faster feminism · new year new plan · openness · women

Faster Feminism Redux: Welcome Back, Y’all

I am sitting at my new desk in my new office at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. If you missed my hello/goodbye announcement in the spring here is the short version: I have moved. I’m now in this lovely town for a 12-month limited term contract. I’m thinking about beginnings and I am thinking about changes. I am also — always — thinking about poetry…

You fit into me / like a hook into an eye

That is how Heather began our first post three years ago. If you’re a long-time reader you may recall that Hook & Eye began in part as a reaction to the CERC brew-ha-ha in which absolutely zero of the nineteen new Canada Excellence Research Chairs we women. We also began Hook & Eye as a means of fostering community. Where, we wondered, were women working in universities in Canada? How were they negotiating the quotidian and extraordinary challenges of their diverse work environments? How are our colleagues–old friends or yet-to-be met acquaintances–thinking about and living through their experiences as raced, gendered, classed, and situated people in today’s Canadian university? And what are they wearing?

You see, I find myself once again in a Janus-faced stance looking back at the original impetus for this blog, and looking forward towards the unknown of another semester. Fresh as a newly-cracked moleskine or foreboding as start of hurricane season? Only time will tell…

You fit into me / like a hook into an eye
A fish hook / an open eye

In the three years since the blog began we have addressed an incredible amount in inequity. We have had guest posts that deal with rape culture on Canadian university campuses. We have had pieces on job-place harassment. We had — and then stopped running — a monthly post called This Month In Sexism. We didn’t stop running the feature because we rant out of material, no. We stopped running it because readers requested that we stop because it was too disheartening. Fish hook to open eye, indeed. Or rather, here’s to the undeniable need to keep talking, thinking, teaching, and practicing faster feminism.

Of course, as Heather wrote in that first post Hook & Eye’s aim is a double one: it is both an intervention and an invitation. We envisioned this space as a place to talk politics, pressures, panics, and pleasures. And yes, we probably do want to know what you’re planning to wear for your first day of class. We also want to know how your feminist praxis is evolving. In short, we want to know what our readership cares about and we want to continue to bring a diverse set of topics to you for your consideration.

Oh yes, we. That trickiest of pronouns. Such an easy one to wield with blindness to the kinds of exclusions it can enact; such a wonderful work when one feels a part of that we. We have undergone shifts in who we are here at Hook & Eye. Heather has moved into the position of Editrix Emerita as she moved into her new office as Vice Dean of Arts. Aimee and I have welcomed Margrit into the roster of weekly editrix-writers. Last year we were fortunate to have a collective of regular writers (thank you Danielle, Liz, Jessica, Liza, and Melissa!) and this year Melissa will be joining us on a semi-regular basis. And as ever we are grateful to out guest posters who give of their own time and take the risk of thinking in public.

Perhaps to my eye the greatest shift in who makes up the collaborative writing we of Hook & Eye is the shift to the sheer number of precariously employed. We now have a disproportionate number of un- under- or precariously-employed writers. And while writing in public is always risky, writing in public while precariously employed carries its own unique challenges. As I have performed (again, and again, and again) with a mix of determination and complete sheepishness the number of precarious workers is on the rise. Writing publicly, creating a readerly collective, trying to create the conditions for solidarity: these are some of the possibilities afforded to us by social media. Of course, we — in that shifting collective of bodies that comprises the pronoun — need one another as much as we need our own political and social consciousness to keep us from forgetting the various ways in which these generative aims carry the potential for permeating inequity. Fish hook to open eye? Yes, that’s the risk, but I would like to suggest rather that these pernicious and diverse inequities offer us new ways of coming together. Faster feminism.

As we head into a new school year another section in the Hook & Eye archives opens. We would like to invite you to continue to read, comment, and heck, maybe even write a guest post for us. For now, though, how about inspiring us with some of your new year’s resolutions?