Monday, June 23, 2008

National Women's Studies Association Conference

Just got home from Cincinnati. The National Women's Studies Association Conference was wildly successful! I presented my paper "'Money, Cash, Hoes:' A Marxist/Feminist Analysis of Mainstream Hip-Hop Music Videos" in a panel session with two of my peers from DePaul. One of them wrote about Sex and the City as a site of resistance to hegemonic, heteronormative gender and the other woman spoke about Britney Spears and her representation in news media. I am very proud to have worked with both of them. I am also proud that our room was so packed! The panel discussion that I attended the day before, which was lead by my favorite UW-Milwaukee professor, Kathy Miller-Dillon, only had about ten participants. Also, I got some great questions which I fielded quite well and I got great feedback from Women's Studies professors across the country. The heads of three departments asked me for copies of my paper that they could include in their syllabi!

The round table discussion that I moderated was much smaller but it began a very heated discussion amongst the queer women and a woman who rejected the idea of politically correct language. As the moderator I was unsure as to whether I should control the discussion or let them each speak their piece.

One of the other major highlights was that I got to meet and talk with Jessica Valenti of She is a marvelous speaker and she recognized my blog when I told her who I was!

My only problem with her discussion is that her and her peers seem to be much too reliant on the notion of "wave" feminisms. I don't believe that there is a clear distinction between so-called second and third wave feminists. The people in this discussion seemed to believe that the difference was more generational than ideological. I think that we have much better terms for different feminist ideologies like liberal, radical, marxist, socialist, post structural, etc. I don't understand why they are so reluctant to use these feminist theory terms rather than the much more limiting language of 'waves.' Anyway, I am very glad to have met her and Courtney Martin and to hear both of them speak.

I finished my paper about blogging and I am going to post some of my ideas from it later. I just wanted to fill you all in about the conference.


FeministGal said...

i am incredibly jealous... about all of it :) awesome experience you must have had!!!

professor what if said...

I agree that the 'wave' metaphor is limited and that 2nd/3rd wavers share similar goals.

This 'wave mentality' is working to create a problematic binary within the movement that pits 2nd wavers as outdated and 3rd wavers as the 'real feminists' of today...

I agree with you that there are far more accurate and less divisive terms to use to define our feminisms!

Cortney said...

Right on Professor What If! I also know that in my own experience sometimes I feel more radical sometimes I feel more liberal or Marxist. It just depends on the topic and the day. Further, the generation divide seems kind of silly to me being a young woman. Some of the most wonderful connections I have had were with older feminist women who have gone through the supposed second wave.

I love feministing but as I said in another post, their work is pretty problematic. They are not terribly radical and they definitely appear to prefer working within the current social structures for change. Maybe that is more what they mean when they talk about a generational divide; less radicalism amongst young feminists.

But again, I prefer using terminology that isn't so divisive. Thanks for the positive feedback, it is much appreciated!