We’ve been accused time and time again of not existing. Young women today either aren’t feminists or, even if they have feminist opinions, we’re told they don’t want to be called the dreaded F-word. Some might ask why, but that’s not the question. It’s true that there are young women out there who reject the term, or feminism altogether. But we’re not talking about them. The real question is where are the people who claim young feminists don’t exist looking?
Sometimes I feel like I never stop virtually waving my arms and yelling through cyberspace, “I’m here! I’m here!” Because that’s where I am–in cyberspace, most of the time. It has been said time and time again that this next wave of feminism (if you subscribe to the “wave” idea) is online. We’re blogging, facebooking, podcasting, tweeting about feminism. If there’s a way to bring the activism to the larger stage that is the World Wide Web, feminists are going to find that way in. It’s a way to reach more people; it’s worldwide. Many teachers are embracing technology in the classroom–my literary theory prof might ask us to pull out our smartphones or iPads to look something up, and my sister recently wrote a grant to get a couple of iPods for her fifth grade class. Similarly, feminists are using technology as a way to reach out to the masses, including the younger generation who know nothing about a world where computers didn’t exist.
So where are these people looking? I don’t have an answer. Obviously they’re not looking in the right place because we’re all pretty easy to find. It’s true that the first Google search result for “young feminism” is an outdated NOW page. But the third result is the fbomb, an awesome blog by and for young feminists. Maybe the problem is that those who are accusing us of not existing don’t consider online activism as “real” activism. I mean, shouldn’t we be out there in the world holding our signs and wearing our This is What a Feminist Looks Like t-shirts? If you do that, great. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s more than many people will ever do.
But I think it’s just as effective to put a This is What a Feminist Looks Like badge on my blog (which is what I did last night to celebrate the Young Feminist Blog Carnival–except it was a This is What A Young Feminist Looks Like badge!) and Facebook about feminism. It may not be “active” in the way that activism is usually thought about, but for now, while I’m plugging away at my undergraduate degree, trying to find a part-time job, and living in an area where the F-word is a bad one, it’s all I’ve got.
You may not see me, but I’m here. We’re here. I promise.