Flyover Feminism is a space for feminists/womanists/activists outside major media centers whose issues are given insufficient coverage and attention by the mainstream media outlets, and whose voices are frequently left out of the national dialogue. We believe that a space elevating the visibility of online and offline feminism across the country is important because such activism has traditionally been viewed skeptically by coastal and metropolitan activists.
Flyover Feminists often find themselves trapped in a cycle of limited support from big players, who express reluctance to dedicate resources to places where it appears that “nothing ever changes.” But change is hard when there is little investment, and investment is hard to secure without evidence of change.
We are seeking to change the dynamic between feminist/womanist activists in the flyover states and feminist/womanist activists in major media centers. We want to facilitate understanding of the historical roots of the conflicts at hand, and we want to encourage more effective activism than the shallow, short-term bursts of effort centered around large-scale “moments of decision” that constitute big individual victories with no long-term follow-through or big individual failures that are used to justify institutional abandonment. Too often, when limited bursts of external attention centered around a single piece of legislation prove to be insufficient to turn the tide of entrenched political inequality, the local activists are asked: “Well, why don’t you just move?”
We don’t want to move. We want to facilitate progress in the places that most need it.
Although Flyover Feminism is a US concept, this space is for people around the world who are practicing activism outside of large-scale progressive networks of support, in places where their neighbors and communities are often hostile to their efforts, where activists are forced to beat back the wilderness and cut their own path. While Flyover Feminism is about geographical flyover areas, it is also about people or groups that the mainstream media (including prominent progressive and/or feminist media) flies over in its coverage. It is about people around the world who, by virtue of their identities, are practicing feminism or womanism outside mainstream ideas of What a Feminist Looks Like.
Flyover Feminism is not about jetting down to your local progressive organization to brainstorm about ways to preach more fervently to the choir; it is about blazing new trails. It is about creating a space for activists to share their stories of how they made it and are making it in places where their rights are routinely stripped from them for political sport. It is about arming activists with the tools and arguments needed to win these fights and about shrinking the world to explore the ways geographically-marginalized activisms and intersectional feminisms/womanisms are similar and/or complementary to one another.
Flyover Feminism is about supporting local politicians who are getting it right and shaming the good goddamn out of the ones that are putting in overtime getting it wrong. It is about how, exactly, activists without media clout or attention bring immediacy and passion to a fight that will largely be ignored no matter the outcome. We want to teach the next generation of geographically-marginalized activists how to organize, learn new ideas from new activists, and document the stories of people who have been doing activism for decades in obscurity. We want to want to record the past, and nurture the future. We aim to cleave as closely as we can to a “nothing about us without us” principle, amplifying actual stakeholders and not adjacent people who have an opinion.
We don’t want to simply start conversations; we want to proactively connect activists from all over the globe and unite them in their struggle to affect a better future.
Amadi Aec is a writer, editor, educator and social work student who puts boots and cane to ground in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s active in a variety of human service endeavors and her rapid fire tweeting can be seen @amaditalks.
Gaayathri is a young feminist hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. She is the child of diaspora two times over and is deeply passionate about all forms of social justice. She can be found tweeting sporadically @A_Gaayathri and blogging at http://www.ahumanstory.wordpress.com.
Jessica Luther is a loud and proud Texan, a reproductive justice activist, freelance writer, and historian. She is on the internet. You can find her most often at her main blog as well as her reproductive rights blog, Keep Your BS Out of My Uterus. She’s also on Twitter as @scATX. In her spare time, she works on her dissertation, watches tennis, and reads romance novels.
Cristina Maza is a writer, NGO activist, political scientist, feminist, & advocate of social justice and equality. Currently based in Tbilisi,Georgia with the NGO Transparency International, she is an expert on Eastern European Politics & an editor of the peace & security section of United Explanations, a non-profit journalistic blog. Her main research interests include social movements, online activism, political theory, gender, & international relations. In her free time she enjoys traveling, learning languages, eating spicy vegan food, belly dancing, & thinking up ways to change the world. You can find her writing here & here & here, or follow her on Twitter @CrisLeeMaza
Melissa McEwan is a Hoosier, which means she lives in Indiana in case you haven’t seen that basketball movie. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Shakesville, a feminist blog and community of teaspoon-wielding badasses now in its 8th year. In her spare time, she volunteers with greyhound rescue. You can also find her on Twitter: @shakestweetz.
Alessandra Mondin is an Italian currently living in the UK and doing a PhD at the University of Sunderland. She holds a BA in Visual Arts and an Erasmus Mundus MA in Women’s and Gender Studies. In her spare time you can find her cooking and baking vegan food, taking pictures, blogging, and seldomly writing for an online independent Italian music magazine. She also volunteers as a proofreader and editor for R-A-S-P, a company which publishes books by authors who are dyslexic. You can follow her on Twitter @VanillaWater.
Jhuma Sen is a lawyer and legal researcher based in New Delhi. She primarily practices in the Supreme Court of India and is a consultant with Lawyers Collective, an NGO offering public interest service through human rights advocacy, legal aid and litigation. She was an American Association of University Women’s International Fellow at University of California at Berkeley where she pursued her Masters in Laws (LL.M) in International Law. She views laws and the legal through a feminist lens and intends to write on feminist politics and law. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and occasionally tweets @inabluehouse.