In 2013, feminism arose in the public consciousness. Mass media asked us repeatedly: Who is the new face of feminism? Offering answers were figures like Sheryl Sandberg, who sold us “Lean In,” and Miley Cyrus, who proclaimed herself “one of the biggest feminists of the world.” Writers, scholars, and activists have rigorously responded to mainstream feminism, critiquing the classism of Sandberg, the racism of Cyrus and the exclusivity of those with the platform to call themselves “feminist.” This work is certainly important. But the game is rigged. Individuals like Sandberg have privilege and power on their side, backed by an entire capitalist system that is eager to commodify and sell a brand of feminism for passive consumption.
The equally challenging but, perhaps, more radical task is to create space for marginalized and underrepresented voices so that larger discourse can begin to respond to their stories. As we constantly struggle to re-interrogate what feminism means to use while the world around us presents it as unremittingly problematic, we remind ourselves of our core mission: inclusivity, diversity, intersectionality, and community. These four principles have guided much of our work this semester, although not without complications and shortcomings.
Our hope with this issue is to provide a space to work out the tensions that exist in ourselves and our communities between responding to the mass media and making space to recount our narratives and the experiences of historically marginalized communities. Who do we want to spend more time responding to? Whose voices deserve to be included in the conversation? As we look to the future, we want to make time and space to discuss these questions with you.
Since our last publication, Bluestockings has expanded on all platforms through our semesterly issue publications, daily blog, and zines. We are grateful to see our editorial team developing to include new members. Through the zine, we are beginning to build on connections we have established with other groups of thinkers and activists on Brown’s campus, creating coalitions and collaborative projects. Our blog has been online for over a year, and our audience continues to grow daily as we reach thousand of viewers across the United States and around the world. We also started an annual “Young Bluestockings” Writing Challenge to give high school students a space to discuss feminism; read the winner of this year’s challenge in the 3rd Issue and on our blog.
It is humbling to see the growth of our voices and influences, and rewarding to have a chance to promote writers and artists from our community as well as globally. But as Brown University proves to go against activism and anti-oppression views, we are taking the time to remember and reclaim our origins as this campus’s only intersectional feminist publication. We want to become a space where Brown students know they can safely express themselves on issues like race, gender, and sexuality.
Kristy Choi • Nicole Hasslinger • Ann Kremen • Amy LaCount • Ragna Rök Jóns