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2015 has come to an end, where is feminism headed now?

Join us as we take a look back at our first year.

2015 has been a really big year for bringing feminist concerns to the forefront of our perceptions, and especially to everybody’s newsfeeds. With the intermingling of social media and feminism, we’ve seen everything from girl-gangs, a revival of body hair,  and new safe spaces for many women, transgender and non-binary people to explore their identities and be active in body positive communities. 

This year brought forth new perceptions of feminisms and a broader more nuanced approach to the subject. Simultaneously, we saw a uniting and also a disenfranchising for communities/ individuals who identify as feminists. Challenges to who identifies (or qualifies) as a feminist, came to light while many wondered what has feminism ever done for me? Questioning ties to the concepts and definitions of this movement, communities alienated each other, while some bonded and grew stronger.

2015 is leaving the masses in possession of a real awareness of how social media can be intrinsic in connecting communities, enabling conversation, promoting activism, and subverting standards and expectations; but we’ve only made baby steps. Many issues such as trans visibility, pay-gaps, equal representation, the right for choice, the tampon tax, domestic violence visibility, rape culture, and consent may be on the radar- but there is still so far to go. 

It was at the beginning of 2015 that Sleepover Club Initiative began. The movement was born out of frustrations, heartbreak, and a desire to gather together all the voices that speak for equality and future growth. After being constantly bombarded with the stats and data that prove the lack of representation and support for women, PoC, LGTBQIA+, transgender and non-binary individuals within the arts world, we felt the landscape needed to change. We wanted to create a collective platform for individuals and groups that fed off collaboration and the sharing of stories. We needed to contribute to the ever-changing landscape of contemporary feminism and we wanted to do this with a little bit of attitude.

In September, we held our first exhibition, which brought together nine artists exploring the idea of Solidarity. Coinciding with this exhibition, our first event: a Conference on Solidarity, featured a number of incredible speakers and performers traversing issues such as sexism in the punk music scene, representation of Indigenous identities in Australian Art and the power of art when used as a vehicle to discuss domestic violence.
Our online platform allowed people to discuss the issues of the ever-present male gaze in both art and advertising, the falsities of having to choose between motherhood and a career, the need for a revival of abject art practise and outspoken feminist critique and gender stereotyping in the art world.

2015 was the year feminism gained celebrity status and became a hashtag, a vernacular employed on the regular. We hope that 2016 brings new realisms into our collective approach to this conversation. May this be the year that economic demands disregard gender specifics, where all women’s voices are uplifted, and where gender choices are respected, and no longer affect an individual’s claim to feeling safe. May this be a year full of challenge and strength, where feminists push for concrete cultural shifts, where intersectionality is no longer a consideration but a norm, and feminist issues centre around those with the softest voices, because our feminisms need to represent all subjugated communities and individuals. 

We are excited that a new calendar year opens up space for new expectations, new goals, and new resolutions. Strength in community got us here, and will keep us going as we move forward. There are too many people to name that we want to thank - but to all those who have inspired us, been involved, contributed, challenged us, and lent interest to us - it’s thanks to you that we can bring even more to our future!

 

Images courtesy of Hannah Alexander and James Robinson

 

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