Two more things about the “Rebranding Feminism Contest”

Last night I broke my one writing rule: letting things simmer for at least a few hours before I write about them (which is a rule I only use to avoid reactionary first impulse posts that prevent me from attempting something more than superficial analysis; I am not necessarily good at reacting quickly, I tend to think long term and try to draw patterns, etc; but I digress). So, I made the post about the “Rebranding Feminism Contest” in haste. After the fact, when the post had been widely shared already, I realized two things that I find disquieting and I’d like to point them out because they are important to me:

1) I couldn’t find, anywhere on their site, the rules of the contest in anything but JPG format. The “photo” I shared yesterday is the only file or website post I’ve found that contains an explanation of the rules and purpose of the contest. This format leaves out a great number of people who use accessibility tools to read websites and navigate the internet. This is purposefully exclusionary and leaves out a great deal of people who won’t be able to read and/or access this contest. So, I have to ask, rebranding what kind of feminism? One that purposefully excludes a number of people? What kind of “feminism” would this be? Is this a feminism that will reward the able bodied that can read the JPG format rules with $2000?

2) This contest is associated with Femfuture. One of the juries is part of Femfuture and that fact is highlighted and specifically mentioned. So, of course, I also have to ask, why is Femfuture so interested in rebranding feminism? Why is this happening now when there have been sustained and ongoing critiques of Femfuture and their approach which has been considered exclusionary by many women, particularly Women of Color? I have written about the mostly white US centric nature of Femfuture’s version of “history” and how it left out a great number of bloggers and events of the past 10+ years. I particularly take issue with Femfuture’s equation of “online feminism” with “mostly US based white bloggers”. My issue is certainly not the only one and many other bloggers and writers have extensively touched upon them. However, in the context of this particular contest to “rebrand” feminism, I have to ask, why? Is this rebranding an attempt to yet again re-write history? Is this an attempt to position the Femfuture brand of feminism as dominant? What exactly are we looking for in this exercise? And more importantly, who will it benefit?

I, of course, have some tentative answers but they are probably self evident. Hegemony, by any other name, is still hegemony.

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