By Isabelle Speed
On October 22, the Wick held a Pinnacle Luncheon given by Jennifer Baumgardner entitled “Beyond Beyoncé: Feminism in 2015.” Baumgardner, a feminist and activist, has written for outlets such as Glamour and the New York Times on issues such as abortion and the evolution of feminism since its second wave in the 60’s and 70’s. In her talk, Baumgardner discussed the influences in her early life that led her to a career in feminism. According to the journalist, she was heavily affected as a young child by her own mother’s identity crisis as well as her older sister’s traumatic abortion. From these experiences, Baumgardner discovered that she wanted to be identified by her personal values and not by any preexisting stereotypes. modern America about defining feminism in the modern world. The writer noted that in today’s world, feminism has been sensationalized by big names like Beyoncé, and while she does agree that Beyoncé is a powerful representative and activist for the movement, Baumgardner also recognizes that Beyoncé’s particular brand of feminism and activism is not necessarily universal. Every individual’s definition of feminism is different based on their values and experiences. To Baumgardner, “feminism is love, [meaning] the practice of self-love and love for others.”
Baumgardner has tried to bring the idea and importance of “love for others” into the public eye with I Had An Abortion, a documentary which she coproduced as an attempt to bridge the intense political polarization over Baumgardner talked In her work, the issue. The journalist noted that the issue of abortion is usually only talked about in a very black-and-white manner of speaking. Her project’s aim was to make people look at the stories behind abortion, because according to her, “a story is not an argument,” but rather an opportunity for people to tell “the truth about what has happened to them,” thus making people focus more on the deep effects this procedure can have on women and even men.
After discussing her work with this project, Baumgardner went on to offer advice on how to translate feminism into activism and what activism is. Baumgardner feels that feminist activism does not have to be as intense as chaining oneself to a fence or lighting bras on fire. Instead, she feels that in its simplest form, activism is “enacting values on a daily basis.”