- Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists ed. by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan
Based on the idea first set forth in a 1971 Ms. magazine cover story by Jane Reilly, Click is a collection of essays chronicling the myriad ways people have come to identify as feminists in the last quarter of a century. In the introduction, Martin and Sullivan describe how they began this book by asking feminists for submissions of their personal stories. What they got was a broad range of essays describing feminist identities that ceases to be like any other American feminist anthology. Rather than offering a collection of academic articles on the social climate or state of modern feminism, this book contains voices that are more conversational and therefore more inviting to the reader. Its relatability makes it easier for students to understand the motivations of feminists on a more personal level than other common feminist texts might because it addresses the emotional context of the movement, as well as the political.
This collection touts big names in Third Wave/post-feminism, from Jennifer Baumgartner and Amy Richards (of Manifesta fame) to Sophie Pollitt-Cohen, daughter of Katha Pollitt. The beauty of this collection, however, resides in the inclusion of lesser-known people, making this book accessible to everyone, not just those who are well-versed in women’s studies and the feminist movement. Because these people are from very diverse backgrounds, the unique voices are able to reach a broader spectrum of people just coming into feminism.
While there isn’t a hard focus on pedagogy, the learning experiences for each individual are tantamount to understanding how a feminist teacher can impact the mind—and life—of a budding feminist. Each essay shows how the guidance of teachers and friends who understood feminism and its ideals brought the essayists [End Page 162] to their new identification. Because many of the pieces here involve feminists coming of age, Click can help feminist teachers to enter the mind of the modern student who questions just about everything, including his or her role in society and the feminist movement. By gleaning such insight, feminist teachers can garner a better understanding of how their roles as educators and mentors affect these students, and therefore become better equipped to help them learn.
Used in whole in a college classroom, or as selections in a high school classroom (as some essays contain strong language and/or content) feminist teachers can use these essays to engage students in a dialogue about modern feminism and how it relates to their experiences and identities. For example, in “On Reading Katie Roiphe,” Rebecca Traister describes a strong “feminist” upbringing that forbade Barbie dolls and encouraged political activism. It was not her childhood that helped her identify herself as a feminist, however; instead, it was the moment of finding a copy of Roiphe’s The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus on a bedroom floor in a fraternity house: “I felt a roiling discomfort, as a realization dawned: Conversations about women and power didn’t just take place in Washington or in The New York Times or in voting booths. They were happening all around” (202). While finding Roiphe’s book did not turn Traister into a staunch feminist activist, she acknowledges that this “click moment” helped her to recognize and confront her beliefs as a feminist. Like Traister, it is likely that many students experience moments that ask them to reconsider their positions on confusing topics in feminism. Click offers feminist teachers a way to familiarize themselves with the confusion students may feel. Equipped with this knowledge, they may be better equipped to aid their students in exploring and answering their questions about feminism.
Students reading this collection will be able to find kindred spirits in its pages, because many of the essayists are addressing the same confusion of how to give a name to their convictions. Feminist teachers can encourage discussion by assigning specific essays and asking questions: Joshunda Sanders’s...