February 8, 2012 • Podcasts
Shameless Book Club: ‘Feminism For Real’!
Continued from page 2
SS – Is there anything else before I ask another question?
JH – I feel the same way!
SS – So, Naz, you had mentioned something that I wanted to come back to a little bit, you talked a little about the book and you also mentioned the term traditional texts, and I guess things that you generally tend to read in graduate school, and so my question to everyone is sort of around this binary, or this dichotomy that is being set up between community-based work, between activism and action and theory. So before and after reading the book, do you feel that there is a disconnect between the theory of feminism, and feminism being whatever it means to you, and the practice of feminism?
LK– Well, I have a critical theory degree, so this is a dichotomy that I am very used to grappling with, and it’s one that frustrates me because it doesn’t exist. We need theory, theory comes out of everyday life. Language, I know, isn’t always accessible, but that’s why we have academics. And a lot of the feminist theory that I read throughout my degree was poetry, it was poetical, it did have different languages in it so I was coming at it being like, yeah, this is the same old story again, I guess. I mean, I get so frustrated with this dichotomy; theory is important, and it provides this certain function as well as the activism, and I don’t - I’m confused about still why theory, writing theory in itself and having that critical response isn’t considered a form of activism, and I guess that’s the way the academy is positioned in the world we live.
RG – Can I make a response?
RG – I think I would disagree, because in the book they do talk about how like being a professor and writing theory, writing articles is a form of activism. It isn’t the be and all of activism, it is an important part of it, but I think one of the problems that it identifies something that I would disagree with you about when it comes to theory, is that it isn’t accessible, and then you said that some of it isn’t accessible, that's why we have academics. I think the point that the book is trying to raise, at least for me, is that we shouldn’t need academics, right? We shouldn’t have academics theorizing about people’s lived experiences. Theory should be presented in a way that is accessible. And I feel like the book does present that in a lot of different ways. But I agree, I think that theory is really really important, but something that I am trying to work really hard to do as a TA working with first years is to make theory accessible and relevant to their lives, and from the students that I have heard back from, that I have made it relevant to their lives, specifically around popular culture and stuff. But there’s one piece in here that Latoya Peterson - I’m just gonna - sorry, I’m taking up a lot of time.
JH - Don’t apologize
RG - Yeah, don’t apologize. I’m just gonna try to find it, does anyone know what page Latoya Peterson’s thing is?
JH - It starts at page 43
RG – 43, Okay, Latoya Peterson is a really awesome writer at Racialicious. And so, right now, I just said that I’m really happy that the students that I’m working with are making theory relevant to their lives - what they’ve told me - I don’t want to toot my own horn because working with students who are in university is not really the community that I want to work with. In her piece, “The Feminist Existential Crisis, Dark Child Remix,” Latoya writes that “when, somewhere along the way, people started acknowledging me as a feminist writer, and then as a feminist, and then inviting me to speak at women-focused events and feminist conferences. Somehow that became my identity for a while, yet, underneath my skin I was always chaffing, I felt like I was constantly explaining class and race in relation to feminism. Even with those who didn’t want to hear it, I started seeing the same hierarchies play out, time and time again. I stopped feeling so connected to the women and girls I wanted to speak to, and started to feel like I was being pulled into a very different world.”
And when I’m up there as like a tutorial leader, this describes how I feel. Like I’m very excited that I’m able to make things understandable, but is this necessarily the community that I want to work with?
(Ending of round table discussion, sound up on extro monologue)
Sarah Feldbloom– I’m Shameless Magazine’s web producer, Sarah Feldbloom and you have been listening to the first installment of our book club podcast featuring Jessica Yee’s Feminism For Real. What you’ve heard here is the beginning of an awesome dialogue, one that’s important for Shameless staff, readers, and our listeners to continue. If you have comments or ideas about this episode, or for future podcasts, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for some shameless advice on how to start your own book club, take a look at our spring 2011 issue for a DIY guide. And for those of you who are hankering to get your hands on a copy of Feminism for Real, you can order it online, directly from the publisher at www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/bookstore . That’s all for now! Talk to you again soon and thanks for joining us.
(Shameless Book Club extro jingle - written and recorded by Jo Snyder)