Knowing what, who, and how to ask a social justice themed question can be one of the trickiest parts of expanding new feminist beliefs, and unlearning bigoted ones. Is my question offensive? Will it trigger someone’s anxiety or PTSD if I ask about their experience? What do I do when Google gives me contradictory answers?
It’s tough, and we’ve all been there. Actually, most of us will always be there as there is no ambassador of correct answers. This is why we at Fembot reached out to guest experts and asked them questions in their specific specializations. We encourage our readers to think critically about the AAIF questions/answers because they are by no means gospel. There are some facts in there sure, but there are also a lot of subjective opinions. Learning is a lifelong project, and the first step is asking questions and letting go of “being right.”
With all of this in mind we asked you to send in your social justice themed questions to ask our staff and our guest experts, and you submitted some very intriguing ones, we just hope our answers do you justice!
~ Stephanie Watson
Co-EIC of Fembot Magazine
THIS MONTH’S BOARD OF FEMINISTS:
– Fembot Co-EIC, freelance journalist, psychology major, neurodivergant, and female.
– Fembot Associate Editor, freelance writer/editor/content strategist, activist, she/her/hers.
– Musician, Female, Feminist.
– Feminist, Female, Musician.
I’m doing an assessment on the movie, Mirror, Mirror and I want to write about the empowerment of women through that film and I wanted your opinion. What can I write about that is attempted to be embedded into the collective psyche through feminism? i.e. Role of women on the workforce. Independence. Strength. It’s hard for me to know of the first hand challenges faced by women so I’m asking you.
You’ve hit the nail on the head with those topics; workforce, independence, strength are all good things to cover. I also recommend bringing up issues of intersectionality, such as how different women deal with different challenges; i.e. women of color, trans women, disabled women and so on. I’d suggest getting a good definition of what empowerment really is, because a lot of movie makers seem to think empowerment means getting naked or denying feminine traits. Unfortunately we haven’t seen Mirror Mirror, so I can’t really comment on it directly. However in a general sense it’d be very useful to fill your report with different statistics on how many women are involved in film, such as the percentage of women on screen had equal billing to men, how many women of color had speaking roles, etc. Women are often treated as damsels that only exist to cause tension between the protagonist and villain, and sexual/romantic objects, so I suppose when analysing the film it’d be good to see how it either breaks or conforms to the statistics. I’d also check out the Bechdel Test to see if it passes. Good luck with the assessment, it sounds like a great piece!
Hi Hezen and Ayelle,
My mom loves my passion for music, but she’s pretty anti-feminist and it hurts because I want to write songs that empower women and talk about how badly we’re treated (i.e. catcalling, objectification), how do I talk to her about this and how can I explain that I’m not just being negative? (she calls feminists negative people).
Also, if she doesn’t understand feminism, give her some time. If you persevere into it, it might lead to lots more debates where she won’t agree with you, but there’s also a possibility that slowly she’ll start seeing your point. There’s no garantee that it will happen, but at least you would have tried. Good luck, and keep on writing whatver makes you happy!
Sarah (Aka HEZEN)
I’m sorry to hear that :/ It’s a tricky one because it’s always difficult to change people’s perception of feminism once they think they’ve made up their minds about it.
A woman close to my family (my sister’s best friend of over ten years) was shot by her children’s father less than a month ago. I write this here because she was systematically failed by the courts and police in the weeks leading up to the shooting. I’m attaching an article in for more info.
I have a request, though. I am a writer and feminist and want to write articles about her plight and the way DV affects women and children. I don’t know what the line is, however. I can have my sister reach out to her but I don’t want her to have to discuss specifics at all. What would be appropriate for me to write about? She gave an interview in the article below; I feel that I can write about most things mentioned because she said them publicly. Should I be upfront about my personal relationship with her as my sister’s best friend or be impartial? What else should I be aware of when writing these stories?
– Courtney Duff
Thank you so so so much for sharing this story. DV is a really difficult topic to tackle – made even harder by the fact that it must be such an emotional time for you and your loved ones. I think knowing the suvivor can be a powerful writing tool. Use it to discuss her specific case, but tie it to the overarching truth that DV affects so many people, and we probably know/are close with someone that has struggled with it. Because it can be very difficult to hear/write about when you’re dealing with a loved one, please take the time to take care of yourself and make sure your feelings are taken care of. If you ever need self-care tools, I have a list of resources. Just send us an email.
In terms of writing about what she wants, if you are thinking of doing your own interview, maybe preface it in an email asking if there are any topics/themes she would like to avoid. In the interview, respecting when she doesn’t want to delve in to the topic, and with the finished piece, running quotes by her to make sure they’re accurate. In short, (as you already do!) just be respectful of any triggering topics and use your connection with her to reveal just how badly the “perfect victim” idea can affect victims of DV. (Side note: for a high profile example of the “perfect victim” narrative, read some opinion pieces on the Ghomeshi trial and how the victims were punished instead of their attacker)
Hope this helps! I’d love to help anyway I can! Good luck! And sending all my love to the survivor and her family.
– Sarah F
If you have any social justice themed questions you’d like us to answer in private, then be sure to email us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you ASAP. You can also tweet us at @Fembotmag, send us an ask via Tumblr, or comment on our Instagram or Facebook!
We refuse to white/hetero/cisplain, so if there’s a question that we cannot personally answer due to any particular privileges, then we’ll forward your question on to an appropriate editor or guest activist.