Dipeeka is a 2010 LEADer who recently participated in Feminist Camp. Feminist Camp includes five immersive days of meetings and workshops across New York City highlighting diverse forms of feminism in action. Each day centers around a theme. Her blog posts about her time there originally appeared on the Soapbox Blog.
The final day of the Feminist camp began with a small treat for all the campers: some extra time in the morning! Some of us chose to sleep in and relax, while some chose to take time out to reflect on the week or go around the city.
Our first workshop was at the LAVA studio, a space for a troupe of artists who develop and perform original works with a combination of dance, theatre, and acrobatics. Sarah Johnson, the founder and Artistic Director LAVA spoke about how the group did not confirm to the sexualization of females in dance forms. They focus on acrobats, physicality, relationship exploration and connection between the dancers, rather than solely on entertaining the audience. LAVA studio had no mirrors, emphasizing the importance of dance rather than how the dancers looked. Our session then focused on engaging us into their LAVA world. Some of the exercises we did like leading a partner around the studio with their eyes closed, making them lie down and lifting them up from the floor helped build trust between the group members. We also tried scissor kicks, handstands and airplanes to build strength. At the end, we were divided into three groups and asked to create a dance form using any moves we learned during the session or feelings we felt. Our group chose to incorporate feelings of nervousness, resistance, and then of trust through the dance moves.
Energized after the session, we went to The Doughnut Plant to honor the National Doughnut Day, and then headed towards The Paradise Factory in order to watch MOM BABY AND GOD! The show was a one-woman political theatre piece about a rising teenage anti abortion activist. The humorous piece is a result of extensive primary research of the ‘pro-life’ activists. The protagonist, Jessica, is someone many teenagers can relate to: her personal sexual desires intersect and contrast with the idea of chastity and purity promoted by the pro-life movement. After the show, the performer gave us inside scoops on her research that led to this theatre piece.
After the show, we went to Zucker café for a cocktail party with Amy, Jennifer, Carly and some alums of the past Feminist Camps. Cherishing the camp over amazing food and talking about Disney, we also had a chance to interact with alumnae and hear about their work and activism experiences. We all were also honored with Soapbox Feminist badges for completing the program!
I am grateful to Claire Charamnac, my former internship supervisor and co-founder of Women LEAD for recommending me to apply as the program assistant for the Feminist Camp. As our beloved Gloria Steinem says, “Women have two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.” All us campers have made the choice, to recognize and strive for equality of all genders. This camp has been an intensive week of meeting passionate and intelligent feminists, nurturing and challenging our knowledge on feminist issues, and building connections. As we return to our daily lives, our views and perspectives might not always be accepted or respected; however, this week of immersion has equipped us with the skills, strength and reasons to stand up and strive for change!