Discover more from Other Feminisms
The women you admire
Take them as a pointillist portrait of alternate feminisms
I’m building this listserv as I fly it, but a big part of my goal is to bring women together and lift up the voices of women who aren’t professional writers but who have important thoughts or questions to share. So, I’m going to structure the emails to facilitate this kind of call and response.
Going forward, I’ll aim to send out an email on Mondays and Thursdays.
Monday’s email will pose a question, ask for recommendations, or otherwise ask for your feedback. The following (week-and-a-half-later) Thursday, I’ll send out some highlights from your comments. Thus, each week will cover two topics—on Monday, we open a new topic, and on Thursday we close out conversations sparked by the previous Monday topic.
I came up with this plan after this Thursday, but I’ll try to stick to it going forward. You’re always welcome to comment here or reply to me directly if there’s a topic you’re hoping this newsletter will tackle.
The Women You Admire
In the inaugural message to this listserv, I asked Where have you seen these alternate models of feminism praised or lived out?
Magdalen nominated Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller, the first American woman to receive a PhD in computer science “whom I admire greatly for both her contribution to science and the way her vocation to science interacted with her primary vocation.”
She also sparked a discussion of creative thought and breastfeeding, which led Tessa Carman to recommend an essay, “Emergence” by poet Carolyn Fourché (which can be found in the collection Writing Creative Nonfiction). Frustratingly, the collection appears to be out of print, but I can vouch for Fourché, having loved her memoir, What You Have Heard is True.
Monica recommended Caroline Criado Perez's research “on the physical problems that male-as-default thinking causes for women, like higher rates of occupational injuries because equipment doesn't fit (including higher rates of covid infection among healthcare workers, because the masks are designed for men!).” Perez’s book is Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed by Men. There’s a nice article on her work at Wired.
When I put together the survey that preceded this newsletter, I asked for examples of living women who people looked up to (and I got a number of answers along the lines of “my grandmother,” “my godmother,” “my literature professor.”) Some other names that turned up (amid many mentions of ACB):
Sr. Prudence Allen, author of The Concept of Women, an intellectual history in three parts
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of the New Wave Feminists
Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International
Both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nikki Haley
Greta Gerwig for the women-centered films she makes
Putting all these women in one room would hardly result in a single, coherent policy agenda, but I’d very much like to see the discussion that would ensue. And I expect the topics prioritized would be very different than what dominates our political discourse.
On twitter, I put out a request for the women speakers that people would like to see talk about pro-family policy (prompted by a conference on that topic with the sole female speaker outnumbered by more than 10 to 1).
You can check our the whole thread of suggestions, but I’d like to spotlight Tamara Winter, who has worked on how to make cities friendly to families. She was interviewed by 80,000 Hours, and wrote a meditation on a child-eye’s view of cities for Plough.