VFA SPECIAL REPORT
A YOUNG FEMINIST'S EUREKA! MOMENT
FAST-FORWARD WITH YOUNG FEMINISTS AT THE NATIONAL NOW 41st ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Report from Jessica Osias
DETROIT CONFERENCE NOW NATIONAL
This year at the national NOW conference held in Detroit, Michigan, they had a special program called Young Feminist Leadership Institute. I was lucky enough to attend this amazing
I have never experienced a gathering of such unique individuals as those who were there for the support of a cause that matters to all of us. I am only 21 years old, and some of my friends and coworkers and students at Stony Brook University don't understand why the push for feminism still exists. They believe women no longer need to be fighting for equality and continue to follow the stereotypes of what a feminist really is.
I just started a new job where almost all my coworkers are young men my age. After a few weeks I told them I am a women's studies major and a feminist and they couldn't believe it; they thought I did not fall into the category of what they believed a feminist to be. I heard many stories like this from other young men and women in the YFLI workshops. It was great to spend a weekend with others who were going through the same hardships I face from the societal view on feminism.
The workshops were amazing. All of them contained so much information and knowledge it was hard to choose which slot I wanted to attend. Probably one of the most interesting sessions I attended was one led by the Young Feminist Task Force of NOW. They were just amazing. Instead of sitting in a conference room again we went to the nearby mall and had lunch out on the lawn.
The workshop did not follow a standard format; we all sat around sharing stories and talking about how we felt on certain topics. I think it may have been a unique experience for me as well as other young women who do not work in a feminist atmosphere every day like the women at NOW do.
The entire conference was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and hopefully next summer's will be the same. I made some great friends--younger and older women, and men. I got to hear some amazing stories from the women at the VFA booth, and I can't wait till I am older and can share my experiences and stories with younger girls just entering the movement. I want to give them support and strength and show them that I also have gone through everything they are going through with our societal block on feminism.
Whenever I look back at this his conference I will think of the many great women and men out there and know that I am not alone. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone I met as well as seeing all the new faces at next year's conference in Washington DC. Until then, I will keep learning in school about past feminists and hopefully create history with other young feminist every chance I get.