For Feminism Friday, there is an issue that has been on my mind, and that I will begin to discuss here. If you have thoughts to share, comment. In honor of Feminism Friday, I’d like to start a dialog about the idea of “outdated” feminism.
Why do so many feel it necessary to separate themselves from first, second, and even third wave feminism? It is as if a stigma has been created that many feel they must “shake off” or “move past” in order to accomplish the feminist ideals of today. While I can see a little of where this comes from, my experience leads me to find fault with this logic.
As one of the new staff members of CALYX, I find it more and more necessary to learn and listen to the women on staff who have been through it all. Traveled all over the world? Check. Became the first press to publish Frida Kahlo in color in the United States. Yeup. Raised families while striving to change the way we see art and literature by women one journal/book at a time working? Oh yes. Dined with a movie star and his wife? Definitely. (If only you could hear Margarita, our director, tell that story.) Published over 3,5oo female artists and authors in an effort to equalize the disparities between men and women? Double check.
As I explore the rich history of the 34 year old press I am honored to be a part of, I can’t help but wonder why some folks (mind you, this isn’t saying everyone feels this way) don’t take more advantage of learning from the feminists of the past. Is fear of fanny packs and shoulders pads 80s feminism really stopping us from learning from feminist women? (Not necessarily just employing rhetorical devices here. Go ahead and answer.) Maybe the goal of those who equate a negative stigma to this portion of feminist history is to simply show our goals have evolved. However, to me, it is only after embracing the lessons from the past that feminism can move forward. After all, the past waves of feminism laid the groundwork for the goals and ideals of feminism today. If we can’t learn from the past, how can we legitimately look toward a better future?
The struggle for equality is not over. Many of you might remember last year, when controversy over this list led to outrage from women and men people everywhere? Small presses like CALYX continually work to change this. We publish art and literature by women that other larger presses may not consider because our purpose is to celebrate women’s voices. CALYX is a press that will always value its history, even while working toward making the future a place where women’s art and literature is on as many darn top ten lists as possible valued as highly as it should be.
Thanks for reading these thoughts, even as they are just in the fledgling stages.
-Kelsey Connell, Assistant Director