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Morgan Tuscherer
Professor Amy Rupiper Taggart
English Capstone Experience
14 December, 2015
Feminist Literacy: The Catalysts of Feminism for Americas Millennials
Abstract
My research aims to uncover where millennials in the United States are gaining
their knowledge of feminism, the millennial generation being that which encompasses
all people born between the late 1980s and early 2000s. The work presented focuses
on the major catalysts of feminist literacy; that is, where these millennials are seeing
and hearing feminism explained, what events led them to it, what courses in university
taught them about it, etc. Also examined is the effectiveness of these catalysts and
what aspects of feminism are not being communicated accurately through mainstream
rhetoric. I gathered information from research already done by scholars in the feminist
field on what these catalysts may be, and also from surveys conducted among fellow
millennials. My project also emphasizes the role that university classes have played in
understanding the current movement as a catalyst, and seeks to explain the lack of
activism in this generation. Current research finds that many young people dissociate
from the movement because they find it unnecessary this, then, leads to questions
about the pedagogical discourse of feminism and its effectiveness. By understanding
millennials and their take-aways from what theyve learned in school, we can attempt to
find suggestions to better the pedagogy and encourage more work towards equality
from this generation.

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Introduction
The millennial generation, which consists of a range of people born between the
late 1980s to early 2000s, is one that has had to adapt to vastly different learning styles
compared with previous generations. Because we live in an increasingly technological
age, millennials are forced to learn quickly to understand the plethora of new learning
platforms we teach young people about how to understand media bias, where to find
internet sources that aren't spreading false claims, and how to be responsible on social
media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter. Because we as a generation are
overwhelmed with new media and its biased influence, it can be hard to fully educate
this new generation about social issues like feminism. When we depend on social
media for information on important social issues we dont generate enough motivation
from people to actually engage in social change. There is a lack of concern and
understanding when it comes to urgency, which is detailed later in the paper.
Many young people are seeing and hearing about feminism through these
platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, and forming unhealthy opinions on what feminism
means, then when or if they get the college courses where there is actual in-depth talk
about what the movement is, their uninformed opinions are less likely to be swayed.
Research finds that feminists move from social activism to a classroom setting has
significantly changed the way feminist progress develops, and many millennials dont
believe they need to have any sort of association with feminism because all that can be
done, has been.
Because of the conflict between online learning and classroom learning, there
has been a call by some scholars, such as bell hooks and Sarah Parsons, to rework the

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system of feminist learning. In the following sections I present research findings on what
exactly these scholars have to say about current feminist discourse, what research I
have done myself (including my own findings), and suggestions for improving the
discourse based on both my own research and scholarly suggestions. In this research I
use Deborah Brandts framework for literary sponsorship, which she writes about in
Sponsors of Literacy. In this article Brandt highlights key moments in three individuals
lives that generated their literature knowledge, which Ive applied to my own research by
asking what has sponsored individual millennials knowledge of feminism. I also used
Shayla Thiel-Sterns article Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism as a mentor
text in order to get a jump start in learning what previous sponsors of feminist learning
have been. Thiel-Sterns writes about how zines had a huge impact on feminist learning
because of their simple distribution and accurate knowledge; they also served as a
platform for women to take matters into their own hands and move away from the
patriarchy, thereby creating one of the most iconic feminist catalysts the movement has
ever seen (Theil-Stern 209).
One of the biggest causes for concern found in the literature to follow is that
there is a growing gap between generations of feminists. A movement that once focused
on political activism has now largely moved to the classroom, or at least we are relying
on that space to do most of the teaching. There are exceptions to this, of course.
Women in the media are speaking out about feminist issues more frequently, like Emma
Watsons He for She movement or Jennifer Lawrences essay detailing the gendered
wage gap in Hollywood. These mainstream attempts at feminism are made with good
intent, but for audiences to be affected by these instances of activism they must

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understand that equality takes more than a moving speech from a beloved childhood
actress. There is more going on in the world than what any one or two celebrities can
possibly tell you.
Moving feminism exclusively into the classroom, and specifically the college
classroom, creates an elitist environment where only those who really, really want to
learn about it are given the opportunity to. This leaves out entire social classes of
people: young people who havent gone to university yet or dont want to, those who
cant afford it, older adults who never received a university education, as well as many
others. Leaving people out of academic level classroom feminism can cause
misunderstanding for what the word and movement actually mean, making Watsons
and Lawrences efforts irrelevant to so many.

Literature Review
Feminism isnt affecting the millennial generation as much as previous ones,
Deborah Stevenson, Christine Everingham, and Penelope Robinson find, because of
what they call generationalism. In their article they describe this term as a tool to fuel
culture wars between generations and make people question their moral stances on
feminism, gay rights, Indigenous rights, and multiculturalism (128). When this is
executed effectively by politicians, they say, it becomes a means to gain popularity
votes for certain candidates and create further tension between generations. From this
gap there is blame placed onto the younger generation, the one whos new values are
being questioned because they are not what previous generations are used to, and
when anything goes wrong the entire generation is blamed; when millennials feel

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attacked as a generation they are far less likely to go out and express radical views
calling for social change (Stevenson, Everingham, and Robinson 129). They are taught
to accept the way things are in an effort to keep the peace. This certainly doesnt apply
to every member of the millennial generation, but it is one of the barriers that must be
crossed in order to continue the movement.
When that barrier is crossed by those who choose to learn about feminism at
university, there is still tension between generational ideals. The first and second
generations of womens movements have largely informed what academic feminism is
today, but the influence of media in this generation is creating vast changes in regards
to what feminism is focusing on and wanting to change (Fitzgerald 168). Fitzgerald
states that intersectionalities have been introduced that were nowhere to be found in the
first waves of the movement, like sexuality, race, and identity, and are now amplified
across media (168). Deconstructing those intersectionalities now is harder than ever
because of how omnipresent media is in our culture; unwillingness to learn and
misunderstanding from previous generations contributes to the difficulty of encouraging
millennials to be socially active.
The generational gap among feminists is further analyzed in Chilla Bulbecks
Young Womens Views of Feminism and Womens History. Due to young peoples lack
of knowledge they find the activism aspect of feminism unnecessary: all of the
perceived best information on feminism simply comes from media sources, like movies
and social media sites on the internet (Bulbeck 3). Bulbeck argues that there is less
emotional attachment in this generation because of these changing learning sources,
and when that attachment isnt there, there is no motivation to promote change (2).

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These sources of learning, or catalysts, are different now than in generations past. In
her research Bulbeck found that previous generations learned a lot from newspapers
and active involvement; young people now are relying on television, films, and the
internet, (3) much like other researchers have found. What these media pieces tell us
today is that there is no battle to be fought, and because of that involvement has
dropped dramatically due to less emotional involvement(2), meaning young people
arent willing to participate because they dont see how it affects them.
Bulbeck also finds that involvement has decreased because of millennials lack of
concern. She states that while young women acknowledge that equality is a good thing,
feminism is not their preferred method to achieve it (9). Tanja Nusser suggests in her
article Are Feminism and Gender Studies Really Growing Old?: Reassessments of a
Discourse that this growing lack of concern is creating a tension in the discourse,
notably in the feminist classroom. Young women today, Nusser states, are unable to see
themselves fulfilling the feminist role and to fix that she says that the next step should
be to see oneself as the subject or object of feminism (145). By this she means that
making feminism a personal matter for people can actually help get that meaning back
into the movement, and the best place to start is always with yourself. She states that
everyone should understand their position of agency and narration, meaning you
should understand where you fit in your unique position of power and what you are
doing with that understanding (Nusser 146).
Its not always that simple to get people thinking about that kind of feminism,
though. In college classrooms, where most of this learning is happening, there is a
second tension that Nusser identifies: most of these teachers are white, liberal, []

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wealthy women who dont experience the intersections of feminism in ways that can
inform younger generations adequately. It seems that opportunities for white women to
teach at the collegiate level are plentiful, and while thats better than no one teaching
feminism, it isnt the absolute best we could be doing. To understand the experiences of
diverse women, we must learn from them and let their voices be heard inside and out
of the classroom.
On the other end of the argument, there are scholars that find mostly positive
aspects of the current state of feminism. Ange-Marie Hancock acknowledges that there
are indeed changes in feminist discourse; she says that people in this generation are
less likely to be judgmental when it comes to topics such as sexual liberation or acting
out of gender norms, and this shift of knowledge is not harmful in itself (Hancock 292).
Hancock has high hopes for the movement: we, as feminists, must be vigilant in
achieving solidarity among all intersections, but putting the effort in is absolutely
necessary in order to keep this wave of feminism afloat (296).
Amanda D. Lotz writes in her paper Communicating Third-Wave Feminism and
New Social Movements: Challenges for the Next Century Feminist Endeavor, there is
positive change happening within the women of color and postfeminist categories of
current feminism. These subcategories of feminism are defined by Lotz as those that
are inclusive of non-privileged women and those that are attempting to build upon what
feminism already is, respectively, and feminists who fall into these categories are
working towards positive change, even though this can be especially difficult with oversensationalization of feminism in the media (4).

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From my perspective as a millennial, the media is one of the larger catalysts of
feminism today, regardless of how sensationalized it has become. There is still the
importance of the college classroom, though. In Academic Feminism Against Itself,
Robyn Weigman states that although there are some obvious flaws in this movement of
feminist knowledge, it should still be embraced and supported because it is ultimately
the keeper of most feminist knowledge in this wave of the movement this is a key
piece in the future of the movement, and by aiming to make it stronger we can, in turn,
make feminism stronger (Weigman 34). Sarah Parsons also writes about feminism in
the college classroom as a positive impact on young peoples lives, notably how it can
be disbursed through all courses to fully immerse students with all sorts of varieties of
feminist literature. Specifically, Parsons is calling for more feminist art history as she has
found it challenges her students to think critically inside and out of their major disciplines
(160).

My Project
To better understand how millennials learn about feminism, and whether they
associate with the movement, I conducted a small survey of five questions distributed to
an introductory Human Development and Family Science course at North Dakota State
University. The class has about fifty students enrolled, and I received forty-two
responses, with nearly all filled out completely. The five questions were:
Table 1
1. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
2. Where did you learn about it?

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3. What is the single most important thing (person, book, blog, etc.) that taught you about
it?
4. Where do you think other millennials are learning about it?
5. At what age do you think people should learn about it, and should there be standards?

The responses indicate that only 29% considered themselves a feminist; the other 71%
were either explicitly not feminist or were unsure of whether the label suited them. This
was alarming considering the HDFS program, which most of the students are in,
crosses frequently with the Women and Gender Studies programs at NDSU. The
following tables show results of where these students learned about feminism, and what
they felt their biggest feminist catalyst was:
Table 2
Where did you
learn about it?
School
Parents/Family

Table 3

Total
25
6

Media

13

Peers

Society

Common Knowledge

Didn't learn it

No response

What is the single


most important
catalyst?
Surrounding world
Internet/Media
Work
Jessica Valenti's
Books
Mom/Parents
School
Peer
Conversations
No response

Total
2
12
1
1
8
14
2
1
3

According to the data I found most students are getting the bulk of their
information in school. Specifically, these surveys said that they were learning about
feminism in their Women and Gender Studies 110 class, which is an introductory course
to the material. This course, which I took during my sophomore year, is a very basic
approach to the current state of feminism: there is a brief history of the movement in the
United States, and the bulk of the semester is spent detailing the inequalities that

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women face today. There is no requirement to participate in any sort of activism, and
there is no insistence that all feminists are bra-burning radicals (as one of my survey
responses called it).
At the end of my semester in that course, only a handful of students said that
they called themselves feminists after learning about it for 16 weeks. This, along with
the correlation between survey responders that said they were not feminist and learned
about it in a college course, is indicative of a disparity within academic feminism. By this
I mean that while they are learning, they dont process well enough what their position
within the movement is or what it could potentially be.
Table four, below, shows further conflict in regards to the seriousness that
millennials believe academic feminism holds. 31 of the 42 surveys said that one of the
biggest places their generation is learning about it is in the media, not school. This
demonstrates some truth to the herd mentality by showing what young people think
others do, as opposed to what they actually do. The participants might be taking social
media more seriously as a source for good feminist knowledge instead of what they
learned in their college classes, which leads to misinformation and that lack of concern
or engagement.
Table 4
Where do you
think millenials
are learning about
it?
Media
School
Peers
Feminist
Celebrities
Society
Extra Curricular
Activities
Family
Don't know
Speakers

Total
31
17
11
2
1
1
2
1
1

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Suggestions
Scholars suggest that one of the best moves for current academic feminism is to
shift it into more diverse spaces. For example, Sarah Parsons offers the idea of
teaching feminism in conjunction with art history in Radical Possibilities: Feminism,
Pedagogy, and Visual Culture (Parsons 156). Students are better able to understand
the breadth that the movement can have when they are exposed to it in a variety of
contexts, and according to Parsons, engaging in feminist discourse in this particular
setting generated a lot of critical thinking and discussion among all of her students.
Pedagogy could be changed campus wide in universities all across the nation: by
moving away from canonical male figures in discourses such as math, science, history,
or literature, feminism can be learned by students in an all-encompassing manner. By
this I mean to say that its less of that bra burning activism and more of an
understanding that women should be celebrated just as much as men have been in the
past; its our time to shine and theres nothing wrong with that.
bell hooks suggests that feminism should not only be taught in the classroom, but
should also be implicated in childrens lives at a very young age. Picture and chapter
books are something she believes should become standardized to teach basic feminism
(hooks 23). We teach children about manners, eating well, and exercise, so why not
feminism and treating others equally?
They can learn about things like gender and identity early on, so that when they
get to be older there is more tolerance among peers. Or perhaps they could start

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learning early on that its okay for girls to be tough and boys to cry, or anything in
between, so that critical thinking about topics within feminism starts young and is carried
on into adulthood. Youth is a vital learning time for any important aspect of a persons
like, and teaching equality to our children would benefit the masses.
Perhaps if the students who participated in my survey had been exposed to
feminism in a larger variety of ways the answers I received would have been more
positive, as being exposed to it for the first time at the college level didnt encourage
very many to stand with the social movement. There tends to be little urgency in those
introductory courses, which then doesnt encourage students to seek out further
involvement. If feminism isnt something that gets started when people are young, then
we are relying on teaching methods that occur later in life, notably classrooms and
media platforms. The research says this isnt as effective a method as the activism of
the past, because it excludes too many people and waters it down to something that
people think has already been achieved. Women can vote and get birth control, so isnt
that enough equality? Through teaching good feminist discourse outside the college
classroom, we can get more people to answer no to that question, and better yet, we
can get them to do something about it.

Conclusion
There is a generational gap between what was feminism, and what is feminism,
and this gap is causing a lot of trouble in feminist academia. Millennials are under the
impression that there is no need for this social movement, that women and men have
achieved equality. Because they are exposed to the movement in completely different

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ways than in decades past, that need for change feeling is not present, and may never
be, for some of those in the millennial generation. This should be forcing us to
reexamine teaching methods and find new, insightful ways to weave it into academics
across the board.
These teaching methods, as explained above, should start young and be broad.
Learning to treat people right is something we already teach our children, but we need
to take it a step further and encourage them to eliminate harmful notions of the
patriarchy we live in that arise later in life.

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Annotated Bibliography
Introduction
There have been many methods for discovering feminism over past generations, and
the millennials are no exception to this notion. The catalysts for feminist literacy (that is,
the events, people, or artifacts that inform and teach people about it) are vastly different
for millennials than from what we have seen in those past generations. In this research I
attempt to understand where those catalysts are coming from and what they are doing
to inform young adults today.
From the reading I have done and detailed below I have come to understand that a lot
of feminist learning takes place in the college classroom. The sources describe this
learning as a separation from the social activism that has occurred in previous
generations and therefore changed the course of the movement. By taking the activism
part of out the equation there tends to be confusion among millennials in regards to
whether or not equality is something that still needs to be worked on, and when those
who think its not a problem dont act, there is no progress made.
Instead of throwing the pedagogical approach out completely though, the research
indicates that we should instead work on revamping the approach taken when it comes
to teaching feminism in the classroom. It is agreed upon that simply teaching children
what the word feminism means is a good tool to change the learning patterns. It is also
noted that when feminist history moves into other discourses in schools it becomes
extremely beneficial to the understanding of the movement and the process made so
far.
In the following annotations I describe each article in both a summative and an
evaluative paragraph, with its relevance to my project included in the evaluation. The
articles range from positive to negative views on feminism, are about teaching and
learning about the movement, and one is very informative on the ways students learn to
become literate in a variety of subjects. They will all be informing my final paper and
guiding the shape of the final conclusions of my research.
Annotations
Brandt, Deborah. Sponsors of Literacy. National Council of Teachers of English 49.2
(1998) : 165-185. Print.
The essay Sponsors of Literacy, by Deborah Brandt, details her research on
what she calls a literary sponsor: the person responsible for teaching an
individual how to read and be literate in whatever context is most important to
that individual. She does this by breaking it up into three important sections,
which she says are Access, Rise in Literacy Standards, and Appropriation

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and Literacy Learning. In each section Brandt tells personal stories of the
people she interviewed. For Access the main story was about the way that two
people, Raymond and Dora, live in the same town had access to the same
literacy information but Dora, who moved there from the Mexican border, had to
work harder to get that same information. In the second section Brandt
discusses how the literacy standards have risen over time by telling the story of
Dwayne Lowery, who had to rapidly learn how to get what his company wanted
through writing and legal matters rather than just through muscle. The final
section was about the ways that literacy is appropriated and Brandt
demonstrated this through stories of two female secretaries who learned most of
their literacy through the men who employed them, as was the norm at the time.
While this article doesnt specifically talk about learning feminism, it can be
essential for my research as a model from which to base my findings on. There
are certainly sponsors of feminism out there, and from Brandts writing I can
evaluate their effectiveness fairly. This does align with other research because
Ive found so far that the institution of the university tends to be one of the
biggest sponsors of feminism for the millennial generation, and this institution is
severely impacting the way we learn about the movement; it even goes so far as
to dissuade people from it because of not being able to sway unfavorable
attitudes.
Bulbeck, Chilla. You Learn About Feminists but Theyre All Like Years Old: Young
Womens Views of Feminism and Womens History. Outskirts. 25 (2011): 1-11.
ProQuest. Web. 16 Oct. 2015
The article by Bulbeck is a piece that highlights some of the generational
differences between young and old feminists. She finds that the lack of activism
in the current century is causing young people to misunderstand the necessity of
the movement, and even consider it pointless. She mentions a few catalysts for
feminism among generations as well: she claims parents relied on sources like
newspapers and children today use television, films, and the internet (3). She
also includes pieces of interviews shes done with younger and older
generations explaining what they think feminism means, adding relevancy to the
work.
This article is very relevant for me, especially since it was published so recently
and grants information on several catalysts. Although it was published in
Australia, and the research was done on Australian citizens, it still stands as
important since our social cultures are vastly similar.

Fitzgerald, Louise. Women, Feminism and Media. Feminist Review. 92 (2009):


168-169. Print.

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Fitzgeralds article is a book review for Sue Thornhams book Women, Feminism
and Media. The objective review summarizes the key arguments from the book.
The main idea, as Fitzgerald identifies, is that there is a sort of tension arising
between generations of the feminist movements that is then affecting the way it is
taught in college classrooms. From the review it is also discernible that the book
studies the way intersectionality affects the younger feminists, and also what
events are teaching these feminists about the movement. She concludes her
review by stating the importance of the book in the field of feminism and that it is
a key first start for students getting into the field.
While the source isnt ideal for the research Im undertaking, it still does prove
very helpful as a review of the current discussion of academic feminism. It aligns
so far with my findings that people in school learning about feminism arent
learning the same things as second-wavers and that gap is affecting what
millennials think feminism is and whether or not they should align with the views.
Hancock, Ange-Marie. Bridging the Feminist Generation Gap: Intersectional
Considerations. Politics and Gender. 10.2 (2014): 292-296. Print.
Ange-Marie Hancock writes in her article Bridging the Feminists Generation
Gap that there is a radical difference between feminist politics in the 19th
century and millennial interpretations of the movement. She mentions the
change from The Scarlet Letter to the film adaptation of the novel Easy A. The
argument she makes here is that because this generation is much less likely to
pass judgements on instances like those in the novel and its adaptation, they are
less likely to think that there is a need for feminist activism. This isnt a bad thing
for Hancock, rather simply a shift in the knowledge and activation of feminist
politics. She concludes by stating that this new type of feminism is one that
should be an ongoing practice, and that it is absolutely necessary to continue
the womens movement in our generation.
This article is excellent for my outlining of the changes in academic feminism. I
am finding that there is less activism, which scholars agree is not the best
course, but there are ways that teaching it in a classroom setting can be
beneficial for the changes that are happening. This is also another extremely
recent publication so its relevance is prefect for my research.
hooks, bell. Feminist Education for Critical Consciousness. Feminism is for Everybody.
Cambridge: South End Press, 2000: 19-24. Print.
For the annotation the chapter that I will be using is the fourth, titled Feminist
Education for Critical Consciousness, where hooks speaks to academic
feminism as a thing to be worked on and improved. She argues that moving the
social movement into the classroom makes it inaccessible to the majority of
society, as one needs a good formal education in order to even read most of

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whats being written about it. There are suggestions for improvement, such as
feminist owning a television network that can broadcast to the masses, and
revamping childrens books to teach them positive, healthy ideas about gender
before they start ascribing unhealthy roles when theyre playing together. Her
main goal here is to make feminism accessible to everyone and anyone who is
willing to listen.
Having bell hooks in my research will help to establish good credibility, as she is
a key feminist speaker in our generation. This chapter goes along with what I
have found written by others, in that it identifies institutionalized feminism as a
problem, but it takes a step further and offers suggestions to improve the state of
learning.

Lotz, Amanda D. Communicating Third-Wave Feminism and New Social Movements:


Challenges for the Next Century of Feminist Endeavor. Women and Language.
26.1 (2003): 2-9. Print.
The main idea of Lotzs argument is that third-wave feminism is not suffering
when compared to second-wave feminism. She begins by telling a small
anecdote about an experience she had in a dentists office where she said she
read a Time magazine article about feminism that was portrayed all wrong. She
says that this is one of the reasons why third-wave feminism was being
discredited. The body of her essay outlines what she considers the three types
of third-wave feminism: reactionary third-wave (this group of people tends to
criticize feminism so much that they border on anti-feminist and are largely
seeking attention in order to invoke emotional reactions from the masses),
women-of-color (this group is more positively feminist and includes the
experiences of non-privelged women in order to reach a common goal), and
postfeminism (the final category includes people who are attempting to build
upon what feminism already is and become more inclusive to anyone who
adopts the term in their identity). She goes on to support the latter two types of
feminists by emphasizing the positive change that they have made and are
working toward. She also acknowledges how difficult their job is due to the
sensationalization of feminism in the media.
This source is relevant to my research in that it outline the various ways that
feminism is perceived in my generation. By understanding what these
perceptions are in an academic setting I can begin to synthesize what my cohort
says about personally identifying as feminists. It is also useful because it
emphasizes that media distorts complex thoughts about feminism, and to have
that available as an academic citation is useful to my claims and findings. The
political point of view is probably on the liberal end of things, since this is about
modern feminism. The source is credible for my research since it was published

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in an academic, peer-reviewed journal. This is the first source Ive read and
annotated so I cant say, as of yet, if it disagrees with other sources I have found.
I didnt see too many ideas that needed further exploration in my research, but I
think it helped me realized that when I get my surveys back Ill need to start
looking into the differences between academic and media-based feminism. This
was published in 2003, so while its not the most recent article Im using its still
fairly relevant to current research.
Nusser, Tanja. Are Feminism and Gender Studies Really Growing Old?:
Reassessments of a Discourse. Women in German Yearbook. 30 (2014):
138-148. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
Tanja Nusser finds the current state of feminism to be filled with a lot of tension
and uncertainty, especially in the way its taught. She postulates that this tension
tends to arise from the comparison of past and future manifestations of the
movement: while one may inform the other, asserting one as good or bad
does not lead to further progress. Nusser calls for readers to try to think of
feminism more complexly rather than as a single story of change. She also calls
out one of the biggest tension causers in this generations movement, which is
the teachers of academic feminism. They are white, liberal, wealthy women
whos experiences were and are not diverse enough to inform students of the
complexities of intersectionality today (142). Her suggestion, then, is to think of
feminism as something personal and understand the agency one has as a
woman in our changing world.
This essay is particularly good for my discussion of feminist pedagogy as a
catalyst, as it reports a problem, finds good aspects in it, and offers helpful
suggestions. It aligns well with other research that is good-spirited about the
course of the feminist movement and the positivity is an especially beneficial tool
to convey the message. This is another extremely recent article and so it
remains an applicable work to my research.
Parsons, Sarah. Radical Possibilities: Feminism, Pedagogy, and Visual Culture.
Resources for Feminist. 3.4 (2002): 155-166. Print.
In Sarah Parsons article about feminism in the college classroom, she
articulates the ways in which feminism can be learned not only through theory,
but through practical applications of history and visual arts. Parsons recounts
her time as a TA and a young professor at a university and how strange she felt
its was that the canon of art history was simply highly regarded men; students
were bored by this, she noticed, and so she sought to do what she could to
change the curriculum. She claims that despite the fact that there is no pure
form of feminist art history, there should still be ways to study women in art. Her
approach, she notes, made her students uncomfortable at times, because her
methods were radically different from what has been prescribed in art history:
she says art students were challenged by the new critiques to art they were

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familiar with, and womens studies students found it difficult to apply their
knowledge to art and art discussions (160). She concludes by emphasizing that
feminism should be taught through various methods and throughout various
types of classrooms. Discussions can arise from any sort of material and
students should be informed enough to talk about it.
This article is and extremely valuable find for my research as it shows new
possibilities for the way feminism can be taught to university students. A lot of
other research Ive done shows that, yes, academic feminism is disappointing
the movement, but few offer suggestions for change. Parsons unique
perspective on feminist art history is one approach I can take to offer
suggestions for ways to improve this kind of learning. While this is another find
that is slightly older than I would like, its still within a decent range to stay
relevant to my project.
Stevenson, Deborah, Christine Everingham, and Penelope Robinson. Choices and Life
Chances: Feminism and the Politics of Generational Change. Social Politics.
18.1 (2011): 125-145. Project Muse. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
This article analyzes the generational differences between women who
participated in second-wave feminism and women who are a part of the current
feminist movement. The overarching theme throughout is that women today are
less involved and dont value the progress of feminism as much as those in the
past. The authors say that this is caused by a few things, one of which is
generationalism, or culture wars (128) which focus on the political ideals of
new generations and wind up causing a lot of tension. Another reason the
authors saw for this lack of participation in feminism is that, apparently, women
today dont feel that their gender is holding them back, and that the feminism
they participate in has moved to different focuses when compared to previous
generations. The article concludes by restating the idea that there is a wedge
between the generations that causes a new definition of the word, as defined by
the media, to be unappealing to younger women who then do not want
association with the previous generations movement.
This article will help a lot with my evaluation of what feminism means to young
people in my research paper. It focuses on the generational gap and in my
survey findings so far Ive come to understand that the gap in thinking is quite
significant, and the details from these authors is extremely helpful. The one
major problem with it is that it was published in Australia, however the authors
reference the same problems in the United States and state that the cultures are
extremely similar. The source came from a peer reviewed journal by authors with
PhDs working with universities, so its credibility is valid. As far as similarities to
other sources, a lot of the findings are the same as what Ive been starting to
see in the beginning stages of my research. It is also a very recent publication,

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so Im not worried at all about any of the information being outdated or too old
for me to use in my own research.
Thiel-Stern, Shayla. Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. Journalism and
Mass Communication Quarterly. 88.1 (2011): 209-210. Print.
The book review on Girl Zines provides insight onto one of the biggest feminist
catalysts of the 90s feminist movement: handmade Zines (small, informational
magazines) that were distributed amongst people anywhere and everywhere
they could. It focuses on the main ideas of the book by Alison Piepmeier, which
are that women in this time period were working within a male-dominated
culture (209) but were still being undermined when it came to their creativity, so
they got together and created this tool to grab hold of some of their own power.
This then moved on into the next generation where, according to Piepmeier,
women are using media platforms on the internet to distribute their knowledge.
Thiel-Sterns book review is helpful for my project in that it gives a brief but
information filled summary of zines, which were crucial in the spread of feminism
in the 90s. The use of zines then moved onto social media and the internet,
which is what I am finding in other research as well. By understanding the effect
of zines for the past generation I can then begin to evaluate the pros and cons of
what current feminist catalysts look like for millennials.
Wiegman, Robyn. Academic Feminism Against Itself. NWSA Journal. 14.2
(2002): 18-37. Print.
Wiegmans Academic Feminism Against Itself is a lengthy read about the faults
of feminism moving from a social movement to a department in the university.
She finds that this generation of feminists are not getting involved through
political discourse, rather they are learning about it in the classroom. The
consequences of this are many for Weigman, but she does bring up some key
points: there are fears that arise when feminists look at academic feminism
today, such as it might undermine womens political importance, or that it has
become far too institutionalized. In her thesis statement, however, she suggests
that the fears arent the most important part, and she instead will be examining
the specific events that are causing these fears. She breaks down the
arguments and concludes the essay by saying how important it is to keep
supporting academic feminism whether we like it or not, because it is inevitably
one very important path for the movements future.
The evaluations of academic feminism in this piece are extremely valuable to my
project as I am finding that hearing about feminism for the first time, for
millennials, is happening in the college classroom. The argument also suggests
that this class room approach isnt as good as what people have been learning
in previous generations of the movement, which Im starting to see is also

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aligning with other findings. One slight problem is that is was published in 2002,
which is slightly out of date for my research, but I am confident the theories and
ideas still greatly apply to my findings.