by Chanel Dubofsky
I was late to the last Feminist General Assembly, so in a flurry of embarassment and neurosis, I am absurdly early to this one. I sit on a bench for a while, getting sprayed by the fountain whose water moves when the wind blows, watching the Women Occupying Wall Street crew in a beautiful, conspiratorial huddle. When the Feminist General Assembly sign is unfurled and held up, people start to gather. A middle aged, balding white dude in a polo shirt calls out, “Get a job!” and keeps walking past, accompanied by some women with sweaters draped over their shoulders. What I want to do is chase after him and yell a lot, but instead, I make a mental note to write him a strongly worded letter, which he will never read.
The GA, the theme of which is LGBTQ because of Pride Month, opens with a reminder that Cece McDonald is still in prison, and that today, Lisa Brown and Eve Ensler are performing the Vagina Monologues on the steps of the Michigan capitol, because dudes think vagina is a really gross and terrible word. We all shout “vagina”, and I have a series of flashbacks to being in college and yelling it during rehearsals for the Vagina Monologues, feeling subversive and kind of dirty and scary.
We get into small groups to answer the question “What words/names/terms have you had trouble using/receiving?” In my group, the words are queer, feminist and anything queer positive. We talk about young women being nervous about using the word feminist, although they benefit so directly from the achievements of it, and how the word “feminism” implies a monolith, in fact, there are many feminisms. Read more