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Women's Space and Gender Challenges

I have made my lists, found my riders, started packing my bags, my bedding, my plastic totes. Yesterday, in 99 degrees, I set up my tent and sealed the seams. My sewing machine has been humming, making new caftans, good for any weather condition. I've arranged for time off from my two full-time jobs and hired a kitty-sitter. Today I'm having work done on the van to ensure a safe trip. This is the culmination of a year-long anticipation and several months of preparation. In five days I set out for Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.

It is somewhat ironic that the event and the concurring movement that gave rise to the gender movement are now being challenged by this spirited offspring.

The festival, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, has always been a bastion of women's space. Their Women-Born-Women policy has endured, but has been put under the microscope in recent years. It is somewhat ironic that the event and the concurring movement that gave rise to the gender movement are now being challenged by this spirited offspring. Having looked at gender so closely, we are now faced with the question: What is the definition of woman? Is a woman a person with 2 X chromosomes? Is she a person with female genitalia? Someone who has been raised/acculturated as a girl? Is she someone who chooses the label? And who gets the final say?

There is a movement to change the women-born-women policy at the festival. Some want it changed to "women-identified-women." Some work to bring an end to what they see as an archaic institution. There are many battles being fought, some from without, some from within. Many of the workers and artists who perform at festival are in support of changing the policy. It is, far and away, the biggest hotbed issue on the land these days and it's exciting to be working amid the winds of change.

Knowing the Lammas issue would precede MWMF by a few days, I decided to address Women's Space and Gender Challenges in this quarter's Feminist Wave Dynamics. We have an interesting mix. Feral has taken a look at Austen through Woolf's lens, Kelli has explored third-wave gender issues grounded in her second-wave roots, and I've given a personal account of the importance of being in the presence of women, only. I hope you find something here that resonates and something that challenges. And I wish you a lovely first harvesting of whatever you're growing.

Samhain Feminism and Spirituality
Imbolc The Feminist Activist

Forthcoming Seasons
And now the process begins anew. The themes for the rest of the year are in the table at the right. Which appeals to you? Represent your generation, or write an article about or from the viewpoint of a first-wave feminist. Let's chat about the possibilities: bebhinn73 [at] hotmail [dot] com.

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