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The First Ever Future Is Feminist Conference: Examining Intersectionality

The first ever Future is Feminist Conference, a student-run day dedicated to exploring the topic of intersectional feminism with local leaders and activists, was a huge success! Organized by Lincoln Feminists and orchestrated by co-presidents Lily Martin ’18 and Ashley Gomez ’18, the day examined many aspects of feminism and intersectionality, defined as women’s overlapping identities including race, nationality, religion, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The day began with a rousing keynote address from award-winning author Dina Nayeri, who spoke about the power and importance of real and radical empathy in life and writing.

From there, students branched out into workshops led by a mix of students and speakers from area organizations dedicated to intersectional feminist issues (full list below), followed by class discussions and a poster-making workshop.

The day concluded with The Future Is Feminist March down Blackstone Boulevard during which Middle and Upper School students held handmade signs with messages like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Human Rights," "We are the Future," and, of course, "The Future is Feminist."

“I am so proud of the Lincoln community,” said Shay Iyer ‘19, who participated in the march. “And thankful that I get to be a part of this beautiful, wonderful school as we work hard to dismantle systems of oppression and bring equality to everyone.”

Future is Feminist Workshops:

A Talk With Dina Nayeri, Keynote Speaker
Author of award-winning “The Ungrateful Refugee,” “Refuge,” “A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea” 

Feminism, Intersectionality, and Prostitution
Haley Gomes ’18, Nicole Cepeda-Merhi ’19, Megan Garabedian ’18, and Melita Barbosa ’19

This workshop focused on the complexities of prostitution and how it relates to feminism and intersectionality. The debate regarding prostitution has many sides to it, one saying it is degrading to women, one saying it is empowering, and many in between. Looking at the history of the debate on prostitution and highlighting the spectrum of opinions, on which side do you find yourself?

LGBTQ+ Representation: Why We’re Still Talking About It
Abigail DeRego, Co-President, Lincoln’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance

Ever take a critical eye to LGBTQ+ representation in the media? What does representation look like in today’s society? How can you spot the difference between representation and queerbaiting, and why can certain types of representation be extremely harmful?

Bossy and Other Delightful B Words: The Nuances of Reclaiming Language
Camilla Ledezma ’19 and Eliza Staples ’19

With an eye (and ear) on linguistics and social justice, this workshop examined the reappropriation of traditionally derogatory terms for women. This complicated issue benefits from context, and the workshop looked at the history of various loaded terms as well as a variety of opinions on how reappropriation should take place.

Gender and Sexuality 101
Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island

Gender, sexual identity, and expression can be fluid and diverse, and all people deserve dignity and respect. By examining an overview of holistic sexuality, identifying at least three gender stereotypes, and distinguishing between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, this workshop was an opportunity to educate through exploration of issues and examination of terms.

The Truth about Being a Muslim American Woman
Jasmine Alqassar ’19 and Mahnoor Shahzad ’19

 

As Muslim women in Post-911 America, we examine possible misunderstandings of our religion, stereotypes we defy, challenges, and fears we face. Jasmine spoke about how she finally embraced her identity at Lincoln after years of suppressing it in public school, and together they spoke about how the current landscape of Islamophobia and sexism has affected both of them personally.

How To Be An Effective Advocate
Rebecca Kislak



Whatever issue is important to you, certain strategies and skills are helpful to make sure your voice is heard in the government, in the community, or wherever you find yourself seeking to effect change. By looking at some examples of effective advocacy that take into account and raise up principles of intersectionality, this workshop looked at advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.

Identity and Social Location  
Youth in Action

Don’t know what intersectionality is? This signature Youth in Action workshop brought its participants into their own definition and understanding of intersectionality through the dialogue surrounding images and quotes often found online.

Your Voice Has Power: Sexual Assault in an Intersectional World  
Emily Howard ‘19, Georgia Dimatteo and Marrissa Ballard

This discussion-based workshop with Day One, the Sexual Assault and Trauma Center in Providence, explored the issues of sexual assault and consent through an intersectional lens. Looking at different real life stories and examining the impacts of white feminism on these issues, they examined different ways to to take action as a community.

Colonization by Gender
Dr. Barret Fabris, Director of the Center for Justice, Peace, and Global Citizenship

This workshop was a critical examination of how Western construction of gender directly attacked indigenous culture, enabling the continuation of colonization.

Poverty is a Women’s Issue
Rachel Flum

Poverty is a women’s issue—what does it mean to be living “in poverty” and how many Rhode Islanders are struggling to make ends meet? Participants addressed poverty as an issue that women of all races should work to change.
 

Exploring Women's Roles in Modern TV
Jackie Prew ’19 and Margaret Czech ’19

 

This workshop explored some of today/recent history’s most popular TV shows including: New Girl, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, 90210, Breaking Bad, and so many more, and how they portray women. Questions included: do their most famous episodes (or even the show as a whole) pass the bechdel test? Is the bechdel test a good measure of feminism in this tv show? How well rounded are the female characters? Do the characters take on an active role in the plot or are they passive tools for the male characters?

The Future is Sex-Ed
Feminists@Brown

This workshop looked at the role of sexual education in schools and how intersectionality has changed the conversation around what is needed in order to properly educate students.
 

Check Your Privilege
RISD Feminists

   

The goal of this workshop was to understand privilege and intersectionality, first in a broader concept and then by looking inward at ourselves. How do all the facets and intricacies of who you are affect your privilege? How does your intersectional identity affect your own personal levels of accessibility, comfortability, wealth, and opportunity in your everyday life?

 

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