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Join the conversation – Why I am a Feminist event recap

July 18, 2012

Why are you a feminist? How has the second wave informed third wave feminism? On July 12th, In Other Words was excited to partner with Clinton Street Theater to co-host an innovative event “Why I am a Feminist”.

The audience screened an in-depth interview filmed in 1975 with French journalist Servan-Schreiber and Simone de Beauvoir regarding her book “The Second Sex”. In the interview, Simone de Beauvoir spoke with clarity and conviction about feminism and its future. She explained her famous quote “One is not born a woman, one becomes one” and the importance of early childhood, the definition of sexism and the relations between men and women. De Beauvoir also brought up how “The Second Sex” was received when it came out, and the conflicts over abortion laws in France.

Following the film screening, a panel of leading Portland feminists discussed the film and took questions from the audience. The discussion evolved into a riveting forum on the diversity of feminism, how to come together as a vibrant community, and the state of feminism and feminist politics as it is today. Audience members spoke with conviction about the need for our communities to start social change by getting together and having small conversations, organizing internally, and continuing the forward motion of our predecessors.

Thank you to The Clinton Street Theater for graciously hosting this fundraising and energizing “friendraising” event! Here are a few reflective thoughts on the event from Lani Jo Leigh, owner of The Clinton Street Theater:

“Last night’s screening of the Simone de Beauvoir interview and the conversation that followed was the highlight of my tenure in the theater. I’ve only owned the Clinton Street Theater for a little more than three months, and I bought it with the intention of building a space for creating community. I consider myself a feminist, but it’s been years since I took part in any thoughtful discussion around feminist issues. It was apparent from the film and from the conversation that many things have changed for women, but many have not. Naomi, one of the panelists, wears a button that says “17%.” That’s the number of women in congress. We were reminded by Judith, another panelist and a member of the Jane Collective, that abortion rights have been limited in 40 US States. However, most encouraging was the large number of young women in the audience who understand the fact that life for them is different in large part due to the efforts of first and second wave feminists, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. We talked about coming out as a feminist, liberating the word from the vilification it has received in the media and popular culture, and finding the courage to speak about feminism ideals even when standing in line at the grocery store. And we kept coming back to the need for community, finding others of like minds for support and encouragement, and creating a safe place to continue the conversation.”

Want to contribute to your local feminist communities? Click HERE to sign up for our newsletter, and click HERE to make a secure online donation today – your generosity goes towards ensuring In Other Words can continue with critical community engagement to keep feminism at the forefront of Portland’s political discourse. Feminism matters now more than ever!

P.S. Save the date! The conversation continues at the SE Hawthorne Burgerville from 5-8pm on July 26th!

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