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Times always seem to be especially trying for those of us committed to transnationally eradicating anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics both publicly and privately. Like most years, 2013 has been especially challenging, and the year is not yet over.
Admittedly, we’ve had a lot to celebrate. For example, Editorial Collective (EC) member Darnell L. Moore helped launch “Ring the Bell,” a movement that combats violence against women, several EC members learned that we would be sharing our work at the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), and EC member Andrea Plaid was featured on the Melissa Harris Perry show and was instrumental in convincing The New York Times to “Drop the I-Word.”
On the other hand, we’ve experienced more than our fair share of anger and frustration. We mourned Hadiya Pendleton, defended the racist and sexist attacks against Quvenzhané Wallis, struggled with the Steubenville rape case, featured the NRA on our recently implemented “Wall of Shame” for promoting a company that sells a shooting target that is supposed to represent the shooter’s “ex-girlfriend,” and ached deeply as the FBI—with the support of President Obama and Attorney General Holder—placed Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted List.”
Part of our mission declares that we seek to valorize, sustain, and “create alternative frameworks to build a just and equitable society.” During times such as these—times of celebration and despair—we all agree that love is a necessity. It is important to point out, however, that feminists have long been thinking about the importance of love and its relationship to the work we do, as well as our personal lives. June Jordan once said:
I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black. It means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.
We, like Jordan, recognize that in order to affect the most progressive kind of change, we must embrace love for the self. We also recognize that love is as much an action as it is a feeling, and this requires the kind of care and attention that we often don’t allow ourselves time to understand and practice. Along those lines, bell hooks once said,
Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment…dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love, which is to transform us. Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.
The “Love as a Radical Act” forum, then, asks us to articulate and re-conceptualize the meaning and importance of love for self, for each other, and for community. What models do we have for the kind of love that is conducive to feminist and womanist ontologies and epistemologies? How might we reimagine these models in order to reflect contemporary concerns? What existing forces pose the most concerning challenges for feminist and womanist love for self, others, and community? How might we effectively resist these challenges? We hope that you will join us for open, forthright, and healthy, but admittedly difficult, dialogue by addressing these and other important questions related to love as a concept, emotion, and action.
Please submit unpublished poetry, fiction (original), memoir, drama, visual art, film, design, and works that cross generic boundaries, essays, op-eds, and Love Notes to Submittable by August 9, 2013. You may be wondering about “Love Notes.” In these times of growing skepticism and mounting critique rightly aimed at the myriad forms of structural conditions that negatively impact women and children around the world, we recognize the need for self-care and acts of love-making within our communities. Thus, “Love Notes” create spaces on The Feminist Wire where we can counteract the violence of oppressions through offerings of praise, support, solidarity, and love. It is a radical space where we, for once, seek to forego the use of the “master’s tools” (i.e. war, in-fighting, communal dissolution, hatred, separation, and prejudices) by employing a different and revolutionary tactic, namely, love.
Please also include a brief biography (approximately 150 words) and a photograph. Finally, please mark your submission “Love Forum” so that we can easily identify your work.
We look forward to receiving your submissions!
The Feminist Wire Editorial Collective