tried to do it – but failed – in 15 minutes…my brief – and thus VERY superficial overview wound up at more like 25 minutes.  But it was a very though-provoking task, which i now am thinking may have reason to grow into a larger project in the future.   As passsionate as i feel that the world still badly needs feminism, this look at where we’ve been,  where this movement came from, how it has intersected with and been influenced by other social movements, what the key issues have been and how they’ve evolved is pretty cool and helpful to look at in terms of where we are going and the nature of the work still ahead.   To quote the visioinary bell hooks, “Rooted in neither fear nor fantasy… Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression”.  This excellent, clear definition certainly clarifies for me that feminism’s goal is far from finished yet.