Guerrilla: a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines.
Guerrilla Feminism is not about violence. It's about utilizing the element of surprise. We paper/graffiti our cities with feminism, unbeknownst to the mainstream community. This is not a one day activist endeavor--it's everyday activism, so that we may seep into the mainstream psyche; little by little. Even if this never happens, we're still showing our existence. We're creating visibility.
In 2011, I started printing out words, pictures, phrases that were feminist in nature. At the time, much of what I printed were slogans like, "Rape is Rape" in all capital letters, or images from girlVIRUS--powerful things that got people's attention. I began papering my city with these phrases and pictures. I would leave wallet-sized "feminism" on trains, buses, newspaper stands, etc. The idea was to get feminism out to the masses, without the masses necessarily knowing it was feminism, or from a feminist framework. The idea was to showcase truth.
My intention with Guerrilla Feminism is not necessarily to "convert" people to feminism (though, if it happens, that's awesome), but rather to create a dialogue in various communities about women's and gender issues. My intention is to get people talking--especially about things they may not have talked about previously. The things posted around town can serve as conversation-starters.
I am not shying away from using the word "Feminist" or "Feminism" in postings around town--far from it. However, I do know that the word itself connotes something negative. Much of this fear is about the unknown. Much of it is just plain ignorance. Either way, I'm not trying to "hide" that my endeavor is a feminist one, rather, I'm hoping people take it in, not necessarily knowing it as feminist, as that language may not be part of their vocabulary yet.
I started a Facebook group for Guerrilla Feminism, and it blew up. The current number of "Likes" is: 7,234. It's amazing. I'm not sure how many of these people are actually posting feminism in their cities, but, regardless, it's nice to have this giant internet community. I've learned a lot of things by being the main (and for a while, the sole) moderator of an internet community board. The page is consistently hassled by anti-feminist "trolls", who enjoy posting their ancient brand of sexism like, "Hey women, go make me a sandwich" (I'm not kidding). I've also had individuals claim that I am not being "fair" by whom I ban from the page. I have little patience for stupidity, sexism, anti-feminism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. If I see ANY of this, and can tell is it coming from an ignorant, unsupportive, asshole place, I automatically ban the person. I've had people accuse me of "preaching to the choir." Well? So, what? I look at it this way: the majority of my relatives are staunch republicans--will I be able to sway them to "my" side? No. Will they be able to sway me to their side? No. Guerrilla Feminism is not about changing people's opinions, or like I said earlier, "converting" people; it's about creating a dialogue. It's about showing people we exist. It's also about creating discourse with each other. This dialogue can stay within the confines of the group; it can go outside of the group, etc. It is not my job to educate people on feminism, especially those who don't give a shit about it. If someone has a genuine interest in it, I have no problem showing them where to start. It all comes back to patriarchy and the interlocking systems of oppression. Why are the oppressed required to educate the oppressor? It's unfortunate that there aren't more members of our society working to better understand racism, sexism, cissexism, homophobia, ableism, and classism. It's also unfortunate that not everyone can admit that they receive privileges because of these systems of oppression. Personally, I recognize the privileges I do have, and I speak, write, act, think, and live from this place.
If anything, my hope for Guerrilla Feminism is that feminists will further educate themselves, and share their own, varying perspectives. I think that, too often, if you identify as "feminist", you are pigeon-holed into this one, tiny space. Certainly, if you're a feminist, you know there are some things that all feminists agree on--which is what makes you a feminist to some degree. However, there are so many different types of feminism and feminists; I want this to receive some glimmer and shimmer.