I’m currently somewhere 35,000 feet in the air, roughly over Kansas, making my way back home from the International Workshop on Misogyny and the Internet, aka #iwomi. When working to address violence against feminists, the very act of meeting can be both radical and dangerous. While an event in an elite setting in the U.S. is probably less at risk than meetings of feminists elsewhere, there’s a lot to be said for creating safe and brave spaces. To that end, we met under Chatham House rule, in which “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” Concerned about issues of intellectual appropriation, we also operated under a consent request policy that required that we ask first before communicating outward about ideas articulated by another participant. We also put down our devices for much of the meeting in order to fully engage with one another.
Consequently, there is little real time information that came out of the meeting and I will be intentionally vague in my reporting out here where it concerns other people – mostly I’ll speak just about what I did while there as a way to render myself accountable and to respect the Chatham rule.
I’m not comfortable with the repetition of ‘I’ in this following list, so I’ll say it just once here.
- learned that the gulf between what diversity looks like in academic meetings and in intersectional feminist spaces is enormous
- came to understand that the challenges our various initiatives face are not the same (not everyone needs more money/time in the way that many academics feel we do)
- saw that there is an AMAZING amount of work already being done to address violence against women/girls/people online
- saw that the work of not making discussions U.S.-centric is hard but necessary
- collaborated on a manifesto regarding “intersectional data”
- heard that if we could just train 100 women across the world to train other women about digital security and identity we would have a huge impact
- heard that women can (should?) do more to engage with industry, politics, governance on these topics
- dispaired that we have to keep explaining to others that digital life *is* real life
- learned about affordances and barriers to coalition work
- witnessed and appreciated some very intentional feminist engagements by men, which I see very little of in academic settings
- witnessed, appreciated, and participated in a lot of very intentional feminist engagements involving women and non-binary and gender queer folks
- engaged and worked hard on active listening and was not perfect
- experienced optimism, pessimism, curiosity, sorrow, humility, laughter, and joy
- was comfortably uncomfortable at times
- learned that an effective moderator is an invaluable asset
- learned that a stack or progressive stack is a really great meeting tool
As our collective work becomes public, I’ll share more of it here and across social media.