The Feminist As Fuck panel was a great way to start off the Vulture Festival. I heard powerful, emotional, moving works from all the panelists and when someone in the audience, a college professor, asked these women to speak to consent and to give some advice on being a feminist, here’s what they had to say:
Amber Tamblyn:Â “Itâ€™s a tough world out here right now. I think one of the most important things is not only a space in which women are able to tell their stories and be believed, regardless of whether that person being accused is somebody that we like a lot or thatâ€™s a friend of ours, and for fellow allies and other women to also believe those women and know their sense of support.
I think thatâ€™s one of the biggest struggles that I see right now, especially in the entertainment business because thereâ€™s been several men lately who are people that we loved â€” past tense. Now itâ€™s really complicated and to see a lot of people coming forward and saying, â€˜Well, wait a minute. Letâ€™s make a tiny exception.â€™ No. The exceptions are over. Thatâ€™s it and the consequences go from across the board. They go from everything from trying to stick your tongue down someoneâ€™s throat all the way up to rape and worse.
The consequence, in my opinion, for all of those things is that you lose your career and you go away for a while. I donâ€™t think that thereâ€™s sliding scale. Itâ€™s just unanimously you have to go. Youâ€™re done. And thatâ€™s as far as the business is concerned and itâ€™s really disorienting for a lot of people in our business right now.
Itâ€™s especially upsetting and disorienting for cis, white men because theyâ€™re very confused because theyâ€™ve never in their entire lives had consequences that were not served by themselves to each other. Now itâ€™s not them doing it and deciding the fates of their lives. Itâ€™s women. And, I think, thatâ€™s a very scary feeling for them.
To answer your question, I think being allies to one another and trying to figure out how to do that and not serve the purposes of patriarchal narratives, which means making those exceptions and going, â€˜Wait a minute. This was my friend. Wait a minute. Iâ€™ve worked with person. Heâ€™s really nice. Thereâ€™s no way he couldâ€™ve done that. Wait a minute.â€™ All these â€˜wait a minutes,â€™ they have to go. They really have to go.
So, the important message for me is to always say believe first, question later and that we have to stand as a unified front and that you canâ€™t keep looking at just your own future as a woman. You have to be looking left and right and whoâ€™s next to you and whoâ€™s behind you and whoâ€™s not being supported. Who can you bring with you. Because an army is just not strong enough if weâ€™re all not holding each otherâ€™s stories as strongly as we can.â€
Attica Locke: â€œI would add to that, when you say it takes a village, it takes a village to do resistance and I think I would tell young women to engage in deep self-care. There will be some days you donâ€™t have it in you to stand up and fight. In the moment you donâ€™t have to speak up.
With those of us whoâ€™ve experienced assault and trauma, itâ€™s not every day that you want to say, â€˜Me too.â€™ That shit is hard. So, we have to have other womenâ€™s backs so that when you do have the energy to speak up loud, somebody else can sit down for a minute.
I just want young women not to wear themselves out because itâ€™s a long ride. Itâ€™s a long ride. I just want them to take dear, great care of themselves. And to not feel shame if you speak or donâ€™t speak. Everything is ok.”
Randa Jarrar: â€œAlso, just one last thing: Fuck straight white menâ€™s work. Weâ€™ve all read it, weâ€™ve all looked at it. Itâ€™s over. Just one thing you can do is just read womenâ€™s work and read women of color.
If youâ€™re a young woman, thatâ€™s what you should be doing. Let go of all that canon and create a canon of your own, a loud ass canon and just move forward and essentially remember that there has always been years where weâ€™ve been othered and our voices have been silenced, our voices have been muted. Now itâ€™s time for our voices to be loud.
The future and the past and everything has been female, itâ€™s been femme, itâ€™s been women, itâ€™s been us and so I think the most important thing now is to elevate the words of women of color and listen to them and to what they have to say, because they knew. They know. Do the work if youâ€™re on a college campus. Read. Read women. Read women of color.
The guidance is there. The beauty is there and girl gangs also. Girl gangs are good. Form one.”
I didn’t record it — and I’m glad I didn’t because you need to hear it live — Roxane Gay’s giddy and hilarious ode to the movie Magic Mike XXL. She’s a serious Channing Tatum fan and you will have a new appreciation for this film after you’ve heard her talk about it. Having never seen it myself, I will be watching it the first opportunity I get.
You can buy the works of Roxane Gay, Amber Tamblyn, Randa Jarrar, Rachel McKibbens and Attica Locke at your local bookstore or online.
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