• Wed, Jul 7 2010

Feminist Summer Camp: I Don’t Particularly Want To Go To There

There are a lot of camps I’d love to go to. Specifically, bacon camp, the best camp of all.  Or maybe some nice little writer’s retreat where I could try my hand at short stories and swill a lot of wine. You know where I really don’t want to go? Feminist camp.

Mostly because feminist camp seems to consist of a lot of jumping up and down on the ground to make sure the ground is still there.

Apparently, “On Thursday, it’s feminist art, which takes the campers to the Streb gym in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a class on movement. The instructor tells the campers to perform the “plop” test, in which they jump up and down … to make sure the ground is there.  ”This technique is about assumption busting,” she says to them. “

I’m sorry, but shouldn’t feminist art be more Mary Cassatt or Georgia O’Keeffe? Or dry macaroni necklaces? Or anything? Because I’m pretty sure that jumping up and down on the ground, while it may be a sort of mildly effective exercise, doesn’t seem very art-y. But that’s cool, there are some trampolines, too.

“When Sara Myles, a student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, has trouble launching herself onto a trampoline, she shouts to rev herself up. “I can do this. I’m a feminist!” That declaration is one of the overarching themes of feminist summer camp: declaring one’s feminist status proudly, and then figuring out how to put that pride and energy to use.”

Huh? That seems like a very odd thing to put that pride and energy to use on. How about “I can do this, I’m a human being, I’ve got some legs and I am capable of some hearty trampoline jumping. Or not. You know, maybe the macrame table is more my speed.” Too wordy, I guess.

But it’s not the fact that feminist camp doesn’t sound like much fun that really bothers me. It’s the fact that feminism isn’t something that exists in a box. It’s not something that that should be separate from the rest of the world. It’s certainly not something that should be embraced primarily in the confines of what sounds like the lamest camp ever.

Instead, it should just be an accepted part of our lives. Or, at least a part of life for every woman who believes that she can have her own identity, separate from a man, and that men and women deserve equal opportunities in the workforce. Which is almost everyone, right? I firmly believe you can be a feminist who goes to a special camp where you do some trampoline jumping to earn feminist merit badges, and you can be just as much a feminist if you want to stay home in your Louboutins with your investment banker hubby.

We don’t need a camp for that. We need to start using the word in a way where “feminism” doesn’t seem like a tiny little club you have to go off into the woods to join.

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