Caribbean Feminist Digital Activism in a Post-Feminist Age

Trinidad & Tobago’s College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T will be offering daycare facilities to it’s students soon. YAY!  At the time of making this announcement, one of the College’s administrators insisted that they did not want to be seen as “the one championing everything for the woman in the classroom.” They insisted that the daycare facilities would be to the benefit of both women and men.  And of course they should be.  I highlight that comment, however, because it demonstrates how difficult articulating anything that would be to the benefit of women is in the region.  The strategy around the pervasive anti-feminist backlash has been to couch all gender in/equality issues in gender neutral, post-feminist language.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the Caribbean online spaces where feminism is not a dirty word:

Online Groups & Pages

WOMANTRA: This group has been created for all womyn who are interested in sharing experiences, links, ideas … ANYTHING. We hope that this space is utilized not only as a networking tool but also to share, spread and gain from the knowledge that sisters have taken time and initiative to put forward. WE hope that posts will create discussion among members around the issues that affect us.

WomenSpeak Project: The WomenSpeak Project encourages women in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean Region to tell their stories of discrimination – in the home, in the workplace and in the public domain.

Speak Up & Out: The facebook page of a Poster/Photography Exhibition on intimate partner violence running from 24th Oct – 10th Dec in Grenada.  The page provides daily updates on domestic violence and gender equality issues in the region.

Walking into Walls is for every Caribbean woman who had to explain her beatings and bruises by claiming that she walked into a wall. This social media campaign has its roots in a 2012 regional meeting organised by the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWiL). It was developed by four passionate, committed Caribbean women who are tired of the walls that are routinely hit in the struggle to end violence against women. There are awesome and super active, updating the page constantly!

Guyanese Sisters is a closed facebook group for women only.

On-the-Ground Feminist Orgs 

Many other Caribbean feminist organisations with long histories of hard work on the ground also have online spaces, usually facebook pages.  I am concerned about the survival of these Caribbean feminist online spaces as facebook’s ever-changing policies seek to monetise every aspect of the facebook experience.  These organisations cannot afford to pay to promote their content.

Here are the facebook pages of notable Caribbean women’s/feminist organisations:

Women’s Media Watch of Jamaica

Haiti’s KOFAVIV which was selected as a top 10 CNN Hero.

Sistren Theatre Collective of Jamaica

Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (Trinidad & Tobago)

Feminist Blogs

There are also feminist blogs from the region like Add Fyah and Stir (Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts, T&T), Paula Lindo’s blog and Creative Commess (T&T) and And Still I Rise (St. Vincent & the Grenadines). Diary of a Mothering Worker by T&T feminist-mommy-worker-academic, Gabrielle Hosein, is now also published in the mainstream press.  Carolyn Cooper’s Jamaica Woman Tongue tackles race, language and everyday life in Jamaica and beyond.

Feminism in the Mainstream

Of course, Caribbean feminist voices are also found in mainstream digital spaces such as newspapers and magazines. Outlish magazine has been doing an excellent job of opening up spaces for both young women and men to discuss gender issues.  Stabroek News’ In the Diaspora Column edited by Toronto-based Guyanese scholar-activist, Alissa Trotz, gives a wide, mainstream audience to a range of social, political and development issues including state violence, violence against women, homophobia, masculinity and feminism in the region.

Feminist Twitterati 

You can also follow feminists from the region on twitter: @kennibay is Head of St. Lucia’s only LGBT rights organisation, United and Strong, and was recently profiled as one of St. Lucia’s top 10 women in the public eye.  There’s the wildly popular @mooremayhem who brings her critical eye and comedic wit to a range of issues (she’s on youtube, facebook and blogs on wordpress as well, just google Carla Moore). @fridafund is a young feminist fund coordinated by a twentysomething activist with roots in many places including the Caribbean.

LGBT Rights Activism
Trinidad and Tobago’s Coalition for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) and Jamaica’s Forum for Lesbian’s All Sexuals and Gays are both very active online and off. Barbados GLAD is a very recent LGBT online space and of course, there are many other private groups.

Theorising Homophobias in the Caribbean is a multimedia collection offering up everything from art, activist reports and academic articles.

And there’s us!
A team of five (women and men) keeps our facebook page updated and diverse in its range of issues covered. Sometimes we wonder if anybody’s listening and if we will survive facebook policies which threaten zero-budget organisations like ours.  Nonetheless, we’re still active and growing on twitter. Earlier this year we held our first regional feminist meet-up and intend to follow up with on-the-ground in country activities. You can sign on to the CatchAFyah Caribbean feminist network here.

Please drop us a line in the comments and tell us about other digital Caribbean feminist and LGBT spaces we should know about!  (We want to know about men’s groups too!) We’ll update this page with all your suggestions!  Let’s grow this digital feminist archive!