When Women's Voices Rise

In this roundtable we bring together The Mantle's all-female editorial staff (Aria Chiodo, Corrie Hulse, & Marie Lamensch) to discuss the current state of the women's movement, particularly in the U.S., but also around the world. The main question we have focused on is: how have women's voices been silenced or amplified within resistance movements?

Moderator's Introduction

With the anniversary of the Women’s March, we are taking a moment to look back at a year of resistance, and honestly, a lifetime of resistance from the women who came before us. As we look forward to what are sure to be years of continued struggle, let us take moment to learn from those who have stood on the front lines. This roundtable brings together The Mantle's all-female editorial staff to discuss women's voices throughout history, but also specifically over the last year--where have we made strides, and where is there still more work to be done. It was my pleasure as Managing Editor to both moderate and also be a participant in this roundtable, and I hope it sparks even more discussion.

 

  • Finding Power in Solidarity

    Aria Chiodo

    A significant problem to me a few years ago was the idea of young women rejecting the term feminist. As the feminist daughter of a former NOW chapter president, this upset and confused me; I was afraid of the “post-feminist” direction our society seemed to be headed. I was not aware, however, that we had apparently entered a new wave of feminism sometime in 2013—whether this was a fourth or fifth wave is subject to much disagreement. I’m not going to attempt to clarify which “wave” we are currently in, but I have always considered “waves” to be synonymous with movements, and I do believe we are most definitely in a new movement.

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  • Changing the World, One Woman's Voice at a Time

    Marie Lamensch

    In her book Women and Power: A Manifesto, Mary Beard looks at the ways women’s voices are not heard in contemporary culture and politics, and traces it back to the Antiquity when “to become a man was to claim the right to speak.” Public speaking simply defined masculinity and this influenced the societies we live still in today and the institutions we have. “The point is simple but important: as far back as we can see in Western history there is a radical separation - real, cultural and imaginary - between women and power.”

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  • Our Voices Combined: A Community Arises

    Corrie Hulse

    Growing up, I remember reading about various women’s movements, about the Suffragettes, about the feminism of the 60s and 70s, about the women who fought the hard battles so I could live in the level of semi-equality I do today. I was always intrigued, and inspired by their passion, and understood the importance of their fight and their sacrifice. It was because of them that I knew I could be anything, do anything I dreamed. But somehow, I still didn’t really understand the true power of women yet.

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Moderator's Conclusion

These roundtable essays, for all of us I believe, were difficult to write. There are so many directions one could go when speaking about women's voices in the resistance. So many stories to tell, so many issues to focus on, how do you even know where to begin? I appreciate that each writer here brought their own passions to the discussion, as Marie wrote of the difficult battle of being a woman in the national security sector, and Aria focused in on our histories and indigenous cultures. Yet, at the same time there were a few themes that emerged throughout the essays. 

The first theme was the importance of understanding the role our history has played in creating the world we live in today. The battles we are fighting against Trump, the rampant sexual harassment and sexual assault in our countries, did not simply appear last November. These things are a product of our histories, and in order to defeat them we must understand their roots. Each of the authors gave great suggestions for further reading on the history of women's rights and women's movements, and I would encourage you to seek out those texts. 

The second theme that runs through these essays, and also through the entirety of this current women's movement, is the concept of intersectionality. It has been important to the Women's March and also to the #MeToo movement that they include a diversity of voices. That everyone speaks, from the powerful to the meek, white and black, Asian and hispanic. It is not always easy to achieve intersectionality, and there have been bumps along the road, but I am encouraged by the level of determination to continue to strive for it among each new movement that pops up.

Lastly, this fight is not close to over. As each writer noted, women must be prepared to keep fighting, keep persisting. We are in this for the long haul. I hope this roundtable sparked in you the desire to learn more, participate more, and get out there and make your voice heard.