The challenges of the feminisms under discussion

What are the challenges of feminisms at the beginning of the 21st century? What makes feminism today a social movement apparently strong, plural and increasingly visible and what are the dangers (if they exist) of these forms of visibility? Which are the daily struggles that remain invisible? These were some of the challenges launched to (self)reflection on October 11th, 2017, during another meeting in the scope of the Permanent Seminar on Communication and Diversity, promoted by the Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS), at the University of Minho, this time with the collaboration of the Feminist University and Civitas Braga and with the support of Lúcio Craveiro da Silva Library. Ana Gabriela Macedo, Liliana Rodrigues, Tatiana Mendes and Geanine Escobar participated in the round table, in a session mediated by Camila Craveiro and Carla Cerqueira.

Ana Gabriela Macedo, professor and researcher at the University of Minho in the area of ​​feminist studies, proposed a reflection on how the fashion industry, especially in the USA, has absorbed the label Feminism, as well as some of its “buzzwords”, and the implications that this appropriation has (or has not) in the daily struggles of women. Conceição Nogueira, professor and researcher at the University of Porto in the field of feminist psychology, offered a self-reflexive exercise on the need to remain attentive due to the very exigency, complexity and contradictions inherent in the feminist struggles and Liliana Rodrigues, lecturer at ISAVE – Instituto Superior de Saúde – and activist at various human rights organizations, seconded her, putting on the round table the difficulty of being always consistently feminist, as private life is also a political issue.atiana Mendes, technical and activist at UMAR, pointed out that social activists sometimes have to soften up the theory a lot, otherwise they will not be effective. Finally, Geanine Escobar, PhD student in cultural studies and black and lesbian activist, brought the black feminism and its specificities to the center of the debate, in an intersectional approach to feminism – bringing together in her intervention ideas that were present since the beginning of the debate, insofar as the oppressions of class, race, sexual orientation, etc. increase gender oppression and thus make many women invisible, at the same time it makes the struggle for gender equality a task that is not only difficult but rather complex.

A room full of feminists actively joined the debate, showing how different paths of identity promote different strategies of struggle, based on different standpoints. For about 3 hours, at the Lúcio Craveiro da Silva Library, the participants’ interventions reproduced a part of the complexities that permeate our days, their (in)visibilities and (in)visibilizations, and allowed the participants a brief period of self-reflection.

Much more remained to be discussed and still other feminisms to embrace in the debate. Maybe next time!


Text: Ana Catarina Pereira, Camila Craveiro e Carla Cerqueira

Photos: Carla Cerqueira