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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grrl Action - Austin, Texas

L to R Edith, Kate Roark of UHD, Aphra, Josephine

First off, I have to give a shout out to Kate Roark, theater history professor at UHD. I loved meeting you. You are smart, funny, intelligent, athletic (rides her bike to work everyday), and great with your students (even sleep deprived). There's always room on a GGOT road trip for you!

Now, (make your reading in your head voice light and mystical):

The Apocalypse of Feminism (dun dun dunnnnnn):

"You're making a spectacle of Feminism" - angry female,

"I'm playing devil's advocate, I'm from a Christian family (Happy Easter), and with all these liberals coming out, have you seen a trend in discrimination against conservative white men?" - calm female

"I'm a size 0 and I have a rear end!!!!!!!!" - happy with her body female

"If you are a feminist and you define it by equality, doesn't that mean you are looking to discriminate against men?" - sincere male

Just bill yourselves as comedy!!!!! - laughing male

The ERA never passed??????? - female

(return to your natural reading in your head voice, unless you have an Edith voice you use when you read my diary entries, you can use that voice now!)

At least once during every Q & A "The Apocalypse of Feminism" would ring through my head and root me to the spot, and start a little sweat dripping down my back if it wasn't all ready there from doing the traditional feminist dance (see the show or stay ignorant). These statements (Apocalypse) mean two things to me. Feminism has accomplished so much we don't need it anymore or we've done what we could and this is it.

Read them again, I'll go pee. Too much information? I apologize. Now set them aside a moment, I have to finish the tour and there'll be a big Texas round up at the end.

It was a weary Edith (and Aphra and Josephine) that pulled into Austin, Texas for the last stop on the tour. And what a beautiful sight for sore eyes. Not the four horseman re-imagined as a female Tony winning playwright of 2011, a female Tony winning director of 2011, a female Oscar winning director of 2011, and a female Oscar winning screenwriter of 2011; not the four horseman re-imagined as a female President and female First lady, a female Vice-President and a female Vice-President's wife - on horses cause it's Texas; not the four horsemen re-imagined as a female professional, a female primary caregiver, a female librarian and a female cowgirl who all walk into a bar and respect each other - ouch -no no no.....It was the Kimber Modern Hotel who donated our rooms for the night. Yowsa. They were swell. And complimentary happy hour drinks and snacks!

After a short break we went off to a poster making workshop with Grrl Action at the Rude Mechs. (Rude Mechanicals of Austin Texas Theater Company). We did get lost, but that's not because Edith the navigator has no tolerance to alcohol and had half a beer, or because Edith sober or tipsy has no sense of direction, but because google maps was wrong. HA! So we were a little late. I apologize.

Grrl Action is a program run by the Rude Mechs and a more incredible group of young women I have never met. WHY?

They were articulate.

They were willing to participate.

They were generous with their ideas and their creativity with each other and with us.

Their concerns: deforestation, feeling wanted, Israel, teenage dating, Lesbian and Gayism, violence against women, body image, not as strong as boys, and about 30 more topics. In about 4 minutes.

They thought over everyone's ideas before voting.

They asked whose idea a topic was if they didn't understand it and asked if she could explain.

They explained their ideas and took all questions seriously.

They stopped for snacks.

They had focus.

They rescued grasshoppers from inside and brought them outside.

They stood up and shared their work process.

They listened to each other.

They gave positive feedback to each other without any hesitation.

They were supportive of their community.

They were able to express their strengths and insecurities as individuals and as women.

We the aging women of America are in good hands. I did not want to leave.

The next day we had lunch with Women and Their Work. ( A visual and performing arts organization that serves as a catalyst for contemporary art created by women living and working in Texas for over 30 years). We got into a fabulous discussion about feminism. The word. Not the concept, principles, or movement. The actual word itself. One of the women at the table (there were 6 of us) won't use it. So here we are. The Apocalypse of Feminism. (Now I've got Ted Baxter's voice - Mary Tyler Moore Show - in my head and he's trying to sound really ominous. Rhoda would be more appropriate). Has it arrived? or do we just need a new word? Do we need to fix the old word? Are we done? Have we done all we are ever going to do? We have come a long way. One of the women at the table went to law school back in the day and remembered being told she was taking away the place of a man. That wouldn't happen today. Not out loud anyway.

Are we equals now? Are the discrepancies experienced today not the result of discrimination but the natural differences between men and women. Is that what we are struggling through now? Will we ever be able to define equal when men and women are so different? This is not new. But it's what I'm thinking right now.

xoEdith Evans, feminist.

April 8, 2011

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