Fem GA planning mtg minutes 4/19/12

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Facilitator – Mical

Notes – Simran


Kathleen, she, WOW

Simran, she, WOW

Jennifer, student of Jill’s – doing a project where she needs to interview two people on a topic and would like to interview two people about feminism.

Janet, WOW

Dior, she, second meeting


Ingabor, International Peace Bureau

Alix, Take Back the Future – will be at May 1st march at union square – meeting at 4pm at 12th and broadway in front of strand bookstore.

Mel G, WOW

Judith, Take Back the Future

Jill, Fem GA

Mical, she, second meeting



Direct action

Agenda GA

Finalize communication

Info blurb for organizations attending


Draft Communication

Mel G – I like being concise. Want a flier not to be this long, but have very little to read to give gist of the day. Rethinking “we invite all feminists.” We need to have a discussion about what words we need to use. I’d like to stay away from any connotation that may make it out like we’re victims of oppression and marginalized/ we need saving. I want it to sound powerful. Would like to use the phrase “war on women” as a weapon.

Janet – tried to pull together all the good things people said at the last meeting. We had an accumulation of ideas. It’s not ready to hand out yet, but parts of it will provoke our discussion today about what would be on a flier.

Jill – What about “we invite all” to a general assembly. Maybe that would resolve issue of people not feeling welcome.

Judith – Agree it should be half as long – can use war on women – should say women occupying wall street on top. I’m very happy that there is a group at occupy that is using the word feminist. That said, there is a lot of language in here that we might want to shave out (patriarchy). Like “empower each other” and “amplify our voices.” The more we say about what could happen at the thing – we can be more concise.

Kathleen – thought this was an email for organizations and only the bold part would be on the flier. Want to talk about the “war on women.” We’ve had really tense relations with the queer caucus at WOW for not being inclusive enough. I want to be really sensitive to that and be sure what we do is really inclusive. There is a lot of trans people that are a part of occupy and want them to feel included. War on women is something that has been called out as not inclusive. It’s become a political tool and implies that there hasn’t been a war on women going on from forever. That’s why I took it out of this draft that I did.

Simran – can someone succinctly explain why inviting fesminist and allies is a problem. Agree with Kathleen about email and flier to be okay.

Mical – tone sounds a bit essay-ish because of the length. Want it to be more exciting. Everything we need is in here but we just need to take out 4/5 of it. That would be my take on it. Love the reclamation of the word feminist. In terms of war on women – don’t really understand the trans problem with it. Just because there are attacks on certain groups doesn’t mean we cant identify with our group. Maybe I just don’t understand, but just want to make it clear that I don’t understand. Wondering if we can figure out how we can best get to the right language. Possibly a break out group while the rest of the meeting continues.

Mel – I believe what is happening on this page is that the first paragraph is the basics of what we consented to last week. A lot of the additional info is a combination of Janet and Dior’s language. (Dior will send her language to combine the messages). The war on women part – I’m pretty sure I understand what Kathleen is saying but my concern with taking out that language is that since I am only learning about feminism for the first time in my life, there are probably many out there who don’t know anything else about feminism besides that there is a war on women. I kind of agree with what Mical was saying. I don’t think throwing it out might be more detrimental than keeping it in.

Alix – I just noticed that WOW is the initials of war on women as well as women occupying wall street. So maybe we could play with that. I think as long as we call it the first feminist general assembly – we don’t have to keep repeating the word feminist. That’s who we are and that’s our name. The fear would be that there are a lot of people that reject that word – they just don’t like that word because of its associations. I don’t think we have to say we invite feminists – it might exclude people that don’t yet identify as feminists. Maybe there will be a need to have it more in the long version that goes to groups. I think there is a lot of repetition here just in the first two paragraphs. My idea of a flier is something you see at a distance and you read it on a lamp post as you’re walking by. Way too many words to accomplish that just in the first two paragraphs. We can have three different versions. I hadn’t read it completely/carefully, but sounding inviting to groups and individuals doesn’t need a detailed agenda. If anybody wants to know, we can tell them – but it doesn’t need to be in the invitation/announcement. I understand very well that Kathleen is saying. There is a conflict because there is a lot of power in the war on women. There might be something short of eliminating the phrase.

Closing stack after this list and then will determine how to finalize a communication.

Dior – I agree with Simran about reclaiming the word feminism… but as a woman of color I know that a lot of people don’t identify with being a feminist but have the same beliefs as us.

Mical – I’ve heard the word womanist used before – is there another word you would suggest in addition to feminist that is used widely amongst women of color?

Dior – I wish there was a more inclusive term but I don’t think there is one that I know. I also agree with Alix on not including specifics for the email. I don’t think we should include the “1 minute” rule in an invitation – we need to be more inviting. I wish there was a way to not exclude anyone. How do we make it so everyone is invited and feel like they have a say.  Fems – some people think fem is short for feminine. How do we not stop in our tracks based on the language so we can move forward?

Simran – agree we need a variety of communication (an invite, fb page, flier, agenda, etc). I don’t think we need to agree on each word in here because we will tweak our communications anyway. I think we can ask individuals to take responsibility to coming up with final versions of there different communications.

Janet – Could we use the word “gender” somewhere? The Saturday GA had a group called Feminism and Gender Issues, and a lot of the people in the group were men. I’m wondering what we would think of attracting men.

Lisa – there’s no way I would read all this and it doesn’t look fun – it’s not inviting to me. People tend to be attracted to things like pictures and sound bytes. We need to address what we’re doing – a fem GA – and we can ask “what is feminism” on there. That way we can make it more accessible to anyone. We can list all of the different issues to bring in a little bit of history that way. Who are feminists – wives, daughters, etc. I would put the word occupy out there because it’s a brand already. Think of it visually and sound-bytes.

Judith volunteered to do the flier.

Kathleen has a friend that is interested in doing it.

Ingabor – Working in an international organization in peace, and having been a feminist foerever, I have difficulty using the word “War” in this context. The feminist movement has strongly been working for peace. Try to have demilitarization of the phrase the war on women. In the context of protest to how the world is using its reousrces, maybe there should be something in there on spending money – less on military purposes and more on social and human purposes.

Mel G – Can we come up with a headline about what this is? The last comment made me think of “disarm the war on women.” “What is feminism and why should care?” Those to me are very flier-y things.

Popcorn on headlines –

Mical – WOWs invites you to disarm the war on women.

Judith – that we have two big wows (women occupying wall st) disarms wows (war on women).

Lisa – I’d like to make war on women illigetimate and wipe it out. It’s a sound byte that I don’t want to move forward but im liking it now – Occupy the war on women.

Mel – to me occupy implies a length of time.

Mical – disarm has two meanings – litertally to take away someone’s arms and to charm. We talked about how do we deal with the cops and each other – how do we project humanity. How do we walk into a high tension situation and disarm it using compassion and humanity. So I like disarm.

Judith – important to keep sexism, homophobic, etc. Feminism struggled with racism – fighting racism is intrinsic to feminism so we have to use the word racism as well.

Alix – Should use the word gender – wont offend people that may be offended by war on women. Gendar wars – it’s on old term but may be a solution. Like the question what is feminism. To me, occupy is a war term.

Mel – really attached to this not being an occupy-centered event. The issue exists everywhere.

Kathleen – we need to distinguish on the flier that all genders are welcome. I disagree about it not being a mainly occupy thing because it’s something that is very needed in occupy and the occupy community. We exist in a large part differently than traditional organizations and there is something very valuable about that. We should want to bring other organizations in but I don’t think we should necessarily cater to them.

Alix – I heard that there is an occupy group in Texas that voted against including a position on abortion because it’s too divisive. So we need to insist on feminism in occupy and I think it should be mentioned.

Janet – the social movement of occupy is different from demands that various groups may put out. Last weekend was about really connecting with campaigns that are ongoing. We want to connect long-term campaigns with Occupy and this event is to invite groups that are already working on things to interact with us. So that should be in the blurbs.

Dior – definitely would like to include the “personal is political.” Thinking of the word “intersectionality” – everything about a person intersects with each other like race, class, gender, sexuality etc.

Mical – I love insisting on feminism. I’m ok with alienating certain people and with not everyone agreeing with my vision on the future. I would suggest maybe we could say the women of occupy wall street are hosting a feminist ga – suggests everyone is welcome but this is what we’re interested in. Concern about what is feminism – we really want people to come together and plan some active things. The question implies to me that I’m going to the event to talk about what feminism is and I wouldn’t go to that event. DIY signs at occupy have been really successful. I’m wondering if we should short-circuit that and have a handwritten sign. I’d be more likely to read that on a lamp post – it would have a feeling of authenticity and immediacy.

Lisa – if we just keep it down to basics – what we are, what we’re doing – I’d like to have a frame of what feminism is – who is a feminist (a mother a daughter etc).

Betty – I want to know why this is necessary when I read something like this. What contribution is this going to make to occupy – occupy is the framework within which I perceived the note that I got. What is this initiative going to contribute to the future of the movement. What is the goal of the event that you can state beyond just a dialogue?

Mel G – patriarchy/feminism logo.

Betty – war on women is too specifically used in reference to repro rights and there is a lot more to women’s issues.

Janet – disarm has a lot of implication for performance art

Breakout group for flier verbiage – Kathleen, Judith, Alix and Mel B.


Dior – definitely want to do something on fb, twitter, tumblr, youtube. Would like to agree on a hashtag to have some consistency.

We consented to hashtag #femGA

Would really like to use tumblr – WOW has one. I assume for FB we would create an event on WOW. Youtube we could create videos of us saying short slogans/holding signs etc. Shows diversity and makes people relate to what we’re talking about. Should get into as many channels as we can get into. Should figure out who we can delegate tasks too.

Simran – I volunteered to be the outreach bottomliner at last week’s meeting (with PJs help). But we all need to be doing outreach.  We have a spreadsheet – need everyone to add organizations and sign up for orgs to reach out to . Agreed different people should sign up for different responsibilities. I’ll make sure everyone has access to the spreadsheet and we need to start outreach now!

Lisa – need a road map – three categories – sources, friends, events – anything that you’re planning on going to please put it into the spreadsheet and make an announcement at the event. May be good to have a few different pages for the fem ga on things like facebook.

Janet – what can we bring to events? What might I have in my bag at all times to pass around.

Jill – I have an aversion to fliers and the excessive paper in occupy. Wondering if there is an alternative way?

Mical – maybe appropriate in this situation to use fliers.

Simran – We should have quarter page fliers. Depends on the event – but if you can make an announcement at events that makes a big difference.

Ingabor – are there central channels in OWS that can be used?

Mical – occuprint can do something for us. There’s even a silk-screening collective.

Betty – would be good to frame introductions at ga to “what can your org bring to the movement?” I wouldn’t ask them to talk about their problems, but rather how the movement can help their purposes. Would also be useful to bring that into the discussion.

Mical – Summarizing – need to have two different columns going. Personal – friends, events, other sources. Organization-ally – social media (twitter, tumblr, facebook, youtube), flyering on walls and handing out, intra-occupy outreach, inter-org outreach, press (press release, media).


Dior – twitter from wowsnyc, tumblr

Simran – facebook event

Jill – will reach out to film maker about video

Dior recommended using the iphone video. Mical said editing is not easy.

Simran – want video at the event.

Flyering – Jill said she can print for free – Simran will work with OccuCopy.

Mical asked about wheatpasting – Janet said people have been ticketed for doing that (hundreds/thousands of dollars).

Mical will get in touch with screen printing guild.

Simran will get in touch with OccuCopy and will also request buttons once we know what we want.

Intra-occupy outreach and inter-occupy outreach – all on the google doc.

Press – who has contacts with the press? We should also reach out to the press working group.

Janet – will bottomline press release.

Dior – Joy of Resistance radio show.

Simran – occupy radio show, occupy tv, and women occupy radio woman.

Jill – will reach out to CUNY’s radio station.

Video – Kathleen can edit a video but wouldn’t want to film it.


Sub-group to discuss this at another time: Mical, Marie, Mel, & Janet. They will meet on Sunday, 5-7pm, near union square – meet at the Gandhi statue (SW corner).

Lisa – been trying to get people to do ASL and Spanish interpretation. And someone I’m in touch with brought up the fact that he knows that nobody from the translation group will do an outdoor thing in case of the weather. He was also concerned about the possibility of being arrested at an outdoor place.

Judith – I think the question of weather is an important one.

Maria – I love the idea of it being outside when so many people are around and would be attracted to us.

Alix – we decided this at a previous meeting. How do people feel about sticking to past decisions. There are a few alternatives like a rain date that we could put on the flier. Another option is to have a back up indoor space nearby. The third option is having umbrellas. We could get a ton of umbrellas if we knew it was going to rain that day.

Lisa – Bethesda has an overhang. The only reason I was thinking of going back to that is that if it’s raining it will not happen.

We agreed we would have a rain date.

Flier report back

Women Occupying Wall Street (WOW) invites people and organizations of all gender identities to the first Fem GA, etc. Unify, energize, empower, amplify, act to blank, gender justice. Disarm the war on women. Rise up! More info at.

Updated to “Unify, energize, empower, amplify, act. Stand for gender justice.”

Consented to flier!

Image discussion –

Lady liberty

Fist for women solidarity (too related to biological female body)

Lady liberty – just the fist and fire

Statue of liberty with a fist

Kathleen will play around with it

Mical – one of the things that women can do is control how they dress. Example – suffragists wearing long white dresses when they were dragged through the mud. Maybe we’d want to dress as statue of liberty.

Rain date – Friday, May 18th

Judith – we should announce the GA at an NYC GA. We should do outreach also on the phone – not just on email. If one person could spend an hour going through all the working groups and send a blurb to each group to put onto their pages. Melanie will do this for the occupy working groups.

Mel – we should be announcing this at all events.

Next meeting: Tuesday, April 24, 7-9:30pm – Jill will get space again.

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