A few weeks after #recon2019 has left us reflecting on the art and activism which came together over three days in Kathmandu.
We have posted our highlights, but we love reading the reflections of others who joined us to rethink, reimagine and reboot feminist futures. Here are a few of the reactions to reconference from around the web:
Vani Viswanathan breaks down the serious, thought-provoking, and fun moments on Day 1, including her take away on feminism, law and criminalization:
“…so much of feminist movements over the decades of 20th century were about adding crimes against women into the law and appeals to ensure that perpetrators are put behind bars. But this panel, consisting of people from Mexico, the USA, South Africa and India, got me thinking about laws and women. Estefania Vela from Mexico was wonderful to listen to, so articulate and engaging! Vela talked about how the number of “crimes” getting added into law was ever increasing, with new categories coming up, like “obstetric violence” or “reproductive trafficking”, with the idea that no protection is possible for women without criminalization. But the issue – and this was echoed by other panelists – is that legal systems are seldom effective in following through. So we’re not really “changing” the society through these laws, and in fact women face the brunt of these, either because men are thrown in jail and their families suffer because of the lack of effective social safety nets, or because the legal system is biased against people of certain recess and communities, and most shockingly, women themselves get convicted – an example from another panelist was of drug using women who get pregnant being thrown in jail.” Read more.
Day 2 brought more reflections, including on the idea that science knows who a woman is, which led Vani to share:
“…a powerful personal learning over the last few years has been to question the efficacy of science in explaining gender or sexuality, and learning to build the language to counter such claims at professional and personal spaces. This came back to me in the second plenary of the morning, where athletes, and sports and gender rights activists and professionals discussed how being “too fast” has brought them under intense, violating scrutiny. Katrina Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist who’s written an “unauthorised biography” of testosterone, and shared how when “testing” whether female athletes are “women enough”, we are under the assumption that a higher level of testosterone translates directly into better performance. Human bodies don’t work that way!” Read more.
Following her conversation at reconference, Reconstruction Women’s Fund caught up with Arundhati Roy to speak to her about the importance of organizing women’s gatherings, why we need to invest in women’s rights and the meaning of solidarity. Arundhati thoughtfully responded:
“Well, solidarity first of all means understanding, the first thing it means is common understanding. When I was outside yesterday at the meeting with groups of young women and they were talking about imperfect solidarities, I said “Do you know that is the best kind of solidarity? Because the perfect solidarity can end up being a tyranny.” So we have to also learn how to be in solidarity when we disagree with each other about certain things, or agree with each other about certain things – we have to be in solidarity which is not completely anarchic, which is useless, but also not completely hierarchical, all these issues…” Read more.