Thursday, April 15, 2010


When can I check-in?
Friday, April 16th in Main 212 (in the tower in the center of campus)
9:00 - 2:00
5:00 - 6:30

Saturday, April 17th in Main 212
8:30 - 10:30 (keep in mind that checking in on Saturday means you miss a lot of conference)

Do I need to bring my own food?
Yes and No. Dinner will be provided Friday night (at 5 pm in Main 212), lunch will be provided Saturday (at 1:30 in Main 212), and breakfast will be provided Sunday morning (at 9am in Main 212). You may want to bring snacks if you will need them and/or money for other meals. There are also plenty of places to find food, snacks, and drinks close by.

I'm confused. When is everything happening?
Check-in details are above. Below is our schedule overview with a more detailed explanation below that. You will get a program when you arrive and check-in. Upon check-in, you will receive all the information you need to start your conference weekend.

My friend wants to come, but has not registered yet. Can he/she/ze register at the conference? 
Registration is filling up! Online registration ends today, (Thursday, April 15th) at 5 pm. There will be a limited number of registrations available at check-in on Friday morning. We'd love to have everybody attend, but unfortunately we have to notify the caterers of our attendance numbers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

updated, easy to read schedule

9:00 Check in begins
1:00 - 2:30 Opening Plenary and Feminist Power Shuffle
3:45 - 5:15 Session A
5:15 - 6:30 Dinner
7:30 America the Beautiful screening

9:00 - 10:30 Session B
10:45 - 12:15 Session C
12:30 - 1:30 Keynote with Jehmu Greene
1:30 - 2:30 Lunch
2:45 - 4:15 Session D

9:00 - 10:00 Breakfast
10:15 - 11:45 Feminist Action Project panel
12:00 - 1:00 Facilitated Networking Session
1:00 - 2:00 Closing Plenary

Monday, April 5, 2010

Playing Friday Night - America the Beautiful

The Feminist Action Project is partnering with Body Positive Dance to bring the documentary America the Beautiful to campus for an open-to-the-public screening followed by a Q & A with the director himself, Darryl Roberts. Additionally, Roberts and Body Positive Dance founder, Ragen Chastain, are combining forces to participate in a panel discussion at the conference on Saturday, April 17th, focusing on the effects of idealized beauty in the lives of women. This discussion will include particular focus on the experiences of fat women and expose participants to the growing fat activist and health at every size movements.   

America the Beautiful explores idealized and unattainable standards of beauty. Roberts interviews a range of people including models, everyday people, cosmetic industry master minds, plastic surgeons, fashion photographers, and those in the marketing industry. These interviews are used to seek answers to questions like, “Why does America have such startling rates of body dismorphia, eating disorders, and poor body image?” and, “Who benefits from a culture of body shaming?” Roberts’ findings are a compelling introduction to the panel discussion and exploration of female perfection, fat activism, and feminism’s role in creating necessary change.

Fat activism and body positive activism are critical movements that reject and revise the photoshopped and airbrushed images that we see on a daily basis, understanding that these are unrealistic and harmful images to all people, particularly women. These movements seek to raise awareness to the various vehicles of body shaming and offer critical tools for all women, particularly fat women, to live healthy and happily in their bodies, no matter what size or shape they are.

The members of the Feminist Action Project recognize that the harmful effects of idealized feminine beauty effect women disproportionately. These effects include but are not limited to: discrimination, bullying, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and unhealthy lifestyles. Women make up 85 to 95% of those with anorexia nervosa and bulimia as stated by the Love Your Body project. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, breast augmentation and liposuction ranked first and second respectively as most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in 2008. Men composed 8% of the total number of plastic surgery patients. With these numbers in mind and your own experiences, it is glaringly obvious just how pervasive the messages are that we receive and their negative influences in our lives.

We are pleased to bring the Body Positive revolution to the 2010 conference. Raising consciousness to new thoughts and forms of activism is our goal. We believe that unlearning myths and stereotypes about fat people and the internalized fat phobia that many folks hold is an essential step in changing the current image of female beauty. Please join us in our steps to create a world where women are empowered and fully valued.

Who is Ragen Chastain? (Excerpts taken from a personal interview with Ragen)

Ragen is the founder of Body Positive dance, a non-profit designed to foster healthy habits, high self-esteem, and friendships through dance. She has started two successful businesses, is a National Champion Dancer, and recognizes her greatest accomplishment to be learning to love herself and her body, and to be truly happy living completely outside the cultural beauty norm. She self-identifies with the word fat and says:

It's always interesting to me (at 5'4 280lbs) when I say I'm fat and people say "no you're not".  Obviously I am fat and what those people are trying to say is "you're not all of the stereotypes that I have about fat people" - I think it's important to divorce the word fat from the stereotypes.  I absolutely reject "overweight".  Over what weight?  By whose standards?  It goes against my lifestyle of making healthy choices and letting my weight take care of itself.

She has seen success time and time again in her body positive approach to dance. She works with people with eating disorders, people with bigger bodies, beginning exercisers, college students, seniors, and anyone interested in learning to love the body they are in. She believes that the future of fat activism and body positive ideologies is hopeful. As the images of women portrayed in the media become more and more absurd, there seems to be a breaking point:

I do believe that body positive will go mainstream… At this point we have Ralph Lauren promoting an image of women who are photoshopped such that their heads are larger than their pelvises.  I think eventually no woman will be able to measure up and that's where you'll start to see a lot of pushback from a lot of people.

            You can find more information about Body Positive Dance and Ragen Chastain on her personal blog and the official Body Positive Dance website.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

our newest poster - send to all your friends, family, enemies, and frenemies (even the super conservative ones).

Blogspot tells me that if you click on the image, it will take you to a larger version. Take that with a grain of salt.

Friday, April 2, 2010

a sneak peek at our schedule

This is not all we have in store! Register for the conference to participate in an exciting weekend of activism, growth, and sharing.

9:00 a.m. Check in begins (and runs all day)

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Break, allow for registrants to find / check into hotels, lunch

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Opening Plenary and Feminist Power Shuffle 
Come participate in an interactive exercise exploring some common feminist beliefs, theories, and practices. This new take on the traditional power shuffle will encourage participants to examine subtleties in feminism introspectively, interpersonally, and systematically. The discussion after the activity will encourage participants to share common struggles and joys in being a feminist activist.  
3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Session A 

  Did She Say NO? Did She Say YES?
Voices Against Violence (VAV) will present an interactive Theatre for Dialogue performance that will actively engage the audience in examining where the lines are around consensual and non-consensual sex.  How does sex get used for power?  How do we lose and reclaim power around sex?  How do our feminisms inform how we respond in our own lives, and respond to friends?  How do we stay grounded in our beliefs while acknowledging larger power structures?  VAV uses Theatre of the Oppressed to raise awareness and educate about issues of dating violence, sexual violence and stalking. 
5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m. America the Beautiful with director Q&A

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Session B 

Peers for Pride
Peers for Pride:  Acting for Change will showcase a program that uses monologues as a way to change climate for LGBTQ people on campus.  This model is one that could be used by any oppressed population as a way to tell stories, start dialogues, and make change.  Come see Peers for Pride members perform their monologues, talk about the process of writing and performing them, and how the program has affected them and their campus. 

Feminist of Color: Theoretical Perspectives on Sexual Violence
This paper builds a strong theoretical framework for understanding sexual violence based on the perspectives and contributions of feminists of color. Standpoint theory, intersectionality, and Black feminist theory will be central to this framing. Issues related to race, class and gender and their impact on the lives and sexual health of women will be highlighted. Recommendations will be provided on how to translate this knowledge into survivor-led activism to end sexual assault in our communities.
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Session C 

Have you ever needed funding to support “special” projects that are important to you?  Travel to conferences or to conduct some education-related or personal research?  Or perhaps you are planning to volunteer for a US-based nonprofit or an international nongovernmental organization? 
This presentation will present a whirlwind overview of the pieces of information you need to gather in order to find funding successfully, no matter the purpose.  Tips on preparing the request packet will be highlighted as well as the various funder types and their impetus for funding you.  Research resources will be covered and will include both print and electronic varieties.
Ms. Supancic, Director of the Regional Foundation Library of UT/DDCE, brings 27 years of experience in funding resource information and proposal development to you in an effort to help you attain whatever projects you might have in mind.

 “Aligning for Global Change: Repositioning Feminist Activism for Political Sustainability in the Transnational Age” 
"Aligning for Global Change" examines how feminist activism, juxtaposed against the hegemonic forces of nationalism, religious fundamentalism and militarism and faced with the failure of gender equality agendas within institutional mechanisms like the United Nations, can reposition itself strategically to construct positive change and sustain its political viability in the transnational age. 

 Miami Women’s Council: Resurrecting a Feminist Tradition
The year 2010 was declared by the Miami Nation of Oklahoma to be the Year of Myaamiihkwiaki, the year of the Miami Women. The reason for this declaration was the resurrection of Miami Women’s Council after over 100 years lying dormant. With the cultural violence perpetr   ated upon native peoples by colonization and removal, women’s prominent roles in our communities dissipated. Our histories have been buried and our cultural power denied---until now. An old tradition is resurfacing via modern day technology.

Making the Connections: The Intersectionality of Reproductive Justice
What does reproductive justice look like in the context of queer rights, mothers’ rights, or environmental justice?  In this interactive workshop, local organizers and advocates will provide concrete examples of how they incorporate a reproductive justice analysis into their work.  Participants will leave the workshop with tools and strategies to bring with them into current or future activism and social justice work.

Body Positive
Obesity and Health are hot topics in the news, especially with the current controversies around health care reform.  Health at Every Size and Behavior-Centered Health are emerging as possibly viable, and extremely controversial, alternatives to the traditional approach of diet and exercise.  This panel will explore what HAES/BCH really are (and what they aren’t!) as well as how this movement is progressing.  Attendees will have an opportunity to have their questions answered by a panel of experts including a fat professional athlete, former plus-sized model, licensed and registered Dietician, and the filmmaker of “America the Beautiful”.
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Lunch and Keynote with Jehmu Greene  
2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Session D 

Building Coalitions: Strategies for Success
 Historically, coalitions have been powerful in the struggle for social change.  This interactive workshop examines the historical and current issues surrounding coalition building, as well as barriers and opportunities when developing coalitions.  Attendees will have the opportunity to examine their own identities and discuss how social identities intersect and play a significant role when building coalitions around LGBT issues. Attendees will leave with practical knowledge and strategies on coalition building. 

 “Let Me Twitter ‘dat!”: Blogging, Facebooking, and Tweeting Toward Social Change.
This presentation documents Shelly Blair's (host of College Station's Fair and Feminist radio show) engagement with new media—specifically twitter, facebook, and blogs—and the way it has impacted the community of Texas. Shelly will give specific examples of how using this new media has created social change in my community. Shelly will also provide hands-on demonstrations and advice for utilizing this media to build connections with other activists, draw attention to important issues, and create space for your voice. Austin's own Sandy Poffinbarger will also share her media experiences, including those of hosting her own feminist radio talk show on Austin's KVRX. 

 Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks: A Roundtable Discussion on Ageism in the Feminist Movements
An open discussion on ageism – what it is, how it looks, how to deconstruct it. Participants of all ages are welcome to share their experiences and solutions, as we put a often lip-serviced, rarely focused on system of oppression under the microscope.  
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Caucuses 
6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Town Hall meeting 

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Breakfast 
10:15 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. Feminist Action Project panel 
12:00 pm – 1:00 p.m. facilitated networking session 
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Closing plenary

Check out our keynote speaker, Jehmu Greene!

Jehmu Greene is an American political commentator and social justice organizer. Throughout her career, she has worked with the media to build powerful social justice movements. Jehmu’s knowledge of the issues has earned her spots on the all major cable new networks including: CNN, MSNBC, The O'Reilly Factor, The Daily Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, MTV News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News.

In 2009, Jehmu became president of Women’s Media Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit women’s advocacy organization founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane FondaRobin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. As head of WMC, Jehmu organizes social justice campaigns around issues from women’s health to sexism in media and works to amplify the voices of women through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content.

Prior to her current role, Jehmu served as President of Rock the Vote from 2000-20005. Under her leadership, Rock the Vote registered 1.4 million new voters and its membership grew from 1500 to 1 million. She was the first African American to serve as President of Rock the Vote and also the first President to sit on the Board of Directors.

Jehmu was recognized as one of Essence magazine's 40 Women Under 40 Shaping The World, and received the National Conference for Community and Justice's Community Service Award, American Association of University Women's Women of Distinction Award and National Council for Research on Women Making a Difference Award. Essence Magazine also named Jehmu one of the 35 Most Beautiful and Remarkable Women in the World.

Check her out on Feministing and at NOW's national conference.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

a special "thanks" to everyone who has helped us make this conference happen

Co-Sponsored By:

Center for Women and Gender Studies
Multicultural Information Center
Gender and Sexuality Center

Special Thanks to:

Texas Parents
The University Co-op
Student Government
Whole Woman's Health
Women's Resource Agency (an agency of Student Government)

Beneficiaries of:

Austin Women's Clothing Swap

Additionally, we would like to thank all who guided and supported our endeavors along the way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

tips for feminist organizing


This month the Feminist Action Project has taken upon itself the task of raising the final sum of funds necessary for our conference - which is harder than it sounds. In order to share some of the knowledge we have gained along the way, the Feminist Action Project  has decided to put together a list of tips and tricks that can be useful for other people looking to put to organize and / or put on an event.

1.) Organization
This is probably going to sound a bit like an advertising spiel, but trust us - the following have been SO important in keeping all of us organized:
With so many free and easy-to-use services, Google has been vital to our organization and planning. Google Docs allows for the sharing and collaborative editing (and real time updating) of documents and spreadsheets, which has been great in maintaining lists of professors to contact for help, potential speakers, and donors. In addition, Google provided all the codes for the forms you see on our blog. Best of all? Google automatically puts information entered on the form onto a spreadsheet kept on Google docs. The Google Groups feature makes e-mail communication to multiple group members a breeze. Google has so many great programs, virtually limitless space, and it’s free! It is definitely a valuable tool for groups wanting to maintain a web presence, but who operating on a tight budget.
Another helpful online resource has been Doodle. Scheduling meetings when folks have different life, work, and school schedules is often one of the biggest headaches of organizing. Doodle allows individuals to set up a series of potential meeting times, and then folks can follow a link to fill out their availability. No username or registration is required.

2.) Goals and Planning
We often playfully remark on how things should have been done a month ago, only most of the time we are not REALLY joking. Make a plan, make it feasible, and stick to it. Set weekly and monthly goals. Make sure all members are aware of them. Have regular meetings to check up on your progress, and allow time to reevaluate your approach if things seem to be falling apart.           
In the beginning of our planning process, we aimed big when developing our budget. Today? Our budget is probably a third of the original. We occasionally had to ask ourselves: Is this really doable in the time remaining? Is this particular thing important to the overall goals of the group and conference? Can we still have a conference that is meaningful to the participants and ourselves if we cut this part of the budget? In the end, the things we decided to cut are not totally out of the picture for us – they make up a sort of secondary budget of things that would be nice to have, but are not completely necessary. This gives us an absolute goal as well as additional incentives to strive for.
 In addition to regular meetings, we at the Feminist Action Project try to keep a weekly collaborative work time. An informal meeting with no agenda, the collaborative work time is a place where we can help each other with difficult tasks. We also try to include some sort of treat, talking, and lots of laughing.
If that seems like a lot of time spent in meetings, be assured that sometimes it feels like it – but the meetings are important. Regular meetings force us to be organized, hold ourselves accountable, make sure members are on the same (or similar) page, and help maintain connections to members we do not see every day.

3.) Ask
            Whether it be for donations or general help, sometimes having to ask for anything can be difficult.
Do not be afraid to ask for help – even from people you do not know. There are so many great free resources available and teachers / professors often have many great connections.  One thing we have continually been amazed by is the people who continually help us out with places to find things like printing, people to lead workshops, and donors.
Asking for money sometimes feels like running your nails down a chalkboard. It is a painful, but necessary part of the process. Make a list of EVERY POSSIBLE person, organization, restaurant, store, school department, or other business that you think might be remotely sympathetic to your cause (this is where Google docs becomes so helpful). Cast your net far and wide. The more people you ask, the more sponsors you are likely to have. If you do not ask, you will not get money. Plain and simple. Once you have a list, divide and conquer. Split the list up among all organizers, and not just those in charge of fundraising. Talking about and promoting your project is important for all participants. How you ask can vary – by face-to-face meeting, by email, by letter, by phone call.

One last thing – be confident in what you are doing. Know that you are valuable and so is your project! Advocate for yourself.

People have different projects and needs, but we hope these tips will make your planning easier for you. They have for us!

You can find more information like this at the conference – there will be workshops on finding money and activist self-care, as well as opportunities to share organizing experiences. Register now!

Thank you,
The Feminist Action Project
Ileana Gomez
Fundraising Committee Co-chair

Monday, February 22, 2010

sign up to volunteer with the Feminist Action Project!

Volunteer sign-ups are now closed. Thank you to everyone who registered. If you have a question or are interested in volunteering, please email us directly.

Monday, February 8, 2010

we've extended the due date for our call for submissions!

We folks at The Feminist Action Project know things can get busy – classes, jobs, family – and so we’d like to extend the due date for our call for submissions until Monday, March 1st. We are excited and impressed with the submissions we've received and look forward to seeing many more! Please feel free to pass this information along to any and all who might be interested.

As always, you are welcome to contact us at feministactionproject [at] gmail [dot] com if you have questions regarding dates, content, or anything else.

Make sure you check out the PDF version of our call for submissions here or the text version here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Registration Form

Online registration is now closed. Thank you to everyone who registered! Please see us in Main 212 on Friday, April 16th for a limited number of registrations.