o pioneers

23 Jun

This is potentially going to be a really passive-aggressive post. Just thought you should be fore-warned. How passive aggressive it actually turns out to be remains to be seen, as the post-Ladyfest hashing-shit-out meeting is tonight.
Without further ado, here is my favorite moment from Ladyfest Bellingham 2010:

In case you can’t make out what is happening, a mama deer and her two babies appeared and trotted across Holly Street. I ran across the parking lot to take thier photo. That’s right; my favorite moment had nothing to do with Ladyfest. Kimya’s performance was a close second; as I described, it was awesome. But that was because of Kimya, not Ladyfest.
I had really high hopes for this festival. I LOVE Ladyfest — the Olympia one — and I love feminism. I love groups of women doing things together. I love influencing change, or trying my damnedest. But this was not any of those things unless you use the most liberal definitions. Yes, women were together in various spaces. They may have been individually feminist. But what I so hoped would happen: the enfranchisement of DIFFERENT women, discussion of the dire, dire, omg life-and-death issues that affect women (especially in our community, which is seeing the highest and most terrifying domestic violence statistics of all time), help for those of us who need it, celebration of the EXPERT, not the casual hobbyist or recent convert…none, or very little, of it happened.
I did my best to bring other types of women to this festival. I’m proud that I was able to work in a frank discussion of childbirth with birth professionals, though so few people came. I’m also disappointed in myself, despite my own baby-related time and schedule limitations, that I didn’t push for more involvement and change. So, Ladyfest ladies, if you read this: I blame myself as much, if not more, than I blame you.
My hope for next year (because I am hereby swearing to do next year what I didn’t this year) is that we will focus more on real, live ladies. The ones that need our help. The ones that don’t feel cool enough to come to punk shows, the ones who don’t have babysitters. The ones that are REALLY REALLY good at something, who have tried to make themselves a living, however meager or plentiful (because wealth is not a disqualifier), and could use our free support. My hope is that next year, we won’t shoot ourselves in the feet so many times with (yes) bad jokes and frivolity. That we won’t lob the local, strangely anti-Ladyfest press so. Many. Softballs.
I don’t want to despair at the state of young feminism in this country. I don’t think I need to, rather I should probably just despair at the state of youth in general. But these ladies have so much spark and smarts and potential that I’d hate to see waste away in Bellingham’s myriad dive bars. May they stay long enough to grow into their intelligence and help this town out of its rut. I’ll be here to do my part.

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