5 Ways To Strengthen Your Feminism IRL

The future of feminism has been declared digital, but the impact of IRL interaction can never be replaced. According to feminist grande dame Gloria Steinem, going offline is crucial for the movement's continued success. Her latest book, My Life On The Road, offers predictions for the future of feminism, according to an excerpt published in Quartz. She writes: "people in the same room understand and empathize with each other in a way that isn’t possible on the page or screen.” While this statement might seem a bit obvious, it is a vital reminder that internet interaction alone can't further feminist goals.

Granted, without online feminism we wouldn't have a plurality of intersectional voices weighing in on cultural and political issues 24/7, nor would we have the hashtags that carry real world weight, like #solidarityisforwhitewomen, #effyourbeautystandards, and #rapecultureiswhen. But once these statements are made online, it's on us to carry that knowledge into our everyday lives.

So even if you're not a fan of Steinem's (her history of transphobia and sex negativity is indeed problematic), her life's work is still valuable, and her advice for the future of feminism is spot on. Here are five ways to strengthen your feminism IRL:

1. Vote

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The kind of voting you do online or via phone is only going to help your picks on DWTS or The Voice. The kind of voting you do in person is the only kind that helps elect representatives into office who make women's rights a priority.

2. Support Feminist Businesses

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Dropping into your local feminist/anarchist/queer book shop is one way to put your money where your mouth is. Even if you don't buy anything, you're likely to hear about feminist events, meetups, and protests that might be of interest.

3. Attend Feminist Art Shows

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Shows featuring feminist artists in museums may cost money, but most smaller scale feminist art shows are free. Visual representations of powerful political ideas are always more moving in person — and the free wine and beer doesn't hurt, either.

4. Join Feminist Protests

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Some are the protesting kind, and some aren't, but it's pretty important for any card carrying feminist to check out an IRL protest at least once in their lives, whether it be one supporting Planned Parenthood, or one supporting Black Lives Matter. You're likely to interact with other likeminded folks and might even learn a thing or two in the process.

5. Organize A Feminist Gathering

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You can organize an official feminist gathering in your area with strangers, or you can turn your weekend brunching with friends into an unofficial feminist meetup where you swap stories about everyday sexism, strengthen your lady bonds, and debate the latest political and pop cultural victories.

Images: Unsplash; Giphy (5)