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Feminism in Edmonton

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Feminism in Edmonton

I’m a feminist in Edmonton. I’m also part of the Edmonton RebELLEs.

The Edmonton RebELLES developed  . . . well it’s still developing. It’s a group of feminists and those interested in feminism from the Edmonton area, well more the University community, who met because they wanted to discuss Feminism in Edmonton and possibly attend the 2nd Pan Canadian RebELLEs Gathering in Winnipeg in May.

Before feminists Louise and Melanie, from CJSR’s collective Feminist Radio show Adamant Eve in Edmonton, and I even identified as RebELLEs, we met at Cafe Dabar in early January to talk about the gathering. Excited to go to Winnipeg to meet other feminists, we planned a consulta. The consulta was a request by the RebELLEs organizers to find out what exactly feminists would want to do if 400 of them showed up in one city, to one conference. What would feminists living in Edmonton want to learn from meeting feminists from other cities?

The Winnipeg Feminist Collective FemRev, the organizers of the RebELLEs Winnipeg gathering, sent a list of questions that would help them answer the issue of what do you do with 400 feminists.

1. What do you want to get out of the gathering? Why do you want to attend? What is your vision?

2. How can the gathering be as inclusive to the largest diversity of women?

3. What workshops would like to facilitate or participate in?

4. What are 4 or 5 most important areas of action that we should be focusing our struggle on?

5. At the 20ll Gathering we will be having a large scale march with all participants, followed by a feminist feast and a skill share. Should the march, feast, and skill share be open to the wider community?

Between the 3 of us we talked a lot about how “othered” women were often excluded from feminism but we still targeted our comforts, the people that would be easier to connect to. Melanie and Louise both did presentations to their women studies classes at the beginning of the winter semester and I posted the event on the Edmonton Activist Calendar and contacted the Edmonton Small Press Association.  We also did a small presentation on Adamant Eve.

I wanted to believe that there were more people in Edmonton that believed Edmonton needed a strong, active feminist community! I really wanted people to come to the consulta , and I wanted them to be excited about fighting for change. I know Facebook is not an accurate count of attendendees but I checked the Facebook event scheduled for January 17th at Remedy cafe probably 4 or 5 times a day for two weeks.

The 18 people who showed up at Remedy Cafe on Jan 17th did not decide what Feminism was/is in Edmonton or what Edmonton needed. We expressed our thoughts at a meeting that was planned in the time of only 3 week, and on the second floor of a Cafe that was only accessible by stairs.

Even though we have attempted to adopt the manifesto that was created in 2008 in Montreal at the first gathering which states, “We are women of diverse abilities, ethnicities, origins, sexualities, identities, class backgrounds, ages and races,”  we are still a group largely made up of white women.

We’ve had the opportunity to do some fundraising such as collecting donations at the Screening of Orgasm Inc. on the University of Alberta campus, a bake sale on campus which featured vagina cupcakes, a sex positive toy party, and on April 30th we are having a Gender Jam.

The documentary which discusses female sexual dysfunction, a disorder featured to have been developed by pharmaceutical companies to develop money making solutions to FSD. One of my favourite comments from the night was to create t-shirts that read “I don’t have sexual dysfunction; I’m just not that into you.” But the documentary was of white middle class women who weren’t meeting standards of sexuality, nothing was mentioned about the hypersexuality suffered by Indigenous women and women of color. The screening was at the University because Adamant Eve, who are part of the campus community, could book the use of a large room at no cost and therefore no admission fee would have to be charged.

The bake sale which the RebELLEs benefited financially from was also an encouraging community building project. Weeks before were spent meeting at homes and silk screening the RebELLES logo (mailed to us from the FemRev collective in Winnipeg) onto t-shirts from Goodwill. Quite a few hours were also spent designing journal covers with used paper to sell at the bake sale. As well many of the baked items were donated by individuals involved in feminism in Edmonton with an emphasis on vegan baking.

For the fundraiser Gender Jam we’ve tried to feature several female performers, Sara Isabel, DJ AliceDE and Quetzala Carson. However the show is at the Jekyll and Hyde Pub & Restaurant which is only accessible by stairs and excludes anyone under the age of 18.

As excited as I am by the responses to all of the events the Edmonton RebELLEs have been a part of I have to continually look at who is not being represented and excluded.  Jessica Yee says in her book Feminism for REAL, “. . . but in regards to the uncomfortable work that needs to be done by everyone if we ever have any hope of changing the effects of hundreds and hundreds of years of colonization and genocide that lead us to the oppressions and inequities alive and well today that feminism is supposed to be fixing. We are not really equal when we are still supposed to uncritically obediently cheer in when white women are praised for winning women’s rights. And to painfully forget the indigenous women and women of color who were hurt in that same process.” 

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Topics: Gender

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anna j glover (Anna J Glover)
Edmonton AB
Member since December 2010


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