Laurence hosted the May meeting and asked her fellow Damsels to learn more about Emma Watson and to come prepared to talk about feminism. She shared the following videos and articles:
Laurence was really interested in learning more about feminism after watching Emma’s UN speech and hearing about a movement she supports called HeForShe. To kick off the meeting, the group watched this video showing women from the ages of 5 – 50 explaining what the word feminism means to them:
She also shared a chart showing how the use of the word feminism has changed over the years.
Next, the Damsels took turns answering some great questions about feminism. Here are a few of the questions and answers that prompted an incredible discussion:
- Emma Watson calls herself a feminist. Why? She believes in it and works hard for equality. She believes in equal rights for men and women. Hermonie is a strong female role. She works hard to promote equality with HeForShe. Like she said “If not me, who? If not now, when?”.
- Why has the word feminism been used so frequently? People want to be feminists. Unfortunately, some see it as a trend and don’t know what it means.
- Is Damsels in Progress a feminist group? Yes, yes, yes. We focus on powerful women who do powerful things for powerful reasons. Not all actions that we take are feminist focused.
- Would you call yourself a feminist? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I think we’re each feminists. I humbly consider myself a feminist. I think we’re all feminists because we’re doing things and we’re not giving up.
- What does feminism mean? Equality of the sexes. People who think both sexes should be equal. Men are stereotyped too and can’t talk about some things because they feel like they have to be manly. I think feminism means equality of genders so everyone feels equal as people and human beings. One group should not be more powerful. It used to not be equal, but many women were first (shouting out names): Katherine Switzer, Billie Jean King, Carol Burnett, Patti Smith, Maya Lin, Temple Grandin, Misty Copeland.
During this discussion, one of the Damsels asked “Are we a group of feminists or a feminist group?”. They agreed that each of them considers themselves feminist, but that doesn’t necessarily make their group feminist. They looked at their past actions and talked about how they are not all focused on feminist issues, but making a change in the world. Ultimately, they decided that they were both.
Next, they brainstormed actions. Here are some of the ideas shared: raise money for HeForShe by holding a craft fair featuring Harry Potter inspired crafts (with a scavenger hunt and raffle included). Make a short movie about HeForShe. Make a video about what they think feminism means. Ultimately, they decided to make and share a video about what feminism means to them. We can’t wait to see it!
There was a bit of time left at the end of the meeting, so we talked about what Damsels means to each of them and worked on a motto for the group. As it turns out, they said it earlier when talking about the women they are inspired by and they agreed that it applies to themselves too. The Damsels in Progress are powerful girls doing powerful things for powerful reasons. Laurence also shared a great book that she has been working on chronicling all of the women they have learned about and the actions taken.
Finally, they got back to the business of being kids and played some hide and seek while hamming it up for the camera.