Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bitch Recap

Last night, Bitch magazine publisher Debbie Rasmussen stopped by Sam Weller's to hold a participatory discussion on feminism, what it means to individuals in attendance and how we might get more active and put our passions to good use. Several members of the media represented, including event sponsor SLUG's Angela Brown, Meghann Griggs and Jeanette Moses, Salt Lake magazine's Erin Bean, CW editor Holly Mullen, myself and Salt Lake Tribune's Sean Means. It was nice to see such a great interest generated by those who have an ability to spread the word and hopefully motivate a few more people to join the movement.

The night kicked off with attendees introducing themselves and explaining how they came to consider themselves as feminists. Each response varied, though certain themes surfaced including: the word feminism as a charged term with largely negative connotations; men as feminists and gender equality; feminism and its relationship to the LDS Church and religion in general ... Rasmussen also tossed out the potential problematic relationship between drinking and activism. She said that on her cross-country tour nearly every city she's visited has basically provided one location for Bitch's fund-raising efforts: The bar.

This idea resonated with many in attendance and brought up an interesting question: do you need to be completely sober to effect change? I don't know that answer to that one.

Another interesting revelation: there is about one official community-based feminist group in town. It's called Feminist Empowerment Movement, or FEM. Its founders are "just a bunch of kids" and one mother who are fed up with sexual harrassment, rape, general misogyny, etc. who started a grassroots movement in March. They have plans to organize a Take Back the Night event at the University of Utah later this year. If you're interested in participating, the group meets every Monday night at the Coffee Connection (1588 S. State) from 7 to 9 p.m.
Check out their website.

Much thanks to Davina Pallone, SLUG and Sam Weller's for putting together such an informative and invigorating evening. Since graduating from the U, I haven't been as active in the feminist--or as some prefer, gender equality--movement. There were a lot of issues we didn't get around to exploring--class divides, race, pro vs. anti porn feminism, career choices. I'd love to get the conversation going right here in SLC.

If you're interested in learning more about what's up with feminism today, here are a couple of cool starting points:



(Jamie Gadette)

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