Tag Archives: TwitterYouthFeministArmy

WTF is TYFA?

10 Dec
Hi! Lilipop here!
 
The Twitter Youth Feminist Army is a network of young people who met thought Twitter and support each other in their journey to feminism. The TYFA has many members (and will hopefully have many more in future) who have interests in all areas of feminism, different political and religious views, currently ranges in age from 14-27 and has members all over Great Britain!
 
To me it is a life line to like minded people, who share my views and values. It is an intersectional feminist group who are inclusive to all, regardless of age, religion or ethnicity. It is a place to learn and to teach, to share and to experience. Most importantly, the TYFA shows people that feminism is far from dead and show a different type of feminist that is so often stereotyped. I think I may currently be the second youngest member of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army and I have found each and every person I have met through the group a supportive and I know I will be an active and supportive member for many years to come!
 
We has all been feminist for different lengths of time: years, months or decades but will always need help and support from our fellow feminists. Emily feels she has always been a feminist but only just started identifying as a feminist. “I’ve not called myself a feminist all my life (though I’d like to claim it was my first ever word). I’ve identified as a feminist for around a year I’d say”.  Millie, however,  has always identified as a feminist. “I’ve been brought up with feminism my entire life, with my mum and dad both identifying as feminists.”
 
There has been talk of feminism being dead or dying recently, however we aim to prove them wrong with a new generation of feminists! We all became (or started identifying as) feminists for different reasons, showing there is still a great need for feminism and our struggle is not over. Some of us have drifted or stumbled into feminism, such as Jemma , who says that “I sort of stumbled, very fortunately and quite by accident, upon this group of angry, passionate, brilliant people”. For some of us it was triggered suddenly as for Laura who says that when her mother “was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I became very angry with everything, but particularly with the injustices of the world”. For some, they have always been a feminist but something has made them particularly passionate like Millie “My mum showed me a website called Uni Lad…I was absolutely horrified at how sexist and vicious this site was towards women” or for Jess D it has been a constant undertone of sexism “I have constantly been subject to vast amounts of street harassment and other forms of casual sexism”.
 
Although there are young feminists, it is very hard to find them sometimes. Me and Jess C know each other in person – in fact it was Jess C who made me aware of feminism –  but apart from that, I know no other young feminists in real life and not from the Internet. Most members of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army are in a similar situation. Some of us have one or two feminist friends in real life but I don’t think any of us have a strong network of other young feminist not on the Internet. Cat has had a down right negative response to her feminism from her peers, saying that “Most of my friends are disinterested in feminism, however some are decidedly disinterested and intimidated by feminism. My friends I attend college with, for example, usually meet my comments on feminism with ‘Don’t burst my BUBBLE!’ and ‘I don’t care.’ along with a chorus of dismay from the rest of the class.”. Tilly is in much the same position as me”I had never really met anyone who was an open, active, passionate feminist. I still don’t know all that many in person.”. Luckily, some of our members, in particular the older members, do have lots of feminist friends and the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is just a one more way of meeting other feminists “Most of the people I’m close to are also feminists,” says Jess D.
 
This is why the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is so important for our members. It helps you connect to people who support you and your ideas, to meet people who are interested in things you are interested it, to discuss and learn and develop interests in feminist issues such as unequal pay and cuts to women’s services. Tilly said “It makes being a feminist a lot easier and a lot more fun…especially as a young person. That is why I find the Twitter Youth Feminist Army so inspiring…It fills me with hope for the future”. Laura said that “The Twitter Youth Feminist Army made me feel like I was not completely mad”. Millie says that “Being able to have the discussions and make the points that I’ve been aching to make for so long has boosted my confidence in not only my own voice, but the voice of our generation and generations of feminist women and men to come”. Jemma said “Being able to connect with someone who was at the same point in their life as me and had had similar experiences… really encouraged me to go out and talk to people and get involved” and finally Jess D who said “Meeting other young feminists, through TYFA as well as various other channels, has helped massively in my journey, because it has clarified my position that feminism is alive and well and still important and relevant to women of all ages”.
 
I would like to end with a quote from an older feminist who is not in the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. “It’s kind of like reading about a tube of smarties exploding via Twitter”.
 

This post about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army has had lots of input from 11 member who have all worked very hard in putting this together and they are: Jelly (Jess C), Cat, Tilly, Emily, Jemma, Jess D, Laura, Alice and Millie.

 
This blog was writen for a bloghop hosted by The Real SGM for the 16 days of activism on violence against women and girls (http://therealsgm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/16-days-of-action-on-violence-against.html)
For more information about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army then there are contact details on the Contact Us page, including our hashtag (#TwitterYouthFeministArmy). Some members of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army have their own blogs and you can find them of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army page of this blog.

Jelly’s Feminism

25 Nov

Jelly speaking:

I consider myself a feminist. yet I’m not a ‘traditional’ feminist. By this, I mean that I’m not a patriarchy bashing bra-burning (although of course this never actually happened and was bigged up by the sexist press) hairy lady.

Lilipop is a lot more passionate about the cause than I am, and I admire her for this and I think she is brave for really showing what she’s about, although personally I think that I am way too lazy for this whole-hearted attack. My interpretation of feminism is more toned down – I try to be funny and somehow meld it into the part of myself that wants to wear make-up and be skinny and be cool. This seems like an impossible task, as indeed it is, but it works because the other part of me cares about human rights and the LGBT movement and having hairy armpits and reading Freud in my spare time.

I’ve been a feminist for a while now, although it’s only recently that I have bceome more clued up on it, more so than just a vague ‘sexism is shit’ feeling. Twitter in general has really helped with this. The Twitter Feminist Youth Army has given me support in finding out what it means and what feminism stands for. More than a few of my hopeful tweets asking for helpful girl-power links have been answered with truly interesting stuff. Whoo! The internet is truly a blessing!

As much as I love Lilipop (Lilipop: Love you too Jelly!), we are different on this point. Despite the fact that we both go to girl’s schools, she is a lot more open about her beliefs. If I tried that in my school (as indeed I have) I would get a lot of weird looks and general ‘WTF is she doing?’ feelings, and although I know that I shouldn’t care about this, I do, and it is one of the points that I need to buck up on (Lilipop: Also, my school is a lot bigger so no one really knows who I am and therefore doesn’t care it my legs are smooth, hairy or purple. Jelly’s school is a lot smaller so she would probably get more shit than I do) . If someone says something sexist, I will shout it out though. My stance on this has created a few moments of awkwardness with some of my closest friends, and although I don’t like this for the gap it creates between us, it does let me see where we really stand. For example, I was listening to Santa Baby with a few friends as part of the whole ‘IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS MEDLEYS’ mentality I like to cultivate and I remarked, casually I thought, upon the sexism of the song. I mean, come on, it’s talking about how she will exchange sex for a convertible. I softened the blow with a remark about how Santa was never meant to be thought of that way. My friend turned round, eyes blazing, and said ‘Just shut up with your feminism already! It’s really boring! Just relax!’

My view about this sort of thing is that sexism starts in little things like that, and that sexism can only be truly got rid of if we spot it in anything at all!

I was first introduced to feminism by my sister. When smaller, I asked why she had hairy armpits. She replied it was because she was a feminist and didn’t beleive hair was weird. As a hairy and unsure preteen, I was hooked. She showed me Rookie, and I learnt that feminism was for everyone and above all it was fun! She gave me long talks about how I could be, and I should be, whatever the heck I wanted to be. She offered me her expansive collection of intellectual and dusty books with names like Breast Stories and Socialism and Capitalism for the Intelligent Lady. I absorbed and read and listened to Le Tigre and to Lilipop and woke up one day and realised that sexism is absolute bullshit.

It wasn’t quite like that really. In fact, a lot more of my enlightenment was due to the devoted efforts of Lilipop upon my ignorant ears, which I’m sure she’d be delighted to tell you all about.

So. Yeah. That is my shit done. Feminism gets me angry and happy and wanting to do something, and I feel it’s got to be for real if it can do that to an unsure lazy teen who can hardly be bothered to make toast. I’m sticking to my guns here on this one.

Tell me about your feminist enlightenment stories! Tell me about cool stuff you’ve read recently about feminism! Tell me about lady news! Don’t tell me anything at all! It’s your choice, and when you get down to it, it’s your rights.
(Lilipop:If you do choose to tell us cool stuff, you can leave a comment or there is an email address to contact us with on the Contact Us page)

Jelly out.

Twitter is where all the cool feminists are!

12 Nov


Lilipop speaking!

The Twitter Youth Feminist Army is a network of young people who met thought twitter and support each other in their journey to feminism. The TYFA has many members who have interests in most areas of feminism, different political and religious views, currently ranges in age from 14-27 and has members all over Great Britain!

Those are the facts. Luckily life is more than facts and many people are very passionate about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. To me it is a life line to like minded people, who share my views and values. It is an intersectional feminist group who are inclusive to all and help encourage good values. It is a place to learn and to teach, to share and to experience. The TYFA has made me question some of my very basic beliefs and constants. Most importantly, the TYFA shows people that feminism is far from dead and show a different type of feminist that is so often stereotyped. I think I may currently be the second youngest member of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army and I have found each and every person I have met through the group a supportive and I know I will be an active and supportive member for many years to come!

Some other members of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army have given me some of their views on the TYFA. Here is what Tilly (@tillyjean_) from Sussex has to say:

“The Twitter Youth Feminist Army makes me gutted to be growing older! Having only discovered and become active with feminism aged 19, I’m seriously impressed at girls in their early teens understanding it, seeking it out, being vocal, getting involved, and most importantly making a difference. The patriarchy is, in my opinion and experience, probably most damaging to girls as they grow up, girls your age, and it makes me so pleased to see you resisting. Had I known at your age what you know, my life would have been so different. The Twitter Youth Feminist Army is admirable, and I hope they never stop fighting!”

Another view on the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is from Cat (@lumosbluebell) in Aberdeenshire:

“… Being 15 myself, I replied to the Tweet (about patriarchy demeaning young women) saying how much I could relate to it, and was immediately inundated with replies from girls my age and successful women in much the same situation of reliability.

The girls who were my own age were shockingly intelligent, aware and extremely passionate about feminism – just as I was. This was something I had literally never experienced before – I had done a class talk on feminism at the beginning of the year and was met mostly with blank faces and extreme confusion. Within a few days, there was a small network of us – young feminists who were able to bond over their strong dislike of sexism and blatant disregard for anyone who said otherwise.

To begin with, there were only a few of us, but we slowly grew in size, and we continue to do so now. Every day there is something that makes us all feel a shared sense of loathing towards misogyny/the patriarchy/sexism, but as long as we can rant at each other about it it’s all good! Just today, for example, a guy in my class said women couldn’t possibly be as successful as men because – and I quote – “They gossip too much”. Needless to say, I shouted at him about gender stereotypes and misogyny before returning to my Twitter newsfeed with a contented sigh, unable to repress myself from grinning as I saw my fellow Armettes(??) being angry about much the same things as me.

The thing is, something that began for just us has re-empowered, as it were, other, older feminists whose ideas and passion on the subject had been dulled by many women vehemently rejecting the feminist culture with a sneer and not even attempting to try and understand it. To them, we are the rebranding feminism needs, the breath of fresh air they have been yearning for for years.

We have shown them that feminism is far from dead – rather, alive and thriving.

*bows and exits stage left*”

Of course the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is also part of the wider feminist community from which we first learnt our patriarchy smashing skills!

The next part is from TYFA’s close friend Stilli (@stillicides):

“Ah, the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. For such a young group – I was there a month or so ago when the term was coined! – they certainly seem to have bonded and become effective really quickly! It’s *brilliant* seeing young women being so politically engaged and so willing to challenge and to learn. They’ve done so much more than I did (or could) as a teen. I’ve been told stories about these teens challenging grown men who are harrassing women – that’s almost incomprehensible to me. So it’s patronising, but I’m so, so proud of these ladies.

I feel like I’ve helped them learn things, but I also know that I’ve learnt from them. It is *fantastic* having a younger voice in our community, and (to be cliched for a moment) them being able to tell us what young people actually care about is immensely valuable.

Welcoming them into our twitter community of feminists has been an absolute joy. Never thought I’d consider a bunch of 15 year olds my friends – but here I am, with a group of young, engaged, brave women, how could I *not* be their friend? If this is the future of feminism, bring it on.”

The Twitter Youth Feminist Army is open to everyone and anyone with a twitter account. For more details or just for a chat about feminism or the Twitter Youth Feminist Army there are contact details for the TYFA on the Contact Us page. I know that it would be wonderful to speak to you!

Feminist Love,
Lilipop