We’ve made it! We’re just about to the midpoint in the semester. If you’re anything like me, then this is the “drop off point” for everything non-school related. The weekly lunches with friends slow down and the study sessions pick up. This is also about the time when I really start wishing life had one of those easy buttons (did I just date myself with that one?). One question that comes to mind with all of this haywire is: how do we keep up with feminism?
Before you go all, “Oh no, not another one of those posts…” on me, hold the phone. By “keep up with,” I don’t necessarily mean we’re not doing our jobs as feminists or that we really need to step it up now because it’s a crucial time kind of thing (now I sound like a politician). What I mean by this is: don’t be thwarted from reading this post because you think I’m going to get all preachy….that’s not my point.
My point is, with all of these other things going on, how do we even remember feminism? Sure it’s easy to keep up with news when the semester first starts (and by that I mean spend hours online Facebook-ing, Gmail-ing, playing Internet games, and occasionally checking the news). But now that it’s crunch time, is it still possible to maintain our “feminist lifestyles”?
Several people I know have said to me that keeping up with feminism over the summer is like keeping the Titanic afloat…it just doesn’t happen. I feel the same and I totally sense it coming. My daily Jezebel-ing starts to slow down and I start working more. It’s like I see the iceberg coming and I say, “Eh, hold that thought. I’ll see you next year.” My feelings about feminism remain unchanged but I find myself without the time, inclination or even interest to keep up with the times.
This is really an exaggerated account of my (lack of) summer fem fun. Debate, classes and other things keep my interest in feminism high, but my time for other research in the field low. I just can’t help but wonder: can we take a summer break from feminism?
For me, feminism has had so many different implications on my life. I am immersed in it through my extracurricular activities; my thesis is in the field, etc. So, feminism sort of toes the line between a hobby and an academic endeavor (with a little bit of social movement, too). I don’t know about you but for me, this is kind of a sticky wicket. There comes a point in the semester (or several) where I get tired/bored/irritated/angry/lackadaisical/blah with my work.
I guess it makes sense. I put so much into my work (intellectually, emotionally, etc.) that sometimes it just seems like…work. At a certain point, it’s hard to take a step back and look at my progress holistically and everything I’m doing seems meaningless and contrived. Maybe it’s because I’m stir crazy because I want to go out into the world and “be the change” (what is with me and politics today…). I don’t know but shit gets boring….
The same happens with feminism. Because feminism plays more than just a let’s-hang-out-on-the-weekend role, I get kind of bored. Maybe I am the only one and if that’s the case, feel free to start picketing outside my classes and call me whatever heinous names I deserve but this is how I feel. Feminism is kind of like the job you’ll always have but never get paid for. It takes a lot of work and at times, it’s hard to see definitive progress (at least, externally). So, to go back to my question: Just like with any other job (I hope), it’s ok to take a vacation once in a while. I think the important thing is after we pack our backs and go wherever (Europe please…), we have to remember to pick up right where we left off.
Before I stop rambling (I know, I know), I’ll make one caveat. Even though I think the job analogy is (for the most part) fitting for feminism, I think it’s important to note that unlike other jobs (unless you’re a philosopher or secret agent???), feminism goes with you wherever you go. So, even if I go to Europe, my tiny, little feminist brain will never cease to notice not-so-feminist/feminist things. But, if I go to Europe, this does mean that it’s ok to put down the thesis for a bit and just check out the (insert favorite Euro-thing of your choice).