Harrogate Feminists


Advice from a seasoned activist
February 7, 2011, 12:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I attended a Global Feminist Activism Workshop.

It was organised by Women for Women International. There was some discussion of what all the various local groups were doing for International Women’s Day; I had to admit that “bridges” sadly do not at present feature in our planned event… However – I am sure we can get a bridge in somehow…?

Anyway, all in all it was a really inspiring afternoon. There was a particularly good guest speaker, Dr Jocelynne Scutt, who had loads of interesting things to say.

Two things she said stuck in my mind.

Firstly, women who try to change things are often told “You are being too aggressive, instead you must learn to be assertive.” She said, firmly, that at least in the context of feminist activism she felt this was “a nonsense”. The distinction between “aggressive” and “assertive” often seems to depend purely on whether the person listening to you agrees with the views being expressed. The idea of the “aggressive women” has, of course, a massive stigma attached, whereas for a man it is often viewed more as a compliment. Go figure.

Secondly, if you do speak out and try to change things, there will always be people who have an interest in maintaining the status quo, or who just don’t like change, and these people can say negative things about what you’re doing. This is why it’s really important to build a network of supportive friends, colleagues and like-minded people whom you can talk things over with when things get tough.

I’ve also added a few interesting “global”-related links to our ever-growing list of relevant groups and organisations (on the left of this page – scroll down, and down…)

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