Changing Things Up!! New Directions for A Room of Our Own

We’re changing things up this year! Below are just some of the ways we would like to support feminist and womanist writers this year.

  • ‘What we’re reading’ will no longer be a quick round-up of interesting articles written by feminist and womanist writers each week. Instead, it will be a collation of all the new blogs and articles written by members that week. In order to do this, members need to tweet us links to all their new work, including, but not limited to,  poetry, short stories and art published online. We will also include links to new work that is only available in printed publications.
  • We will publish only a section of new writing under ‘Featured Blog’ to push traffic back to our members’ writing, art, vlogs, etc
  • When we feature a new piece of work by members under “Featured Blog”, we will also share links to their work on other platforms.
  • We will be publishing links to members new writing regardless of where it is published on our social media pages. Currently, we have focused only on twitter and Facebook but we will be expanding to other social media platforms this year.
  • We are going to create a larger biography section. Currently, the ‘Our Writers’ section contains only a brief biography with links to members blogs and Facebook pages. We will still use this brief biography at the bottom of ‘Featured Blogs’, but this will now include a link to the longer biography that will contain links to any articles, poetry, short stories, art etc. published online, as well as any books (or chapters of books) that are written by members. We would also like members to name any campaigns they have been involved with or public speeches they have made (such as academic conferences but also Reclaim the Night and feminist marches), but also any blog posts you are most proud of.
  • We are going to focus more on publishing ebooks of members writing, both as a way to help fund our feminist and womanist network but also to demonstrate the sheer beauty of our members’ writing and art, which hasn’t found mainstream publishers. Check out the details of our latest anthology on women only spaces. The deadline for abstracts is February 1. Our first anthology was published in 2016. You can buy it here.

We’re always looking for new ways to support our members so please get in touch with your ideas!

 

Binary or Spectrum, Gender is a Hierarchy, by @ClaireShrugged

Cross-posted from: Sister Outrider
Originally published: 05.09.17

A brief foreword: this is the fifth essay in my series on sex, gender, and sexuality. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 are available here on Sister Outrider. With this essay, I challenge the notion that gender can be repurposed as anything other than a hierarchy. This one is dedicated to E, a stellar lesbian and feminist.


 

“It is impossible to name and act against oppression if there are no nameable oppressors.” – Mary Daly

What is Gender?

Gender is a fiction created by patriarchy, a hierarchy imposed by men to ensure their dominance over women. The idea of a gender binary was established in order to justify the subordination of women by positioning our oppression by men as a natural state of affairs, the result of how characteristics innately held by men and women manifest. Framing gender as natural not only serves to depoliticise the hierarchy, but uses essentialism in order to convince women that radical resistance to gender – the means of our oppression – is futile. Hopelessness breeds apathy, which undermines social change more effectively than any overt challenge. If abolishing gender (and therefore dismantling patriarchy) is an unobtainable goal, women have no choice but to accept our status as second-class citizens of the world. To treat gender as inherent is to accept a patriarchal blueprint for the design of society.

gender imageGender is a hierarchy that enables men to be dominant and conditions women into subservience. As gender is a fundamental element of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (hooks, 1984) it is particularly disconcerting to see elements of queer discourse argue that gender is not only innately held but sacrosanct. Far from being a radical alternative to the status quo, the project of “queering” gender only serves to replicate the standards set by patriarchy through its essentialism. A queer understanding of gender does not challenge patriarchy in any meaningful way – rather than encouraging people to resist the standards set by patriarchy, it offers them a way to embrace it. Queer politics have not challenged traditional gender roles so much as breathed fresh life into them – therein lies the danger. 
Read more Binary or Spectrum, Gender is a Hierarchy, by @ClaireShrugged

Women only spaces : An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writers

I would like to apologise to everyone who submitted their writing. I’ve only just read the submissions and they are all beautiful, inspiring, and provoking. I will email everyone this week for my failure to be in touch sooner. I am suffering from severe depression and anxiety disorder from PTSD and have been struggling a lot these past few months. My support for women’s writing remains. Just waiting for my brain to catch up.

 

Women only spaces are a fundamental part of the feminist movement and represent women’s right to self-determination and liberation. We’re collecting short stories, poetry, and essays that illustrate, explore and define the importance of women-only spaces for the feminist movement and women in general: as a space which prioritises women’s voices over mens and that refuses to allow men to dictate the terms of the conversation.

Currently, the definition of ‘women-only spaces’ is under debate and those that exist are under annihilation by so called “austerity cuts” that are destroying women’s access to refuges and rape crisis centres. But, women only spaces are essential not just for women experiencing male violence. They are an essential space for all women as libraries, sports centres, and community centres.

 

The proceeds of this book will be used to support this platform covering the costs of hosting and website maintenance and development.

email: louisepennington@hotmail.co.uk

Submission deadline: September 30, 2018

A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing

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A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing is now available:

Paperback

Kindle

CreateSpace

 

A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing is a collection of essays, poetry, and short stories written by women. The proceeds of this book will be used to support this platform covering the costs of hosting and website maintenance and development.


Read more A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing

A Room of our Own Fundraiser to redevelop the website!

Go Fund Me

A Room of Our Own: A Feminist/ Womanist Network is a trans-inclusive, women-only blogging platform created to share women’s writing, art, experiences and musings. It was created both to combat cultural femicide – the term coined by feminist writer Bidisha to define the erasure of women from politics, art, and culture – and celebrate women’s creativity in a space without men.

Women only spaces are a fundamental part of the feminist movement and represent women’s right to self-determination and liberation. There are countless studies which evidence the silencing of women’s voices by men. Margaret Atwood wrote about this in the early 80’s and Dale Spender has written on it many times, notably in The Writing or the Sex in 1989 and in Man Made Language. A member of Ending Victimisation and Blame said this in a speech for the opening of the Lincolnshire Rape Crisis Centre on the importance of women-only services and women-only spaces:

Men set the agenda. Men often talk over women, sometimes without any awareness that they’ve even done so. Women need space within which to discuss their oppression and manage their activism.  That space does not need to include men. If men wish to talk about feminism and the oppression of women, they do not need to be in women’s spaces in order to do this – men can use the space they have in the rest of the world, and make it more feminist.

Andrea Dworkin’s famous passage from her seminal text Intercourse is truer now than when she wrote it:

“Men often react to women’s words – speaking and writing – as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper, Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men – control, violence, insult, contempt – that no threat seems empty.”

I have been online for nearly 20 years and the abuse of women online has become worse. The misogynistic attacks on feminists like Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Feminista Jones – and every single other feminist who dares to speak publicly about male violence, street harassment and video games is targeted to silence women. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have done very little to deal with abusive behaviour, prioritising profits over the safety of their users.

In many ways, Dworkin’s words are an understatement of what occurs online. Men’s reactions to women’s words has become more violent, more hateful, in many ways, more socially acceptable. Women can’t hear one another when we’re forced to plough through thousands of threats of rape, torture and death in online spaces. We lock our twitter accounts, censor ourselves and hope we don’t become the next target. We don’t need a threat to be directed at us personally for it to act as a silencing tactic.

This is the reality in which A Room of Our Own was born. I wanted to create a space for feminists by feminists – a safe space where women can share their thoughts, their writing, their art and their lives without abusive comments and without men dictating the terms of the discussion. The need for this space is seen daily in the in the number of abusive comments I delete from men and the number I have to block on twitter. More importantly, the women involved have spoken about how significant the space is to them – that an online space where men’s entitlement to women’s time is simply not accepted makes a difference. A space which prioritises women’s voices over mens, that refuses to allow men to dictate the terms of the conversation and that gives a platform for all feminists to speak is essential to health and breadth of the feminist movement.

It has been an incredible 13 months for AROOO. When I started this network, I had no idea if it would work or if only 5 of my friends would join. I worried that the divisions within the feminist movement would make a platform for all unsustainable: that we were too fractured to work together. I was wrong.

So far, 164 women have signed up to the network. They run the gamut of feminism from intersectional to liberal, radical, socialist, materialist and everything in between. We have published articles about male violence, faith, swimming, pornography, friendship, art, feminist mothering, infertility and the UN’s #heforshe campaign – the one thing which managed to unite all our bloggers in disappointment. We’ve been listed as a resource by Engender Scotland and got a brilliant shout-out from Media Diversified.

In the coming year, I have ambitious plans to expand AROOO, including a full professional blog redesign to increase accessibility and optimise sharing of individual bloggers’ writing across multiple social media platforms, as well as publishing feminist reviews of books, radio, television, and film. I also want to expand outside of traditional blogging platforms and start a chat forum. In order to do this, I need to raise £3000 so that I can pay the women web designers for their work. The work I do for AROOO is out of love for women and their writing, art, photography and lives. My tech skills simply aren’t adequate to develop AROOO to its full potential. The women involved with AROOO deserve to have their work shared to a larger audience and this requires financial support.

This platform will remain non-profit, and advertising free, but the amount of work to redesign the site is substantial. This requires financial support – as do all other independent media sites. AROOO has the potential to be an important part of an independent feminist media – inspired and created by feminists and womanists for other feminists and womanists. If you can, please donate so I can pay professional web designers to improve AROOO. Even one pound makes a huge difference to my ability to support feminist writing by creating a professional platform for feminists by feminists.




#EightWomen Awards 2014 : VOTE NOW! at @writersofcolour

(Cross-posted from Media Diversified)

 

#EightWomen Awards 2014

VOTE HERE

 

Over two weeks you nominated women of colour in the UK that you feel have made an impact in their fields and have inspired you. Click on their photos to read more about the nominees. Take your time before you decide which woman to vote for. (Scroll to the end to vote or clickhere for a direct link)

In its second year the #EightWomen awards is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women of colour across the UK and to spread awareness of the amazing work they do. Some of the nominees you’ll know, some you won’t, but regardless these trailblazers are very much worth celebrating! Listen to Kiri Kankhwende discuss the awards and nominees with Bridgette Tetteh on BBC Radio here from 23:30.

The Background
In September 2013 Media Diversified was sent this article: 8 African-American Women Who Changed the World with the accompanying question “Which 8 women of colour do you think have changed the UK?” We posed the question to our social media followers and the #EightWomen awards were born.

The Event
The #EightWomen with the most votes from the public will be revealed at the “Complicit No More” panel event, highlighting themes and challenges of black feminism and intersectionality on the 15th September at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies.

Click here for further information and to book your ticket, limited spaces are available.

Bios were complied by Media Diversified and Ain’t I A Woman collective.

To read about 2013’s nominees and winners click here

VOTE HERE

The Nominees – Who has inspired you?