Sunday, October 24, 2010

WisCon's sense of feminism

The latest edition of WisCon's newsletter, eCube-- Vol.35 No.4-- is now out. It includes a "Draft Statement of Principles," which is
a work in progress It was written in four days by Victor Raymond, Mikki Kendall, and Debbie Notkin, with input from Karen Meisner and Jeanne Gomoll. We will refine it over time. We welcome input from the committee and from anyone receiving e-Cube who wishes to participate, but the final statement will be approved by the WisCon committee (which anyone can join by volunteering). Please send an email to if you want to help finish this work.

The statement defines WisCon's sense of feminism:

but one way to describe it is as a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of all. Feminism is part of a larger constellation of movements seeking social, political and economic equality for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, ability, status, or belief.

Since its inception, WisCon has worked to create a space for feminism and its consideration within the science fiction community. Feminism is vital to WisCon's identity. Feminism itself has grown and changed over the decades, and WisCon has reflected those changes, often imperfectly, just as those changes have been unevenly and imperfectly implemented in other feminist contexts.

At base, we recognize that a commitment to feminism means a commitment to social justice of all sorts-we might not be able to focus equally on every issue, but still we cannot pick and choose which people deserve justice and which issues we are more comfortable with. We are called to be true to our principles, even (and especially) when they are unpopular. WisCon's commitment to feminist science fiction is a commitment to ensuring that our future includes everyone, not just white, well-off, able-bodied, straight men.

WisCon's commitment to feminism is also reflected in our processes. Meetings, decision-making processes, program development, and guest of honor choice all reflect a commitment to feminist ideals of equality, respect for everyone's right to be heard, and the obligation to hold each other accountable for what we say. We do this to help each other and the convention serve as better advocates for feminism and social justice, recognizing that this builds our community. WisCon's commitment to feminist process means that we reject hierarchies of oppression, recognizing "the nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive." (paraphrased from Audre Lorde's speech, "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House, " on the web at
I'm glad to see this. It will, I think, be helpful for WisCon's process in the future.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...
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