Are You a Flyover Feminist?

Having spent my youth in South Dakota, and my professional life in Illinois and Indiana, I certainly qualify.

My students, when they want to identify as feminist and “do something!” often bemoan the fact that they live and study and work in central Illinois.

But when Courtney Martin visited our campus a few years ago, and pointed out that some of the most exciting feminist activism and organizing is taking place online, they started to realize that you can live in the rural Midwest AND be a plugged-in, active feminist.

And this summer, a new blog was born.  For them, for me, for the rest of us:  Flyover Feminism.

As the editors describe it:

This site’s goal is to create a community of feminist/womanist activists around the US and the world whose voices and viewpoints are typically left out of conversations and representations of mainstream feminism, who struggle to access resources and get their messages heard because they live outside of major media centers. Often due to geographical location (among other factors), their experiences and ideas aren’t part of the dialogue that defines the movement(s), their feminist and/or activist projects are ignored, and their efforts take place in the shadows.

Flyover Feminism will operate directly in response to this phenomenon. FF will be a space where feminist/womanists/activists who are hindered by place can reach out virtually in order to tell their stories, draw attention to their work, and share their triumphs and defeats.

FF is about bringing together people, resources, strategies, and ideas that too often are passed over because they originate in unexpected and unsung locations.

I admit that I really abhor the “flyover” term … even though it accurately reflects the disdain that east and west coast types have for the 90% of this country in between.  And presumes one has the means to fly.  And it disdains the joys and challenges, beauty and tragedy, all things inherent in actually driving across this country.  (I took this picture about cattle brands at a rest stop in Montana just this past summer.  I mean … come on!!)

But I love claiming the internetz as space for us.

For all of us.

 

Editorial tech note:   if you like this blog, please subscribe in the box at right; and if you’ve already subscribed, please re-subscribe due a kink we just worked out with my RSS feed.  Thanks!

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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