Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States

Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States

Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States

Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States

Synopsis

Challenging the idea that feminism in the United States is dead or in decline, Everywhere and Nowhere examines the contours of contemporary feminism. Through a nuanced investigation of three feminist communities, Jo Reger shows how contemporary feminists react to the local environment currently shaping their identities, tactics, discourse, and relations with other feminist generations. By moving the analysis to the community level, Reger illustrates how feminism is simultaneously absent from the national, popular culture--"nowhere"--and diffused into the foundations of American culture--"everywhere." Reger addresses some of the most debated topics concerning feminists in the twenty-first century. How do contemporary feminists think of the second-wave generation? Has contemporary feminism succeeded in addressing racism and classism, and created a more inclusive movement? How are contemporary feminists dealing with their legacy of gender, sex, and sexuality in a world of fluid identity and queer politics? The answers, she finds, vary by community.

Everywhere and Nowhere offers a clear, empirical analysis of the state of contemporary feminism while also revealing the fascinating and increasingly complex development of community-level feminist groups in the United States.

Excerpt

The Forum for Women is a matrimony of outspoken, ballsy girls. We’re pissed.
We’re driven. We’re going to get things done. Raise your hand if you dare. We may
just enlighten you. We are the third wave of feminists who aren’t afraid to stand up,
step forward and get on top of that damn soapbox. We understand what it means to
be ourselves. We have what it takes to raise our voices and tell it like it is. We know
what we want, and by any means, we’ll get it. We’re tired of making sixty-four cents
to their dollar. Our attitudes and opinions are anything but timid. Boys, don’t
worry, we’re not man-eating barbarians. We like men. They’re okay. However,
some of us like women more. A lot more. Our message is haunting. Tongue-in-cheek.
Risqué. Loud. Witty. Feminine. We’re a kaleidoscope of cultures and backgrounds.
Some of us fancy skirts while others opt for jeans and sweatshirts. But we all have one
thing in common. We love being women. And quite frankly, we love our vaginas.
Unabashedly outspoken, we are the luminous, uncompromising women of this gen
eration. We will not allow for those women who came before us to be forgotten.
We’re inspired by our foremothers; for all of their contributions and achievements.
Together, we will make a difference. We have what it takes. We are more than just
the Forum for Women. We are a family.

That’s who we are.

—Student group, Forum for Women
Woodview University, 2005

At a university in the Midwest, Jaclyn, the twenty-year-old vice president of Forum for Women (FFW), pens these words as the mission statement for her group. To Jaclyn and the other group members, becoming a feminist is a powerful . . .

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