Ahhhh the holidays. What to get for the feminists in your life? Something practical? Something silly? Something with a Hermione Granger quote on it?
And if you don’t want to buy a material gift, what kids of experiences would they appreciate? Or do you opt out all together, and just plan to make a special meal or host a get-together?
Here are a few ideas! I wasn’t endorsed by any of these brands, the choices are just based on my opinion of what I think are fun gifts.
I always encourage you to shop from small, local business owners, or from the original author/artist/creator, when possible. Avoiding big corporations that have a bad reputation for gender equity, like Amazon and Walmart, is always a plus.
A membership to Town Hall Seattle.
Town Hall "is like where your brain keeps getting to go when your body stops going to college."
With "music, humanities, civic discourse, and world culture events,” Town Hall often hosts gender equity activists, authors, and organizers. For example, Alicia Garza of BlackLivesMatter, Kris Hermanns of Pride Foundation, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of "Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family" are a few of the feminist leaders they’ve recently hosted.
In fact, as I'm writing this I just returned home from an event at Town Hall featuring the amazing civil rights leader and feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw.
A feminist magazine subscription.
Or you could go more local, and choose the Portland-Based Bitch Magazine, “a nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization dedicated to providing and encouraging an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture."
A good book.
There's nothing like snuggling up to a good book while learning about breaking down the patriarchy. Here are a few ideas:
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes (November 2015). “The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.”
The Diversity Advantage, (October 2015) an eBook by Seattle author Ruchika Tulshyan is an thorough resource for anyone serious about A) managing a successful business B) gender equity or C) both. She hyperlinks facts and figures so you can access the original sources easily. It’s an excellent piece of scholarship that’s written in an easy-to-read style.
The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America. (July 2015) The author Tamara Winfrey Harris “exposes anti-Black-woman propaganda and shows how real Black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves.”
Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria E. Anzaldúa (1999). This classic book is just as relevant today as in 1999 when it was first published. “Anzaldua, a Chicana native of Texas, explores in prose and poetry the murky, precarious existence of those living on the frontier between cultures and languages."
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (October 2015) chronicles the life of America’s most kickass feminist supreme court justice. Plus, there's pictures.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, released October 2015, is the first book published in 20 years by this iconic feminist.
Disgruntled by Asali Solomon (February 2015). “A coming-of-age tale, a portrait of Philadelphia in the late eighties and early nineties, an examination of the impossible double-binds of race, "Disgruntled" is a novel about the desire to rise above the limitations of the narratives we're given and the painful struggle to craft fresh ones we can call our own.”
Under the Bus: How Working Women are Being Run over (April 2015) Lawyer Caroline Fredrickson offers "A forceful response to Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter, speaking for the majority of women who have been failed by their workplaces and the economy."
A coloring book!
Coloring books are all the rage this year. Bring out your inner child, and inner artist with “Color Her,” where you can “Mix and match fabulous female icons – from mythological to modern day.”
Psssst....check out the "for the kiddos" section below for another great coloring book. It's for grownups too!
A witty t-shirt
Feminist Apparel, a nonprofit, has fun shirts and a great mission: “We hold the idea that you can be a feminist if you simply believe and act on equality. Men, women, and people who say no to the gender binary are all welcome to the movement. That’s why we create t-shirts that range from XS-5XL, cover issues ranging from street harassment to gender stereotypes, and feature designs from our Feminist Creatives community that gives up and coming feminist designers an opportunity to share their work and get paid for it.”
We have some pretty killer feminist bands in Seattle. Pick up a couple of albums or a ticket to a show as a gift. In fact, get two tickets so you can go too!
Pony Time has a punk vibe, while TacoCat is upbeat and chill, like the song “Crimson Wave,” which is about Aunt Flo’s monthly visit. Chastity Belt is another local band that shares frontwoman Julia Shapiro with the band Childbirth. In fact, ChildBirth is a 'supergroup,' borrowing members from all three previously mentioned bands. Finally The Julie Ruin features Kathleen Hanna of the iconic Bikini Kill, which was a 90s Riot Grrrl band based in Olympia. (for more ideas, see this playlist).
Tickets to the Dixie Chicks concert.
Speaking of kickass musicians, on July 8th 2016, the Dixie Chicks will be back, playing their blend of country and pop music at the Whiteriver Amphitheater South of Seattle. This is the first US tour for the iconic trio in over 10 years. Tickets available at http://www.livenation.com.
A donation to a local organization
There are plenty of local organizations doing amazing work for gender equity. Here are just a few ideas.
NARAL pro-choice Washington “is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Washington state, and we believe that every woman should be able to make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options.”
Feminist Frequency, though not local, is “a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. The video series was created by Anita Sarkeesian in 2009 and largely serves as an educational resource to encourage critical media literacy and provide resources for media makers to improve their works of fiction.”
It goes without saying that all Planned Parenthood locations could use donations at the moment.
The King County YWCA, whose mission is “eliminating racism, empowering women” is another great option.
Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) “is an award-winning, nationally recognized nonprofit that provides holistic services to help refugee and immigrant women and families thrive.”
The Women's Funding Alliance improves the lives of women and girls in Washington State. "We shine a spotlight on the most pressing issues and bring actionable solutions to philanthropy, community-based organizations, business and government."
A membership to the Good Men Project
Though of course anything on this list could be for feminists of any gender, a membership to the Good Men Project is particularly relevant for men. The Good Men Project is “a diverse community of 21st century thought leaders who are actively participating in a conversation about the way men’s roles are changing in modern life—and the way those changes affect everyone.” Though most of their content is free, a membership unlocks bonus content and other perks, plus it supports their work.
For the kiddos
The Dream Big Coloring Book features images of diverse women doing cool things and is fun for all ages and genders.
GoldieBlox, though controversial for initially not including girls of color in their ads, has now expanded with new characters, and just has really cool toys that teach kids to build things and use their imaginations. Again, appropriate for any gender (though marketed to girls).
Finally, Rad American Women from A-Z is a new take on learning the alphabet, featuring, you guessed it, cool women from American history.
There are some fun new comics that appeal to teens (and adults). One is the *new* Ms. Marvel featuring Kamala Khan, the fourth publication of which was just released on November 24. Make sure you get the one featuring Kamala Khan, not Carol Danvers, or you’ll be disappointed.
Lumberjanes is also a keeper. “Friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!”
Not into comics? Here’s Ms. Magazine’s list of books for young feminists, for some more ideas.
Don’t buy anything at all!
Finally, consider not buying anything, and instead learning more about the idea that feminism (or any kind of anti-oppression movement) may not be as compatible with capitalism as we once thought. I’m new to this idea myself, and I’ll be doing a mix of buying material gifts and experiences, and simply spending time with friends and family as a way of opting out of consumerism. You could host your friends or family for a dinner, have a crafts or games night, or compose a thoughtful, handwritten letter to each person. Sometimes those things are worth so much more than an item.
Whatever is your unique way to celebrate the holidays, I hope you have a fabulous time!
With peace and love,