New Content Platforms Created To Re-brand & Give Feminism A New Voice

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With the steady onslaught of celebrities and notable public figures who are hell bent on saying they stand for equality, girl power, etc etc, but balk at the thought of labeling themselves a “feminist” (oh the horror!) it’s about time feminism got a good ol’ rebranding.

It’s clear there is still a LOT of confusion surrounding the term and what the movement stand for. A dictionary definition states it is the social, political, and economic equality of both sexes. Many women like to define it beyond that in their own way.

Dita Von Teese loves the idea of female empowerment, especially because of how the Burlesque industry has become female-dominated, but says it is “difficult” to call herself a feminist. She thinks everyone has a different view of feminism, but that no one should be dictating what the feminist movement is about. Her own statement is confusing and problematic. By her own logic, SHE could define it how she wants and in turn be willing to call herself a feminist, right?

Former Spice Girls member Mel B says she is all about girl power, but doesn’t call herself a feminist. Her explanation is also flawed.

“I try to live by the girl-power motto. It’s about believing in yourself, no matter how bad a day you’re having, and lending your support to other women. It’s empowering to have that camaraderie with other women.” Errr, yeah love, that IS feminism.

And of course there are countless others such as Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Kaley Cuoco, Shailene Woodley and Lana Del Rey who often gun publicly for girl power and female empowerment, but not feminism. It’s bizarre, and it’s as if these women are scared of something they feel will alienate them from friends, family and fans. Hey ladies, listen up! You couldn’t be more wrong!

Attitudes like the above are probably why there is an increasing amount of women’s media being created that is dedicated to feminism. Our friends at Feminist Wednesday (who are also the team behind the forthcoming ‘Dream, Girl’ documentary) are our go-to place to find stories of varied definitions of feminism and female empowerment amongst the millennial generation.

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The blog Onward and Fword started by New York gal and another one of our friends Jaclyn Munson is also dedicated to advancing the cause of feminism with a particular focus on the way politics have shaped the movement over the years and continues to do so.

There are plenty more which exist, but here are two new content platforms we recently learned about which are specifically focused on rebranding feminism and making it a safe place for women to discuss online. It’s no secret that women, especially feminists, are disproportionately targeted by trolls online and on social media, and it is about time the feminist community banded together to take a collective stand against undue negativity.

The first is Andromeda Speaks feminist literary magazine created by Indiana couple Rebecca and Zach McNair. Rebecca told Ball State Daily online that the idea came from a Women Gender Studies class she took and decided to launch a Kickstarter to launch the magazine idea.

“We believe it is important to constantly reevaluate gender and how it is learned and inscribed, as well as how it intersects with other dimensions of our lives, such as race/ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and so on. It is important that we challenge what it means to be female or feminine, as well as question what other cultural forces (e.g. television, movies, books, music) tell us about being female or feminine,” says the campaign page.

They will take submissions from writers and plan to publish bi-annually. The idea is to challenge the existing notions and definitions of feminism from a wide range of sources they publish.

Zach McNair says he hopes their publication will eventually eliminate and disempower the use of words such as “feminazi’, “bra-burner” and “man-hater” when describing feminists, and we’re all about that!

“These labels are negative because it makes people who identify as feminist seem to all be radicals,” said Trevor Nantais, a senior women and gender studies major. “If I were to say “I am a feminazi,” people would think that I am trying to kill men off the earth. By having these negative label, it makes it hard for folks to take us seriously.”

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The magazine also aims to be a safe place for people to come and read, write and discuss certain ideas about feminism. Which brings us to the second content platform we’re currently interested in that has been getting a fair amount of attention online. The Femsplain website, started by four New York City friends Amber Gordon, Gabriela Barkho, Jeanette Fabre and Jacqueline Mirell.

They are a content publishing and shared experience platform that offers a space for women to tell their stories. Blog posts include topics such as art, music, health and personal anecdotes.

“We all really wanted a place where we could just write openly and comfortably to each other,” Amber Gordon told The Huffington Post.

“We’re more than a website or events — we’re a movement. We are providing a safe space to connect, learn and grow with other female-identified people. Everything you see was written by someone like you. We’re a diverse collective (sexuality, racial, economic, career, geographical, etc.) of doers who have made it our mission to change the dialogue of what it’s like to be a woman –– and in doing so, make our world a better place,” explains the website mission.

“Our goal is to highlight all the amazing diversity of women on the Internet who might not have another outlet to share their experiences. We want to create a supportive and positive community for anyone to support. Think of us as a casual Internet support group you don’t need to pay for and can visit whenever in the comfort of your home.”

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Every month they have a different theme they explore and asked for submissions based on that particular theme.

They too launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the word out their about their existence and get help funding their set up.

“Everywhere you look online, you see female voices being silenced or dismissed. I think by being available to our contributors and providing them with resources to tell their stories without negativity is where we really stand out,” said co-founder Gabriella about why the site is important.

Everyone may have different definitions of feminism and different experiences with it. It is important to encourage those in the media and it is great to see everyday women and men coming together to create a space which has not necessarily existed before. Just as those negative voices get louder and louder every day, we too must use our voices to ensure we can speak up for what we believe in and try to break down any negativity toward feminism.

It’s just enough to just allow celebrities to take up the mantle, we have to live it every day.

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