February 8, 2012 • Podcasts
Shameless Book Club: ‘Feminism For Real’!
Our first episode of the Shameless Book Club podcast features anthology 'Feminism for Real' edited by Jessica Yee.
This text asks big questions about the relationship between feminist theory and practice, and discusses the frustrations of trying to relate to ideas about feminism that don't fit no matter how much we sometimes squeeze and unbutton to make them.
In this podcast you'll hear Shameless contributors and staff rolling around questions the book has posed, and talking about where they look to find answers in themselves.
Take a listen here:
For a transcription of this episode read on here:
(Shameless Book Club intro jingle - written and recorded by Jo Snyder)
Sarah Feldbloom – Hi, I’m Sarah Feldbloom, Shameless magazine’s web producer. Welcome to the first episode of our book club. For our first installment, a team of Shameless staff and writers came together to talk about their reactions to Feminism for Real, a collection of stories of what feminism means in theory and in life. Editor Jessica Yee is a self-described two-spirit, multiracial, Indigenous, feminist, hip-hop reproductive justice freedom fighter. She is the executive director and founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Profits from her book, Feminism for Real, go toward a scholarship fund for the kids of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. You can find it at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore and other independent vendors. To start us off, here’s Sheila, the moderator of this episode’s discussion.
(Sound up on the round table discussion)
Sheila Sampath – I’m Sheila Sampath, the Art and Editorial Director of Shameless. I’ve been to the academy, but not for women’s studies. I studied sociology and psychology at U of T, and then graphic design at George Brown.
Laura Krahn – I’m Laura. I’m also an academically trained feminist although, again, not in women’s studies. I have degrees in critical theory, and my areas were feminist and queer theory and also in English, and I am a reviewer for Shameless magazine.
Naz Afsahi – Hi, I’m Naz Afsahi. I’m a blogger at Shameless. I too was once a member of the academy. I went to Queen’s University for my undergrad. It was not in women’s studies; it was in film studies slash religious studies, and I also received my Masters from the University of Western Ontario in media studies.
Ronak Ghorbani – Hi, I’m Ronak Ghorbani. I’m the arts editor for Shameless. I have an undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in sociology, and I’m pursuing a master’s in communication and culture at Ryerson and York University.
Julia Horel-O’Brien – I’m Julia Horel O’Brien. I’m the web director and blog and community manager at Shameless magazine. I have an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Trent University and a Masters in Publishing from Simon Fraser. I have never taken a women’s studies course.
SS – So we’re going to start off with some general questions. The first is really general: What were your impressions of the book?
RG – I was really jazzed when I got the call out in my email to submit, because in the email, Jessica Yee had said that she was looking for contributions by youth and for people who haven’t studied women’s studies necessarily, and I really like that kind of non-academic approach to the book. And as someone who reads a lot of academic theory, I get really frustrated because it’s not always grounded in reality or examples aren’t given of how you can apply theory to real life. It was really refreshing and awesome to read a feminist text that is grounded in reality, grounded in people’s experience and giving agency for people to talk about their own experiences and acknowledging that people know about themselves and people want to talk about themselves. I don’t know if I’m saying that right, like people are their own experts, that’s it. You don’t get that in a lot of academia. And it’s really frustrating.
LK– I was really excited going into it because I had been following a lot of the buzz surrounding the collection. I had really high hopes for it, and those hopes are a little disappointed and I had some concerns coming out of the book. I wanted it to take that extra step and be really clear and explicit about so what can we do? So here are some options. Or, it’s up to you to figure it out. So I wanted it to go the extra mile, to push the boundaries of what such an anthology could achieve. Or be explicit about the fact that we are the ones to push those boundaries.
SS – So everybody got something different out of it or was looking for something different from the book. I am just wondering, just for clarity, what everybody’s expectations were, like personal expectations going into reading the book.
JH – I wanted to hear voices that didn’t sound like mine, actually. Being a white, straight, cis-gendered, upper-middle-class brought up person who went through school without any financial hardships. I am the person who academia was designed for and so I wanted to hear people that weren’t me and people that I didn’t consider when I was in university, and I really want to correct that now.
NA – I wanted to hear more voices that I think were similar to mine as someone who does identify as a woman of colour. So I was very excited to hear more voices speak out instead of the traditional voices that we read in the academy. And I didn’t go through women’s studies, but I have read a lot of feminist theory in grad school, so I was super excited to hear from those outside the quote, unquote “pedestals” of feminist theory.