Y'know, it's funny. The word activism scares
so many people, it makes people think, "Wait a sec, here, I have to do
something??? I don't think I'm up for that..." But that's not the point
entirely. Let me give you a brief little overview of what I call my "Three
Little Steps to Being Active"...
- Get personal. Any kind of change
in the outside world has to start with you, you on the inside. I think
this is probably the most difficult thing to do, because it's something
you never stop doing. You have to look deep down and say, "Where are
my prejudices? How have I been thrown in the System? What's my place
done to my outlook on life?" Deep down, you gotta admit some pretty
ugly stuff about yourself, and that hurts, but let me tell you, it's
also healing. You start to realize how much you've been socialized to
believe stupid shit that society wants you to believe. You figure out
that you're racist, that you're sexist, that you're classist, that you've
been taught every possible "-ism" by the society around you; most of
the time, you haven't been given the choice to believe this crap,
it's just been forced onto you. The thing is, simply admitting that
you've been socialized by society isn't quite enough. Now you've been
given information, the tools to change. You've had some sort of an awakening,
and now you can challenge yourself on a daily basis to fight that broken
record playing over and over in your head. The other side of that is
realizing what privilege you have in society. Like, for example, even
though I'm a woman, I'm white, so that gives me a "higher social ranking"
than a woman of color. (isn't that fucked up???) Rather than just sitting
back and saying, "Well, I've got and okay place on the food chain we
call American society," I go out and use my privilege to influence other
people, to help other people to see what's going on, and help those
who don't have my privilege to get it. It's all about empowerment, people.
Getting other people involved, though, isn't the easiest thing either.
Especially the people who you're closest with; your best friends and
your family. I remember butting heads with my dad for years because
of what I had discovered. But, it's path you can choose to take or leave.
It's up to you. I'd personally recommend taking the rough road; the
knowledge, strength and courage you gain are incomparable.
- Get local. Once you've started
establishing within yourself what the hell is going on, you can seek
out resources in the community both for helping you deal with all this
crap, and also to channel all that newfound pissed-off-ness into something
constructive. Volunteer at a rape-crisis center. Join political grassroots
organization. Get involved in something in your community-- soup kitchens,
battered women's shelters, whatever. Focusing your anger constructively
is one of the most important things here. I've seen many women figure
out what's going on with all this patriarchy business, and then just
get angry and stop right there. No, no, let's use that energy for a
good cause!! :-) If there's not an organization in your area or school
that appeals to you, well, hell! Start your own. Make your own 'zine,
paper or electronic or whatever. I'm gonna be posting some sites of
good places to start in the next couple of weeks, so keep checking back...
- Go global! That's right, now that you're
involved, it's time for everybody to get together and organize.
We could all sit in our own communities and do our own thing, changing
what we can, but don't you think a huge, massive, global sisterhood
would be the phattest thing to ever hit Mother Earth? Find out about
conferences (like the Northeast NOW Young Feminist Summit which was
recently held in Boston). [Hopefully I'll be posting something about
it soon!]. Go thorough the web, find out what's going on internationally
(Ms. Magazine is good for stuff like that, check out the Media
pages for more info). And remember, sisterhood is the key. We all gotta
Got it? Good. Now get going. :-)