Since the beginning of the modern feminist movement in the early 1970s (and even before), feminism has found an organized home on college campuses, with students acting as powerful voices and agents for change. This continues to be true today, with students at many colleges and universities engaging in feminist activism. However, their approach continues to evolve. These days, intersectionality is key, and many young feminist groups are banding together with like-minded organizations in order to build strong, diverse activist coalitions.
The state of feminist activism on college campuses today is the subject of a new book by Alison Dahl Crossley, entitled Finding Feminism: Millennial Activists and the Unfinished Gender Revolution. In the book Crossley, who is Associate Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, takes a close look at feminist activists at three American colleges: Smith College, the University of California – Santa Barbara, and the University of Minnesota. What she finds is contrary to the portrait many seem hell-bent on painting of millennials as self-absorbed and apathetic. Instead, she chronicles a group of bright and tenacious young women, deeply engaged in social justice issues. It’s enough to give you a little bit of hope for this world, after all.
To sample Crossley’s analysis, check out excerpts from her book at Bust.com. And as the school year rolls around again, it’s a good time to take a look at your own institution. What kind of feminist activism is happening on your campus, and how can you get involved? As we’re reminded every day when we read the news, we need this kind of work just as much now as we did thirty years ago – perhaps even more.