Salam waleykum, readers! I’m back from the Women, Action & Media! conference in Boston. It was a great conference, with a convergence of female activists, filmmakers, bloggers, writers, and media makers of all kinds. It was positive, enlightening, and educational.
Reflecting about the “Inside/Outside” theme past my previous thoughts, the conference as a whole was a mix of both things. As a Muslim woman, I felt somewhat outside the conference’s main audience, which was mostly white and non-Muslim. But during a lunch caucus, entitled “Women, Religion, and the Media,” I felt like an insider to a small group of somewhat like-minded women: religious feminists who felt like outsiders in the larger feminist narrative. It was wonderful to meet other women of Christian and Jewish faiths (yes, I was the only Muslim woman there) who felt that the dominant feminist narrative was hostile to religious feminism, and who agreed that larger media narratives around religious women portrayed us all as brainwashed, coerced, and oppressed.
During this gathering, I met Robin Abrahams, who revealed that MMW was among website she’d included in the acknowledgements for her upcoming book! Subhanallah, what an honor to know that our site had influenced any woman enough to be given a thank-you in her writing!
Another great part to the conference was meeting other Muslim women. We were few, but I was privileged to meet two very special Muslim women in particular. I met Sabrina Hersi Issa, a Somali-American Muslim woman who currently writes and runs a media firm in Washington, D.C., and has a host of impressive accomplishments on her resume. She spoke on a panel about investigative journalism.
I also met Lily Yulianti Farid, an Indonensian journalist and writer who writes for a global audience and also has zillions of side-projects going. She poke on a panel about global journalism and organizing.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing these two amazing women for MMW. If you have specific questions you’d like me to ask, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All in all, it was a great conference and I’m going to give some serious thought to attending again next year. Any readers’ thoughts on WAM!? Has anyone been there before? Were you there this time and we didn’t get to meet? What were your impressions, etc.? Semi-open thread! Share your thoughts and feelings.
Also, an apology for the MMW craziness lately. With traveling and shuffling around contributors, things have gotten a bit mixed up. But we’re getting back on track in the coming weeks, with some exciting new perspectives. Thanks for your patience and understanding.