by Winter Black
Feminists are angry, feminists are feisty, feminists are funny, feminists are… lonely? Despite the fact that feminists tend to be quite open about their views, a lot of ladies are left feeling like they’re the only pro-women people in their small towns. Local feminist communities tend to lack, well, community. If you feel like you’re living in a city filled with purely misogynistic idiots or people who just don’t care, I can completely relate. I used to walk down my city’s streets passing by pro-lifers protesting outside my local abortion clinic, watch women get catcalled, hear slut-shaming remarks coming out of the mouths of my classmates and wonder why I was the only feminist around. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only feminist around and you most likely aren’t either.
Despite how little or closed-minded your town may be, you can almost always participate in or start up a feminist community. One obvious way is to join a local feminist group. If your town doesn’t have a feminist group, consider starting one yourself! Keep in mind, this may be too big of a commitment for you, so we’ll get back to this idea in a moment.
A more sublte way to get involved is volunteer work. Your city or town most likely has a local Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre, Women’s Shelter or Transistion House (for abused women), that could always use a little bit of help. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you could donate! Women’s Shelters especially are constantely looking for donations of food, toiletries or blankets. If you’re unsure of what to donate, call them up or check their website to see if they’ve posted a list. Depending on how much time you can put into it, you could even set up a fundraiser. My local feminist group recently organized a coffee house fundraiser where we asked local musicians to play, local businesses to donate food and local teenagers to come enjoy the night for a small price at the door!
If volunteering isn’t your thing, then look around newspapers or listen to the radio to find out if there’s any feminist movie nights or events set up by local feminists that you could attend. This is a great way to learn more while meeting new lady-lovin’ friends.
I mentioned before about starting a feminist group and this is my prefered way of getting invloved. However, if you’re starting it yourself, it does take time and effort but if you’re ready for the commitment, it’s a very rewarding experience! When my feminist group started, it was just a few feminist friends I had gathered meeting in the park every Sunday. When we decided we wanted to do a fundraiser, we got in contact with our local Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre. They soon figured out we were homeless feminists and gave us a meeting space!
If you don’t want to hold the meetings in your house or a local park, try asking local Crisis Centre’s or women’s groups if they have a space they could lend you – this is also a great way to get more members as they’ll probably know some people who would want to join your group. Put up posters around town, create Facebook pages, offer cupcakes (trust me, it works) and soon the word will get out. My group now has about 20 members, just from word of mouth! At your group, you could read and dicsuss articles, rant about local issues, figure out how to fix those issues and create events and fundraisers. You’re bound to have a blast and also do good in your community.
Hopefully, you’ll start to become more involved now that you know where to start. There’s no better feeling than having fun while doing a good thing with great friends. You’re sure to meet plenty of great people and do plenty of great things. If you’re not ready to get out about in your community, you could even start small – starting a feminist blog is a great way to start. Whichever way you choose, there’s a lot you can do, so get off your butt and start feministing!