Briarpatch Magazine (Jan/Feb 2010)
Turning through the pages of Briarpatch Magazine, I was offered a glimpse into Canada's progressive social movements. Reading the Responsibility to Protest issue, which is also available online, gave me a crash course in several progressive ideologies I wasn't familiar with, and I was able to explore some familiar issues that are close to my heart as well.
Briarpatch covers a lot of ground. The headline story, "Mass Protests & The Future of Convergence Activism" by Jane Kirby, gave me a crash course in what's happening on the streets of social activism while "From Invisibility to Stability: Transgender Organizing for the Masses" by Mandy Van Deven introduced me to the interplay between transgender issues and poverty. I work for a nonprofit that addresses the global water crisis, so "Water Fight: First Nations' Water Rights in the Thompson Okanagan" by Hannah Askew provided me with fresh insight into Canada's own water struggles.
Especially illuminating were the pages devoted to suggestions of how better to spend the $6.1 billion price tag of the recent Vancouver Olympic Games. "Boosters' Millions" by Dawn Paley and Isaac Oommen, offered solutions in education, transportation, and housing that could take British Columbia well beyond the entertainment value of the two-week games if the Canadian government would spend the public money on more sustainable initiatives. "Selling the Olympics in the Schools: Government & Anti-Olympics Groups Take Their Messages to the Classroom" by Jenn Hardy offered timely and relevant insight into another side of the Olympic Games. Needless to say, I got a lot out of this issue.
My favorite article, though, was about my favorite social issue: feminism. I could readily relate to "When We Were Feminists" because, as someone just entering her thirties, I often observe my own feminist ideas fading, changing, and even burning brighter as I move through different phases of my life. Author Penelope Hutchison looks back at her progression from a founding member of the Radical Obnoxious Fucking Feminists (ROFF) in her undergraduate days to a forty-something professional who recently reunited with ROFF's other members. Hutchison reveals that the once radical change-makers have mostly tucked their feminist ideologies away to pursue careers, relationships, and families.
The article made me question my belief that if I support the feminist issues I care about, and if I work hard to allow my feminism to be exemplified in my actions, then I will always be a feminist no matter what work I'm doing or what lifestyle I'm leading. It's difficult for me, at thirty-one years old, to imagine dampening my desire to improve the lives of women because I've recently gotten married or plan to have kids within the next couple of years. In ten years, I don't want to look back and wonder where my former feminist self has gone. I hope my role as a feminist activist can co-exist with my roles as nonprofit professional, wife, M.B.A., and mother.
_Briarpatch Magazine__ _did exactly what I was hoping it would. It gave me fresh perspective on issues I'm already familiar with, and it introduced me to new lines of thought and new ways to apply my social activism.