How To Build a Feminist Future. A pink back ground with 9 circles featuring faces of modern feminists like roxanne gay, blair imani and jean kilbourne

How to build a Feminist Future, from 11 Leading Feminists

With 2020 just around the corner, I can’t help but think about the future. And how the present is shaping it. Trump. The Handmaid’s Tale. Crocs, for goodness sake! Are we headed towards a horrifying dystopia? Or is the future really feminist? I turned to 11 leading feminists, the Roxanne Gays, Jean Kilbournes and Blair Umanis of the world, to see how a feminist future would be different from today…

A Feminist Future according to:

Blair Imani

African-American Muslim Author and Feminist Activist 

A feminist future for Blair Imani is one that works for all different types of people. That’s why she’s been working with heavy weights like the folks at Twitter, Sheryl Sandberg, Brittany Packnett, and Sam White. They want to make social media safer more inclusive spaces for everyone.

In her feminist future, Imani sees birth-control as accessible, free, and even available in vending machines. What’s more, the so-called ‘luxury’ tax on menstruation products would be a thing of the past. And finally we’d have a system of restorative justice instead of a prison system.

A Feminist Future according to:

Dr. Ann Russo

Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies 

Dr Ann Russo talks about the “immense power building within feminist movements”  According to the doctor though, we’ll only achieve a feminist future if we talk honestly about white feminism.

She calls white feminists in to “recognise their privileges. Their power to be exclusionary, and actively fight against them.” We attribute many feminist movements incorrectly to white feminists. (Eg, Alyssa Milano credited for creating #metoo instead of Tarana Burke .) A feminist future will be one where we all work together to fight patriarchy. According to Dr Russo, white women will not be team captain! 

A Feminist future according to:

Bell Hooks

Author, Professor, Social Activist

If you’ve seen Game of Thrones (problematic as it is!) you might remember the scene where they ask Queen Daenerys if she wants to ‘stop the wheel’. (Meaning if she wants to end the oppression of the people.) Her reply? “I don’t want to stop it. I want to BREAK it!

Who knows, maybe her inspiration came from Bell Hooks! She believes while we still live within a patriarchal system, that system can easily take away any civil rights we gain. (As in the recent attack on women’s reproductive rights in the US.) Because of this, the future of feminism depends on challenging the whole damn system of patriarchy! Break the wheel!

Hooks insists we will only build a feminist future if we include people from all walks of life. Including men. “It is urgent that men take up the banner of feminism and challenge patriarchy.”

According to:

Jean Kilbourne

Public Speaker, Writer, Filmmaker and Feminist Activist 

Jean Kilbourne wants to start at the beginning. With our kids. She hopes that we can start to raise children as whole human beings, with a full range of human qualities.

That means a feminist future for Kilbourne would be one where we allow girls to “be strong and powerful and boys to be emotional and vulnerable” Read more about raising whole humans here, here and here!

According to:

Lorna O’Hara

Feminist Activist, Huffpost Writer

O’Hara admits it’s hard to imagine a feminist future, when it’s so difficult for women to simply feel safe today. She cites a Cornell University study showing men have sexually harassed 81.5% of European women under the age of 17. Think about it… That’s more than two hundred million women, sexually harassed while they were still under the age of consent!

She does give us some hope though. And it’s not the the dystopian image some men may have. O’Hara insists that a feminist future would include something as simple as harassers and abusers facing the consequences of their actions. A future where women can finally feel safe because society finally treats us as equals. I’d sign up for that!

A Feminist Future according to:

Roxanne Gay

Feminist Writer, Professor, Editor, and Commentator

Roxanne Gay predicts one way women will gain equal treatment… More of us in power! Real sustained power. Across all facets of life.

A feminist future would be designed by women. For women of all shapes and sizes. She predicts a vibrant feminist future 10 years down the line, as long as we continue to base our feminism on intersectionality.

A Feminist Future according to:

Kate Casanova

British-Australian Writer, Social Activist, Gender Equality Consultant

When Kate Casanova looks at the children in her life, she sees hope. She imagines “the world they will bild together. Not based on gender or race or disability, but based on what’s fair!

So a feminist future for Casanova would need to have a radical distribution of wealth. Undoubtedly for her, that would be a world where everyone has a roof over their head. Access to food and running water. Education and choice. “That’s my feminist utopia. Simple fairness and humanity”

The future is feminist, intersectional, inclusive. Pink background with a megaphone 'shouting' "the future is female". The word female is crossed out to reveal the words feminist, intersectional, inclusive
The only way to predict the future is by making it? Let’s go folks!

A Feminist Future according to:

Ai-Jen Poo

Labor activist, Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance 

Ai-Jen Poo imagines a feminist future as being community based. Where people will really know their neighbours. Along with this, issues like childcare and caring for the elderly (traditionally ‘women’s work) will have a solution. We’ll also have an economy where people can earn a living with dignity and realise their full potential.

Poo reminds us that women are half the population of the world. As a result, our experiences already are defining the present. According to her, women need to shape our future. What’s more, we need to stop treating women as a ‘special interest’ group. Women need to take centre stage. When they do, our interests and experiences will become part of mainstream debate and policy making. 

A Feminist Future according to:

Huda Bhurgri

Pakistani Academic & Feminist Activist. Member of the Women’s Democratic Front 

Huda Bhurgri believes a feminist future in Pakistan won’t just focus on women’s rights. The right to self-determination for transgender and non-binary people must also be a part of the fight. 

Echoing feminist sisters around the world, Bhurgri tells us we need systems and policies that are woman friendly. But how on earth will we achieve this? By putting more women in positions of power. “Women have to step outside domestic roles to attain their human rights”. The future of feminism in Pakistan, according to Huda Bhurgri, will be a fight against all kinds of discrimination. At every level of society. So, the future is intersectional! 

According to:

Jacob Tobia

LGBT Activist, Writer, Producer, Television Host & Actor

When Jacob Tobia thinks of a feminist future, they think of a ‘gender-ful’ world. “A world where gender identity matters to people, but as a form of creative expression and not some determination of your self-worth or ability to survive”

They also know we need to have more women, femmes and trans people in tech. That way we can “reclaim the idea of the future from the tech-bros”. That kind of diversity will help us design tech advancements that benefit all types of people. “Technology isn’t the future itself, technology is a tool to reach our feminist utopia”

A Feminist Future For Everyone

So there you have it. A feminist future, according to some of the world’s leading feminists, is intersectional & inclusive. Work and financees are fairly distributed and sexual predators are held accountable. Not only this, but women are also in power and have built entire new systems that are fair, dignified and that actually work for everyone. Children are raised to embrace the full range of human experience and men are actively feminist. 

Wow, sounds just about right to me. How about you… Is that how you imagine a feminist future?

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