The Intergenerational Ruptures and Bridges in Feminism
Workshop: The Intergenerational Ruptures and Bridges in Feminism
Who: Laura Vidal
Date: Wednesday, July 29th
Time: 12:00pm EST / 4pm UTC+0
What: Feminism has reached great milestones on the Internet and technology, while feminists keep analysing the different challenges that the movement faces through the intersection of the different human rights aspects. We explore with Laura Vidal the intergenerational ruptures and bridges between feminism in this interactive workshop, and find those blind spots on tech that are waiting to be tackled. The discussion and the questions we will be exploring together came from an idea for a series for GenderIT proposed by its editor Mariana Fossatti. We will navigate through these scenarios through the analysis of the gender equality implications of the digital evolution, and the gender equality and generational perspectives: young women in the struggle for economic, social and climate justice:
- What do you feel are the intergenerational ruptures that have been taking place in the last years throughout the movement?
- What ways do you think would be best to build bridges with the women that have participated defending feminism’s cause in different points in time?
- What aspects of feminism do you feel have changed in the last years?
As new waves of feminism keep taking over and opening spaces, there are still questions to be explored that keep us connected to the first struggles that fired up the movement. As our conversations about gender become increasingly complicated, what can we learn from the bridges that different generations of feminists are building, and from the ruptures that have made communication crash?
The Intergenerational Ruptures Today
- An example of the ruptures is the treatment of the MeToo movement. Older women, respected, recognized in feminism were opposed to the movement at the beginning.
- During previous decades, feminists had a hard time addressing a lot of issues and, at the same time, being accountable because they couldn't have the space or even words to describe them.
- There is a need to analyze their paths and acknowledge their failures but understanding their context and resources: the lack of intersectionality and the poor platforms.
- Previous feminist movements were focused on public subjects as the main political matters: education, work, public spaces. Now, the movement has evolved and linked the political space to the private and intimate part of life, where the patriarchy was in full control.
- Talking about our private life can be very uncomfortable, specifically for women. This is due to the complexity of the lays of violence that women suffer in the private aspect of their life.
- Through online conversations, women have tackled the subtle and complex violence suffered in private thanks to the platforms that technology brings to them.
- This violence happens in very different ways and it is very hard to show and analyze.
- Younger feminists can merge different layers and challenges inside feminism, while those feminists from older ages developed their movement inside patriarchal structures that doesn’t allow that intersectionality.
- We need to keep in mind that the different feminism waves do not come or exist in a linear way. They all coexist at the moment.
The lack of memories and knowledge
- In order to apply this idea, we need to keep track of the past. There are no groups in society that are focused on preserving the memories of their citizens and it is fundamental to be able to have a conversation with past generations and, through this, avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
- Changing behaviours and mentalities weather is in private or public, like in big human rights corporations, is difficult and a long term project. For example, old white men in important positions have a really hard time having conversations about other realities and experiences that are radically different from their own realities.
- In this long process of change, there are many ways to say and do the wrong thing. As a community, we need to know that is a hard and long process, and we need to be compassionate.
- It is key to set up concrete actions and goals that let us be bridges and then create multiple conversations or one conversation to talk about the ruptures.
Technology as a bridge between generations, and new scenarios
- We talk about feminism in tech and it looks like it's a different conversation of previous years, but it doesn't have to be like that. Technology opens a new possibility of enhancing our voices, and, at the same time, this tool gives men a new way to underestimate feminism.
- Feminism has the opportunity to collect memories and knowledge through technology, and a big great thing is that our history is global.
- What we feel individually in our bodies, is part of a collective trauma that shapes our realities. It is interesting to listen to our bodies and how they interact with technology. This tech is capable of recording our body’s memory with traumas that stay with us generation after generation.
- When we have multiple narratives available, we can apply them and generate an effective intersectionality, and this is key in technology.
The bridges built through multiple narratives online
- These narratives create a link between you and that person that tells the story. You don’t know this person but you are deeply connected to them through the power of their story.
- An example of this is the fact that gender minorities are starting to be present in multiple conversations. This couldn’t be possible before, because there weren’t even words to address them till now.
- This kind of dialogues, where we identify where things were before and now, like gender and pronouns, or what is going on in different spaces, reaffirm the need of an intergenerational memory.
- In terms of feminism, technology has always been there. It is vital for its evolution but observing how technology moves through generations, we can say that it is capable of isolating certain generations that don't have access to this technology. Younger feminism must be that bridge that connects older generations to the new conversations.
- An example of this is how misinformation affects caregivers, that are mostly women. They need to have verified and trusted information, because they build their reality through the information that they consume through technology, but they may lack the knowledge to identify that misinformation.
- Every action that we take as bridges, makes a difference. Thinking of small strategies is important.
- Developers create technology that is supposed to be agnostic but this isn’t real: the way we explain how to use it, the features, the interface, the language… all of this shapes the social scenario of the use of technology.
- Everything changes when it connects, we can see it with feminism online and its evolution. When a woman has a computer and access to the internet, she has the capability to learn about feminism, understand it, explore it and apply it to her life, so she can evolve with it, individually and, then, collectively. A good example is the great work of organizations and activists spreading the knowledge about romantic love and its terrible consequences for women.
Ruptures and bridges during the COVID19 pandemic:
- The pandemic and its consequences in the digital sphera have made a lot of women aware of the importance of their privacy and security online, and learn about the threats and how to be safe on the internet.
- In other hand, the long periods of quarantines due to the COVID19 around the globe open a new approach to how elderly women are isolated, their unwanted loneliness, and the loss of their knowledge and memories that portrait their context, region and society.
Join the conversation around the intergenerational ruptures that have been taking place in the last years throughout the movement and the ways to build bridges with the women that have participated defending feminism’s cause in different points in time: https://pad.riseup.net/p/IntergenerationalFeminism