Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello fellow Feminists

Hello my fellow feminists! My name is Colleen Mullen, and as this is my first of many blogs for the Feminist Majority Foundation, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I recently gradated from UCLA with a major in Political Science (concentration in Political Theory) and a minor in Women’s Studies. While at UCLA, I realized the ever growing importance and power of civic engagement, community activism, grassroots organizing, and student activism. During my first 2 years at UCLA, I served as the Logistics and Finance Coordinator for the Student Activist Project (SAP). SAP aimed to enlighten students on broad social justice issues, to teach the fundamentals of grassroots organizing, and most importantly to empower students to challenge students to use this knowledge to make a change in our society. In addition, I completed the JusticeCorps program in Downtown Los Angeles where I provided legal information to self-represented litigants in family law cases. With this background, I aim to (at some point) go to law school and study public interest law.

Student Activists hard at work. Student Activist Project Facilitation Team Retreat (2007). Photo Courtesy of Tina Reggio.

Feminists have many different faces. I'm sure that even if we all identify as feminists, we each have different definitions of this means. Feminism, as a political, epistemological, social, cultural philosophy, constantly reinvents, questions, and challenges itself. The theoretical feminist rainbow (for lack of a better metaphor) includes everything from traditional, political Liberal Feminists who strive for individual autonomy; radical Socialist feminist who acknowledge the intersecting oppressions of patriarchy and capitalism on women; third world feminists who challenge Western cultural imperialism; to post modern feminists who claim every individual is a result of intersectional, unique, oppressions that cannot lend itself to group formations. This is the beauty (and some would even argue it is a pain) of feminism.

For me, feminism is something much simpler. Feminism is simply a different perspective of life, a forgotten and invisible perspective. Without realizing, many people have been socialized to view life, themselves, and others, through the perspective of a white, heterosexual, capitalist, rich/middle-class male. This unrecognized perspective ignores the different experiences of communities of color, working class, the LGBTQ communities, physically or mentally disabled, women, societies in non-Western and developing countries… the list goes on and on. The fundamental goal of a feminist (of any theoretical background) therefore must be to simply acknowledge, respect, and act upon all these philosophies.