Sounds of Feminism

Want to learn more about feminism? Every week we'll be sharing critical feminist conversations and insights on key concepts, ideas, and debates that shape our everyday lives.

blue, purple and pink text with women speaking at podiums and a young girl holding a sign

Words and ideas matter. So does form. WLRC’s “Sounds of Feminism” is intended to educate, engage, and inspire. How? By featuring critical feminist conversations about history, politics, media, culture and beyond. Whether you are new to feminist struggles and debates, or have weathered all the ups and downs and are still waving your flag, you will find “Sounds of Feminism” useful, provocative, and always loudly pushing for justice.

It doesn’t matter how you got to UIC—you might never have had a full discussion about what feminism is (and is not) before this moment. You might have been active in your high school’s GSA. Or participated in the fun and fierce global street performances protesting gender-based violence before COVID-19 sent us all inside. Or didn’t care about any of it. You may have registered for GWS 101 not knowing what you were in for. Or, you are well on your way toward a career: writing and creating art about prison abolition, working in a reproductive justice organization, running your own nonprofit.

Regardless, know that nothing is static, including feminism. Not all feminisms are equal either: depending on who is speaking and what they are talking about, issues of power—not only based on gender, but also race, economic status, language, religion, nationality, etc.—create differences that matter. Which versions of feminism you have learned about, the issues that get identified as feminist, and even who calls themself a feminist—all are based on power relationships.

“Sounds of Feminism” is intended to make those issues of power visible. We offer this as a tool for everyone to learn the importance of history and how to use language to heal and build bridges, how to speak back to power, and how to work in solidarity with communities that might be different from the ones that we identify with. Mostly though, “Sounds of Feminism” is about helping you make your own sounds, as you find a feminism that you can own.

We Should All Be Feminists

“We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men,” says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this iconic speech that began a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we dispose of our preconceived notions of feminism and plan for a different, fairer world.

Watch here

What is Feminism?

“If we acknowledge Black women, Muslim women, indigenous women, working class women… We will rise with them,” says civil rights activist and author Angela Davis. In this beautiful talk which critiques U.S. mainstream feminism, as well as introduces the idea of intersectional feminism, Davis asks that we acknowledge our own privilege and challenge existing societal norms.

Watch here

What is Intersectionality?

This clip explores the history of feminism and critiques the women’s suffrage movement for its failure to include women of color. We must strive for an inclusive, feminist movement and we must understand that means listening to and involving all women, in all their diversities.

Watch here

Importance of Transfeminism

“Any feminism worth a damn recognizes that the concepts of patriarchy and misogyny are not experienced by all women in the same way,” says writer and artist Shon Faye. In this informative video which introduces and defines patriarchy and misogyny and their roles in society, Shon Faye questions mainstream feminism and the core shared goals in a trans-inclusive feminism–including healthcare, employment, and housing.

Watch here

Hood Feminism and COVID-19

“Feminism isn’t just failing low income women of color; it’s failing everyone that’s not an upper middle class white woman at this point,” says Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot. Especially as we embark upon this second wave of the pandemic, Kendall is asking us to reflect upon how COVID-19 has affected the lives of millions of families across the world– and especially the detrimental effect it has had on women of color.

Listen here

A Hidden History of 1990s Feminism

“I set out to research feminism in the 90s,” says Lisa Levenstein, “but the story I found was about women of color, working-class women, and LGBT activists.” In this podcast, Levenstein gives us insight about how understanding the difficult history of the United States and recognizing how the fight for gender equity that has taken place through marches and grassroots activism gives us the tools to organize under an intersectional banner for lasting change.

Listen here

Feminism and Thanksgiving

Veronica Arreola, director of UIC’s L@s GANAS, and Coya Paz, chair of Theatre Studies at Depaul University, join the The Council podcast to discuss the division of labor and gender roles around the holidays, while giving guidance on how to navigate difficult political discussions. As we navigate the holiday season, it is important to recognize these struggles and what we can do to begin to change the gender expectations that are ingrained in society.

Listen here