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Feminist Activism in Girls and Young Women: Students Teaching, Students


Moderator: Mary P. Sheridan-Rabideau

Abstract: Various facets of feminist activism in high school girls and college women
will be discussed: how to inspire activism, how activism can be used as a pedagogical
technique, how students can become activist leaders contributing to the cycle of teaching
and learning and improve women’s lives through meaningful service within

Teaching Resistance: Inspiring Feminist Identification through Service-Learning,

Jennifer L. Martin
Female high school students participating in a women’s studies course at an at-
risk alternative high school were given the opportunity to design a variety of feminist
service-learning projects to benefit other women in the community throughout the
semester. These young women were hesitant to self-identify as feminists prior to these
experiences, despite the fact that they personally held goals similar to those of the
feminist movement. Results revealed that these projects facilitated feminist identification
and activism and strengthened the bonds between females in the school.

Girls and Zines: Using Literacy Work to Promote Activism and Feminism, Rebekah
The purpose of this paper is to define how paper-based zines are used as a literacy
practice that enables the girls who participate in the subculture to create, define and
construct meaning in the day-to-day practices of their everyday lives, as well as use
writing to define and explore identity(ies). It also explores how the ritual of writing as a
form of identity work is the basis for deeper examination into self. The primary focus
here is on how this identity is formed and constructed in relation to feminism and
activism. Girls use zines as a writing site of counter-cultural pedagogy. This moves girls
to the space of cultural producers working to revise what it means to be a girl in late
modernity. Through ethnographic research, this paper addresses how young zinesters
become feminist activists.

We Are the Present, Not Just the Future: Teenage Girl Activists Claiming Political
Authority in the Americas, Jessica Karen Taft
Teenage girl activists are engaged in a variety of struggles for social change.
Rejecting youth development paradigms that emphasize only their future contributions to
society, they claim space for themselves as legitimate social and political agents of
change in the present. This presentation draws upon participant observation and
interviews with teenage girl activists in Mexico City, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Vancouver
and the San Francisco Bay Area in order to outline some of the ways that these young
women construct themselves as important contributors to social movements and social
Rape Prevention Education: One Size does not Fit All, Cierra Olivia Thomas-
Williams & Chris Martin
Federally funded rape prevention education always takes the form of abstinence
instruction, which treats rape as a sexually transmitted disease. This presentation will
explain Project HOW (Healthy Outlooks for Women), a feminist activist rape prevention
program created by the presenters, attempts to find a cure for rampant sexual violence in
the U.S. Through student led organizing and implementation of activist ventures and
weekly meetings, students experienced long term and lasting effects of applied feminist
theory such as accessing the strength to report sexual crimes and self directed rape
prevention education through internet blogging.

Contact Information:

Moderator: Mary P. Sheridan Rabideau

Jennifer Martin
Tinkham Alt. HS
Oakland University

Rebekah Buchanan
Temple University
421 West George Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Jessica Karen Taft

Doctoral Candidate
Department of Sociology
UC-Santa Barbara

Cierra Olivia Thomas-Williams
Gender Studies
Indiana University Bloomington

Chris Martin
Shelter from the Storm
Domestic Violence Shelter
Requested AV: PowerPoint