I have been a long time political activist and feminist. Yes, I said feminist, and proud of it. I know that for some people that is not a good word but here is what it means to me very simply: anyone (male or female) who believes in the equality of men and women.
Last month I had lunch with Professor Bettina Aptheker. She is the head of the Women’s Studies (or here we call it Feminist Studies) department at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). We had a great time talking about what she was doing and what I was doing as the founder of the Campaign for Gender Equality. This was a match made in heaven, because the Campaign for Gender Equality is working to educate, mobilize and unite people in order to eliminate sexism in this country, and Bettina has just released a very important educational tool.
She has been teaching "Introduction to Feminisms" at UCSC for the last 24 years and now has all her classes on DVD’s for everyone to see. Well, of course I immediately ordered myself a set – 17-DVD’s for just $20… such a deal! Over the holidays I watched all of them — sometimes while doing other things because, you know, us women have to and know how to multi-task. I came away more knowledgeable and able to see the whole picture. I was re-energized and felt empowered, not at all angry, at what I was learning. Yes, since I am older, I knew a lot of what she was talking about, but being able to understand gender inequality, how far we have come in the last 40 years and how far we still need to go gave me a great sense of peace.
Bettina’s "Introduction to Feminisms" places women’s experiences at the center and emphasizes the diversity of women’s lives. She talks about everything from unlearning racism, to loving ourselves, to women, immigration and the global economy, to women and body image, to the politics of rape, and how they all interrelate with each other. She is engaging, tells stories and covers sexism, racism and homophobia and how they are connected and contribute to gender inequality in this country and around the world.
I have been talking to many people about Bettina’s DVD’s and a couple of people have suggested that we have "Watch Parties" and talk about it afterwards. This reminded me of the "Conscious Raising" groups for the 60′s and 70′s. I think that it is a great idea because for us to eliminate sexism we must first understand it in a holistic way and how it permeates our society.
There is a lot of information out there but it is not always available and easy to understand. The Campaign for Gender Equality has partnered with Professor Bettina Aptheker to spread the word. The DVD set is available here. I hope that you will order it, hold "Watch Parties" and talk about what you can do.
Please pass this on to others and join us by signing up for our newsletter at www.campaignforgenderequality.org.
Pat Bakalian is the Executive Director for the Campaign for Gender Equality.
Cross-posted at Alegre’s Corner