Conference Evaluations

Of the 86 registered Conference participants, Redstockings received 26 evaluations – 17 signed and 9 unsigned. We have posted all anonymously on the blog so as to give each an equal weight and to protect the confidentiality of those who asked for it. We’ve given each response a number and have alternated the colors to make them easier to distinguish.

With your evaluations, we can all move forward with a more focused understanding of the conference’s strengths and weaknesses.  Please send in your evaluations by clicking here!

 

Number #1

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– For the most part, order was kept.
– Great panel choices.
– Amazing safety; Thank you for vegan consideration.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– At the end there was less order + people not going out into the hall to talk.
– No discussion of how trans theory is dangerous to the women’s movement.
– Nothing; very well organized and thank you.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I think I’ve had a lot confirmed.
– Lots of organizations and essays to look up.
– Picked up on great expressions.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Rape, male professors in philosophy, men pretending to be an ally but looking to use my body, the coopting of feminism.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– read more beforehand about Shulamith/panelists/came with reflection supplement, my concerns.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– None.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– Vegan-only food have been the best. We don’t need to eat them or their products, truly. Esp. not today. One day cheaper, too.

Number #2

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Diversity of all kinds – countries (very much enjoyed China and Canada), races, ethnic origins, sexual orientations, incomes, age.
– Deep thinking.
– The organization was superb! (I was called one of the organizers, but I didn’t do a lot)

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Sitting down for so long – Morning and afternoon breaks needed.
– No discussion of Shulie’s views.
– Lunch line was too long – next time could there have been a line on each side of the food table?

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

–  Yes!
A.    The feminist movement in Canada and women under communism in China.
B.    Most women agreed that we need a new economic system (actually, I kind of knew that all women invited would be against American type capitalism)

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– How can women protect their children? No one cares – they say it’s “he said, she said.”

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Less work that kept me very busy beforehand so I couldn’t do the readings or get enough sleep.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Decided to charge more for the conference. Now I am worried (and always was) about whether the conference lost money and where it’s coming from.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– The “talks” that were given should be transcribed and put in a book, with other pieces also written to be added.

Number #3

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing from so many current radical feminists.
– I ended up liking the way the time-structured plan facilitated much wider participation from the women present.
– It seemed pretty flawlessly and seamlessly organized – in terms of place, meals, etc. This meant all the participants could concentrate on what we were supposed to be there for!

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Many women spoke, but not all. I would like to see some methods developed which would iterate this. The most obvious technique would be to not only limit the length of time each spoke, but perhaps the number of times any one woman in one session would speak.
– The mikes were problematic and, while this was fixed repeatedly, it was still a distraction from the primary work.
– The second session, including myself, strayed from the specific questions we were assigned.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

–  The conference showed me that even in the radical wing of this movement it APPEARS (don’t know if this is true) that we have a number of different foci that need further exploration. Hopefully, there could be greater clarification by further discussion. I’m thinking particularly about the anti-porn vs. the economic emphasis. By the end of Saturday I felt, Rachel Ivey, for example, felt adrift and alienated. And by the end of Sunday, I sensed that Gail Dines was also losing her footing in the discussion. On reflection, I believe part of this problem is due to the fact that most of us old-timers use a lot of “jargon.” WE understand these words as a kind of shorthand for certain theories but it’s not necessarily so that others understand our terminology similarly.
– Single-issue politics in women’s liberation seems pre-dominant. We need to show why this is dangerous.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Insecurity. Financial and healthwise.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Been feeling stronger.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– I can’t think of what more you could have done, except what I mentioned about facilitating greater participation.

 

Number #4

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing from veteran activists.
– Conclusion discussion.
– Having such strong activists all in one room together.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Frustration that theres no game plan going forward and no next thing to carry momentum forward.
– Women using their time to plug their organizations rather than stay on topic.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I think Ti-Grace’s “9 pin” analogy was really helpful.
– We need to figure out how to juggle need for alliances and political differences.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Constantly struggling to be taken seriously by all men – at work, on the street, on the subway, on the internet, etc.
– Bringing potential children into a world that has such a contempt for those who try to improve the lives of future generations.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Read Lenin!

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Encouraged people to stay on topic – but I know this is SO hard.

Number #5

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Loved the power in the room
– Loved all of the issues that were raised.
– The integration of women of color on the panel. I loved their very important analysis of the issues.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Lesbian and bisexual invisibility.
– No lesbian or bisexual visibility on the panel.
– Too much time given to the panelists. They were treated as the elite.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– The need for spirituality in the WLM.
– That psychiatrically labeled and institutionalized and incarcerated women are still silenced.
– We didn’t touch on the trafficking of women and children.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Motherhood. Did I do well? How could I have done better?

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Could have been 2 days instead of 1

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Broken up the audience into small groups and done some real CR.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– Thank you for providing security. Thank you for providing the food.

Number #6

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– The variety and extent of activism in the room.
– The women of color in leading roles.
– That we all share a love and commitment to women.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– So little acknowledgement of lesbians.
– Reading papers instead of telling stories.
– Not one mention of women’s (lesbian) culture or music that was crucial in bringing women together for 3 decades!! (Shame!)

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– non-lesbians need to stand up for lesbians more.
– Knowing that radical feminism is alive and will be carried on.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– being coopted and colonized by men claiming to be women and their female allies.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– read more of Shulamith’s work.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Identified how old the women were and where they came from.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– it’s a tough, complicated subject and I believe that everything is in too much of a flux to be able to find one universal “9 pin.”

Number #7

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Exposure to longterm/medium term/newterm feminist women + their work.
– Fresh (to me) ideas about feminist work – aging, women communes.
– Learning new theoretical theories.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Lack of aboriginal women/issues.
– Lack of worldwide issues: migrant women workers/trafficking/VAW
– Pushing of individuals’ work/NGO/publications

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Yes. aging + environmental action.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Doing activism while supporting myself + managing a critical illness.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Read more of the advanced readings.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– More diversity.
– Sent reading list much more in advance.

Number #8

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Getting together with like-minded women to discuss key strategy questions re: building women’s liberation mvt.
– Participations of so many speakers + audience participation.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Attempt to deal with complex questions in such a short period of time.

Did you learn anything that you think will  help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Raised more questions about how to advance to point where we can answer what is to be done.

Number #9

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Happy as is.
– Enjoyed listening to active feminists.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Topics.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Much.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Economics.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– Aging issues need to be addressed.

Number #10

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing from long-time veterans.
– Hearing disagreements and reasons behind them.
– Hearing from SO many women.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– People not sticking to testimony.
– A lack of discussion/recognition of Firestone.

– LONG.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I need to process, but yes I think it confirmed thoughts about some theories and gave me some ideas about moving forward.
– We need to get our writing out.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Time is always an issue. Never feels like people are given enough time and the whole conference feels very long.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Not been running all over the room and trying to cut people off. Maybe more structure.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– It was well organized and went well considering. I wish we could have done better w/ MC + time. Asking clarifying questions.

Number #11

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing from some sharp great veterans
– The people in the morning were pretty honest – Ti-Grace was fantastic.
– The civil rights veterans

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– I feel pretty depressed that I sat here all day and we can’t (some of us) agree we have enemies or are oppressed. It feels enormous to think we don’t have basic level agreement. That’s serious ground we lost to acknowledge oppressors.
– I thought the floor was not helpful in the afternoon. No one kept it to personal experience.
– Too much from same people on panel.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Good to hear from many radical organizers and different perspectives.
– I learned that no one is quite clear on the target (the 9 pin) and no one knows how to agree or get there.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– How do we build a mass movement?

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Been able to read all the readings.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Kept/made floor people speak only from experience. It felt like wasted time.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– Way, way, way too much about porn.

Number #12

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing/seeing the enthusiasm and activism of young women.
– The level of analysis and wisdom of women who have remained active over the years.
– Seeing old friends!

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Not much.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Probably but I need to digest it.

 

Number #13

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing various ideas of what is to be done.
– Hearing the process of transformations of panelists.
– Having so many high level scholars and activists in one room.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Lack of time
– Lack of audience participation.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Learned that more women and feminists than I had realized have an understanding of the harms of porn and the need for socialist revolution and not to underestimate peoples understanding of both of these things.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Why is feminism always the best option of how to identify politically? How far can it get women?

Number #14

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Hearing voices and thoughts of sisters I’ve worked with, studied for decades.
– Ditto voices and thoughts of women who have joined this movement more recently.
– The impeccable set up and timing and clarity of schedule. Made it stress free and fair and always alive.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Brevity of time, prevented small break-out groups from forming to have more interactive dialogue.
– Lack of admin scale – propose one be drawn up, circulated prior to next conference and then discussed.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– That many courageous brilliant women are alive, well, and committed to continuing to work for real women’s liberation.
– That there is clarity on how PORN is economic exploitation and slavery – and not sexual freedom.

Number #15

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Intergenerational mix – hearing from youngest generation of feminists.
– Organized format – pretty well run overall. Use of  “stack” worked well, and seemed fair.
– Reflections by older feminists especially testimony of Fran Beal.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Formulaic approach to “women’s liberation,” assuming a unity of interest among all women; lack of historical understanding of how social movements grow out of economic and political changes. Lack of attention to the rich discussion over thirty or more years about how Marxism and feminism are in dialogue.
– Crazy to talk about “revolution” in a period of such repression and rollback. Chinese and Russian revolutions grew out of war and occupations.
– Crazy to talk about a nine-pin approach as though a complex social structure like that of the United Stated can be tackled with a single issue or at a single point.
– No serious and complex analysis of the divergent interests among women, given class, race, ethnic divergences, not to mention sexuality and immigration status. Assumption that “all women” have the same goals, needs experiences.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I got a better sense of what some factions of women’s movement are concentrating on such as pornography. But felt that participants were not sufficiently aware of how old these fights are within feminism and how divided people still are (on sex work, for example).

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– I don’t really have one. I feel I have been lucky and successful in my life as a result of feminism.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– See above; I feel that the conference was framed in a narrow way, as noted.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– I felt that the dialogue over a birth strike, with the patient reply by Loretta Ross, showed that the lack of understanding of these issues among women of color by white feminists has continued into the new generation.  Is it not obvious that poor Black women, especially incarcerated women, have a need and a right to have and keep their babies? I found this lack of empathy and understanding deeply depressing.

Number #16

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Meeting radical feminists whose work I had read before and admired.
– The fact that we could discuss and disagree on issues without getting ugly or personal.
– Good security and safety measures.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I learned more about racism and capitalism and how it hurts women.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– What will it take for men to realize/understand that I am human to the same quality and degree as them?

Number #17

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Panel testifiers testimony.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Length.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Good to learn how different women react to the ideas.
– Important to start hashing out the birthstrike idea and getting the birthrate theory out.

Number #18

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Refreshingly new voices (new to me) of strong positions.
– Variety and diversity of panel (tho little open to disagreement or challenge).
– Success in moving it along smoothly.
– Respect shown to everyone. Loved the opening q’s when people stood up in the audience (age, movement, list of experience)

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– The seeming unanimity about pornography, etc. and no challenge or diversity of opinion about these issues.
– Failure to discuss trans and need for secrecy issues, which were in the air but mostly unspoken. Would have liked a conference open to everyone, though I understand why you didn’t open it.
– Went on a little too long.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Importance to (some) young women of fresh “intersectionalities” of WL and environmentalism and “resource extraction,” etc.
– Coalitional ideas, esp of Loretta and other African American panelists.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– (As an old woman) Ageism and caregiving and lack of public or financial resources for longterm care – which will affect increasingly large numbers of people. Comparable to lack of resources for single (and other) mothers. These should always be linked.

Number #19

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Some great speakers with interesting ideas.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– I can’t in good conscious stay silent about what wreaks of oppression and the classification of some of being worthy of being a “real” woman. Sex/gender is fluid and complex. If we fight for bodily autonomy, we simply cannot exclude other human beings from this same right. This hierarchical categorizing is the model we seek to overcome as feminists. I cannot support an organization who endorses this.

Number #20

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– The combination of young and older women.
– The brilliance of the speakers.
– Timekeepers

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Triple locations but lax security.
– Responders sometimes not responding to speakers
– Honestly, the food line – not worth $10.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Yes. how far we have to go.
– Attacks by trans folks.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Bodily autonomy. Older poor activist with no income.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– The readings more in advance.

Number #21

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– the panelists were very well selected. At first I was taken aback by the lack of a circular, participatory setting, but I think the organizers were right to have it be more condensed so lessons can be learned and conclusions drawn.
– Dinner was a great idea to cement friendships.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Was less participatory than I would have liked.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– yes, gotta clear out now. Will take a few days to congeal.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– How can we build alliances broad and strong enough to defeat the money power and military regime asap so we can prevent global degredation and save lives of Kenyans, Ugandans, etc. etc. etc.

 

Number #22

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– The presentations by the first testifers.
– The conclusions section.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– The audience questions discussion. I wish there had been time for the first testifiers and responders to have more of a back and forth debate with each other. That happened more in the conclusions section and I was glad. Also more explicityly talking about what we agree / disagree on – someone would have even written it on a board somewhere. And more concrete proposals on what to do. Perhaps required first testifiers to submit papers beforehand, so we could have debated more in the conference.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Finding a husband or boyfriend who values me as an equal, really wants to know me, loves me for my intellect, will do emotional work – and will raise kids with me. ** this is right now in my life – it may change later if I have a different job or when I have kids.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Had time to do the readings, or been required to write something.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– They were great!

Number #23

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Variety of speakers – so many of the “old guard.”
– Audience participation.
– Bringing up of excluded analyses/thoughts by audience, eg. Lesbianism, spectre of forced impregnation/birthing.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– The issues that weren’t brought up at all or till the end. Eg, compulsory heterosexuality, mandatory PIV, lesbianism, indigenous women.
– It had to be kept secret (Not redstockings’ fault)
– Very set timeline – maybe 2 days would have been better? … But thx for putting it on!

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– More about reproductive justice.
– Seeing what diff + uniting issues women had.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– navigation of sexuality + reproduction + “femaleness” (eg. Menstruation) under male/white/capitalist/mandatory PIV control.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– more time for small group convo.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– more time for us to conference.

 

Number #24

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Connecting with radical women, especially anti-porn women.
– Seeing women of color on the panel, also very few.
– Discussion of anti-Muslim sentiments within feminist movement.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Lack of women of color; almost 100 people but less than 10 women of color.
– The transphobia from Loretta and others, extremely disappointing and makes me not want to associate with this group.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– How transphobic so many self-proclaimed feminists are and how they oppress the same way they accuse white men of oppressing.

The biggest question/concern I have in my life as a woman is:

– Ending the intersectional ways we are all oppressed.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Spoken up about transphobia as soon as Loretta said something.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– Reached out to more women of color and dealt with the transphobia.

Additional comments and criticisms:

– So much talk of intersectionality, yet so much transphobia, 1 in 1500 to 2000 people are born intersex, which means about 200,000 people in America alone could be transgender, you want to exclude 200,000 people, yet claim to be intersectional and radical feminists.

Number #25

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Well organized, which can’t be understated.
– Intergenerational.
-Multiple racial/ethnic diversities.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– I am not familiar with some of the political ideas, and many of the speakers’ content was based on that familiarity.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– I will have to digest it but I took 9 pages of notes, front and back.

I could have gotten more out of the event if I had:

– Known about it earlier.

I could have gotten more out of the event if the organizers had:

– A little more info about timing, lunch, etc. Practical things.

Number #26

The things I liked best about the conference were:

– Well spoken panelists, I mean seriously well spoken.
– Safe space w/o even having to say so. Pure respect.
– The organization and exclusivity that helped foster this space. Points were developed, elaborated and revisited enough.

The things I liked least about the conference were:

– Getting hungry again (my own fault, I could have brought snacks)
– Not many people my age who could be enlightened the way I was.

Did you learn anything that you think will help you in the fight for women’s liberation?

– Articulation in regards to your audience.
– Always be willing to respectfully engage.

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