Flip The Table Feminism

#flipthetablefeminism #notyourmamasfeminism @your_feminism

         Picture this: a group of progressive, multi-cultural, gay, queer and straight identifying women in one room with ‘a few’ bottles of wine between them. Our primary goal: to discuss feminism. The word “feminism” can stir-up so many emotions ranging from elation to avoidance. These emotions are often stemmed in our personal upbringings, our identities, and also societal norms around what a “feminist” is. Our goal is to redefine what feminism means, and to create a space where we do not “come to the table” to speak—we’re flipping the f—kin’ table!

         What does that mean? Flip the table? Well, think of it this way. How often have you been invited to come to the “table” to discuss something that feels important to you. To bring forth your ideas, to discuss… without ever. seeing. any. action? How often have you not been invited? We are tired of this! We are tired of being told to sit and wait. We are tired of being told to “bring forth your most pressing matters”; and, we are tired of meeting at the patriarchal table. We want change, now!

         But why? Why now? Why do we need change—aren’t we already a progressive enough society? Aren’t we making changes to close the wage-gap? What about the #MeToo movement? That’s making gains. Sure! These are all great baby-steps in the trajectory of flipping the patriarchal table, but we need more. Historically, the feminist movement has ignored, denied, and oppressed large groups of women. Women of color, women with differing levels of ability, women who are queer, trans or gender non-conforming have all been isolated and dehumanized by the traditional feminist movement. Critical Feminism is dynamic- we recognize that feminism in its original concept further oppressed women with marginalized identities.

         That’s great, but how? How do we re-imagine feminism in a way that will allow for this dramatic change to occur, and will aid in halting the progression that typical feminism is currently on? Well, we’ve drafted a new definition of what a critical feminist is.

         What we believe .

. A Critical Feminist:

1. Recognizes the limitations of gender as a social construct.

2. Is critical of the various waves of feminism.

3. Embraces traits that are attributed to folks who identify with marginalized genders.

A critical feminist does not believe women should be “more like men”, (Sandberg), rather they believe that ALL people should have equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal power. A critical feminist does not believe that people are limited by their gender identity and critiques the limits set by societal norms around gender expression. A critical feminist believes that a person does not have to identify as a feminist to be doing feminist work…but it helps!

So, let’s get down to the flipping! Critical Feminist Leadership is rooted in critical queer, race, and feminist theories and prioritizes the following key principles:

1. Authentic relationships, bringing our whole person to work every day

2. Inclusion: Awareness of, and seeking opportunities for, inclusion—going beyond advocacy for underrepresented and marginalized communities to actively engaging them

3. Removing barriers to build coalition—creating community in every moment and in every possible way. Building communities in partnership with others, not in isolation, where students, teachers, administrators have equal voice in the process of education

4. Disrupting oppressive systems of education that give preferential treatment to the wealthy, white, middle to upper-class members of our society. This includes actively devaluing and contesting hegemonic leadership rooted in white supremacy.  

A Critical Feminist cannot come to the table with anything, they must FLIP the table to get their point across. We invite you to join our cause, and look forward to working with you to disrupt, dismantle, and rebuild feminism.We are doing this following the principles of Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown (pp. 222-223):

  • We are making an honest attempt to solve the most significant problems of our day.
  • We are building a network of people and organizations that are develping long-term solutions based on the immediate confrontation of our most pressing problems.
  • Wherever there is a problem, there are already people working on the problemin some fashion.
  • We emphasize our own power and legitimacy.
  • We presume our power, not our powerlessness.
  • We are agents, not victims.
  • We spend more time building than attacking.
  • We focus our strategies rather than issues.
  • The strongest solutions happen through the process, not in a moment at the end of the process.
  • The most effective strategies for us are the ones that work in situations of scarce resources…
  • Place is important…
  • We encourage people to engage with their whole selves, not just with one part of their identity.
  • We begin by listening.

References

Abraham, Susan Shoulder to Shoulder: Frontiers in Catholic Feminist Theology, co-edited anthology of contemporary Catholic Feminist theology with Elena Procario-Foley, Fortress Press, October 2009; Portugueselanguage license to Editoria Santuario, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2010

brown adrienne maree, Emergent Strategy (2017) AK Press https://www.akpress.org/emergentstrategy.html

Collins,Patricia  Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Boston: Unwin Hyman, (1980)

hooks, B. (1984). Feminist theory from margin to center.

Lorde, Audre Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches ( 2007)

McFadden, Caroline, “Critical white feminism interrogating privilege, whiteness, and antiracism in feminist theory” (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1159. http://stars.library.ucf.edu/honorstheses1990-2015/1159

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