Recommitting to our Mission: The 2016 Election

We, like many people who pull to the left, are stunned by the election. We are stunned by the systems that have created a path for a man who does not respect anyone but himself. We are scared for the sector we love, the arts. We are scared to be young and female bodied with a man who, as our President-Elect, said he could assault women. We are afraid for the people of color, our friends and family, who now fear for their safety. We are afraid of his supporters who see us as objects and have already begun to spew racist and xenophobic vitriol and commit hate crimes against innocent people

Yet, this will become a moment that we can look back onto and actually see as a turning point. We can make it a turning point by standing up for something better. We can be more inclusive, we can support our loved ones, and we can work together to understand the perspectives of those who do not share our views.

By covering arts issues with an intersectional mindset that acknowledges power and oppression, we aim to be a source of information that is loving, respectful and supportive. Because a deep love and respect for the arts is what brought us to write this blog. We aim to be more than what the Mainstream Media gave us this election cycle. We aim to stand with women, POC, those with disabilities, and the queer community in a world that pushes back against inclusivity and equality for all, demeans, degrades, and threatens so many communities, and allows a reprehensible man into the highest office. We aim to be more than dogmatic. We aim to be better.

By providing information about real, deep issues like privilege, power and aesthetics,  we hope we can help people find something else to read than divisive media.

So for this post, we are recommitting to why we each individually write for this blog.

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Tiffany: Over the course of the election, Trump ‘blacklisted’ at least ten media outlets from covering his campaign events because they challenged him. As feminist writers (and nasty women), our existence is intrinsically challenging. Freedom of speech is our First Amendment right, and now more than ever, we need to make our voices stronger and clearer than they ever have been before. Now is the time to decry injustice where we see it, to confront institutions that do not work for us, to ask the questions to make people think about perspectives that have historically been silenced. This is why I still write. I write with the hope that our words can have a spread that our physical bodies can never have and touch minds far away from us. I write to reflect issues that affect the communities of color that I care about. I write to let the world know that I am observing carefully and waiting on their next move.

Katie: The election that just took place turned from shattering the highest glass ceiling to returning of powerful sexist ideologies. That includes the diminishment of female voices. For so many years we have been told our voices do not count, that they are lesser than our male counterparts. This is an extremely damaging message to send to little girls trying to figure out their worth and to the women learning to fight back against a society that has tried for so many years to overpower their voices. So why do I write for the Female Gaze? Because, while society spends its time tearing women down, we as women need to speak up in order to lift each other up, and art is a beautiful way to do that. The male gaze will not be the one to tell us women what to think of ourselves and the world. We have our own ideas and our own mindsets and through writing for mediums like the Female Gaze, those can be shared.

Claire: I voted for Green in a state that was going to Hillary after a lot of thought. As someone who identifies as an intersectional feminist, I want a different world. I want a world where we have more choices, more choices that feel good. I want to be able to vote for women 50% or more of the time. And part of that is information literacy that would make people aware of the systematic issues around race, sex, gender, capabilities and class. Writing for the Female Gaze does that, because each time we touch on a topic, there is chance of more people “getting it.” There is a chance that someone has their experience normalized.

Kathryn G.: Like so many of us, I was shocked and ashamed by the election results. As a feminist, this felt like a colossal step backward. But reading the responses of my friends and peers on social media, reading post-election coverage, I reflected on what I need to do to make my voice heard and to better support my friends, peers, and all communities singled out and threatened by the election of Donald Trump. I write for the Female Gaze because we have a platform not only to address issues in the arts in our own writing, but also to demonstrate that support, and to share other content and writing with our audience. I for one become better informed as we participate, and, as Claire said, we can pass that on. We have to speak up for what we believe in, and we have a responsibility to contribute to the conversation. The arts matter. Access and representation in the arts matter. That’s what we stand for.  

Catherine:  I am appalled and disappointed and sickened at the results of this election.  I believe in a society that is inclusive and safe for all, with equal rights and opportunities for all.  This week has proven that we have to fight so much harder for that vision to become reality.  I write for this feminist arts blog because words are powerful and art is powerful.  Knowledge is also powerful, and representation matters so much.  By creating and discussing art, and doing so with our diverse perspectives, we are writing and taking control of our own narratives and starting conversations about what really matters.  We cannot let our voices be silenced.  We must continue to stand up for what we believe, and, in the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at our commencement at Wellesley in 2015, “make feminism a big, raucous, inclusive party.

Kathryn C.: In light of a horrifying election week with deeply upsetting results, I recommit to the two reasons I write for The Female Gaze. I recommit to my wholehearted love of the arts, and to my undying passion for feminism and equity in all its many forms. There is no better time than now, when our nation is hurting immensely, to remind myself of what I stand for, to not settle for anything less, and to act on my beliefs. I owe that to myself and to my country.

weareall

Cover image: The Wellesley College Novice Crew Team by Coach Austin Work (2013).
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