What is Fifty Feminist States?
Fifty Feminist States is a multimedia storytelling project created from interviews with feminist activists across the United States.
The center of the project will be a podcast that tells the stories of feminist struggles for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and rights of all oppressed communities through the voices of the folks fighting those fights. The podcast will emphasize the diversity of feminist activism on three fronts: the issues feminism takes on, the folks approaching those issues, and the ways they choose to tackle them.
Alongside the podcast, Fifty Feminist States will also be a series of zines (handmade, self-published magazines) that visualize the interviews and record the trip, as well as an eventual book of photos and essays. While the podcast will center the voices and work of the activists, the zines and book will be a way for the narrative of the trip to unfold -- bringing together voices across state and regional lines to explore their similarities and differences.
Who is Fifty Feminist States?
Foremost, Fifty Feminist States is the voices of the feminists it features!
Behind that, Amelia Hruby is a writer, podcast producer, and PhD candidate from Chicago who will spend six months traveling to record interviews, produce the podcast, and make the zines and book.
Amelia is writing her dissertation on feminism and philosophy of art, and she has a background in feminist organizing and community building in Chicago. She was the editor of her college newspaper and literary magazine, and she has been interviewing women for years for podcasts that focus on music and creative entrepreneurship.
She is also the author of Fifty Feminist Mantras and has most recently begun organizing feminist creative consciousness gatherings that share art-making practices centered on feminist values. All of these activities and more make her qualified (and excited!) to undertake this project.
Where will Fifty Feminist States go?
Eventually Fifty Feminist States will visit all fifty US states to interview feminist activists in each of them. That said, fifty states is too ambitious for a six-month trip, so this first leg of the project will visit as many states as feasible.
The exact itinerary is still being mapped out, but current cities/regions on the list include: Minneapolis, Santa Fe, Lincoln, Raleigh, Atlanta, upper peninsula Michigan, Portland, New York City, upstate New York, Austin and more!
The ultimate goal is to make the trip's itinerary intentional and responsive to opportunities, invitations, and current events.
What will Fifty Feminist States look + sound like?
Because some of the equipment relies on Kickstarter funding, the look and sound of the project won't be entirely determined until it's underway.
You can see some of Amelia's previous zines here to get a feel for her design work, and here's an audio clip that you a sneak peek of what it might sound like:
Why does the project matter?
Feminism has a long history in the US, but it is experiencing a unique, contemporary resurgence bringing attention to the sexism and misogyny that's rampant in US society and politics.
After the 2016 presidential election, countless white men, women, and allies lamented the white “bubbles” they lived in while expressing confusion about how to break out of them, and countless people of color rightly argued that it wasn’t their responsibility to educate, placate, or build community with white citizens. Months later, millions of women joined the Women’s March, supporting a feminist agenda, even when many of them never embraced or defined the term.
Fifty Feminist States works to fill two pressing gaps here: the gap across the socially-constructed racial boundaries that have segregated citizens, and the gap that splinters women and feminists across the United States, leaving them unable to define their feminisms or relate to other women through the term.
How will this funding help?
This trip is operating on a shoe-string budget (think couchsurfing, camping, and efficient gas mileage) for a six-month endeavor. Radical transparency is an important feminist value, so here's an overview (with numbers!) of the current trip budget.
To get to these numbers, Amelia made a spreadsheet of expected expenses based on her current budget, travel forecast, and project plans. Living expenses include things like health insurance, food, toiletries, and cell phone bill. Travel expenses include lodging, gas, and car insurance, and project expenses include audio equipment, print materials, and the website.
All together this brings the current Fifty Feminist States expenses to a projected $11,200. Amelia has already saved almost all of the money budgeted for living expenses and some travel expenses. This Kickstarter will help raise the remaining money for travel and project expenses.
Why would you want to fund this project?
There are so many reasons! Here are a few that come to mind:
- Because you want to know more about what feminism is and means.
- Because you want to hear what women across the country are doing for other women and oppressed communities.
- Because you want to know what women in your community are doing and are excited to invite Amelia to your city.
- Because you believe in collecting and telling stories, particularly stories of and by women.
- Because you want to support Amelia's work.
Risks and challenges
Barring serious illness, natural disaster or death (yikes!), this project is going to happen! That said, there are always risks and challenges associated with travel, but appropriate insurance has been purchased in case of most of those potential problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)