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Thomas Elder
Dr. Rehm
WMST 404
Term Paper
December 18, 2013
What is F-Word Live Supposed to be?
The college campus is the birthplace for many of the feminist actions in the past. The
college campus has continues to be a place for revolutionary ideals. These ideas were and are
not limited to feminism. There have been ideas related to capitalism, racism, immigration, and
much wider thing like business. The university of Idaho is no different from any of the other
campuses. There are many people and organizations that have work on this campus to fight for
their own movements and ideas. One of the organizations is the Woman Center which is
affiliated with the University of Idaho. One of the events that they put on every year is F-Word
Live (F-Word). This is one of the few events that let all sorts of feminists from across the
campus can come together. This allows every single one of them to gain new insight to
feminism. This idea did not originate from the women's center.
F-Word Live has been changed hands a few different times in its life. The first group to
hold this event was a student organization called FLAME. They were the first feminist action
group on campus. There goal was a group was to talk about feminism as a whole. The majority
of their work was academic in nature. The topics which they discussed very from way is the
movement was mainly white to how does race work with feminism. The groups was getting the
feeling like many feminist group do about the difference between theory and action. Bell hooks

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saw a similar thing in her life which she described as not interested all this theory and
rhetoric,all this talk, that she was more interested in action, in doing something, that she was
tired of all the talk. This is way they came up with the idea of The F-Word Live. This event
would let everyone to come together and share theory. This event finally got started in 2005.
Which was a big hit in the community of feminist at the time. So they decided to make it
annually thing.
FLAME did not last for ever, the group ended (or flamed out as people say) for a variety
of different reasons. When the finally ended a newly formed group took it over. This group was
named the Feminist Collision. This group was not as active as the older FLAME but they did
keep up all of the events that FLAME started. They did not add much more to the event before
they also died out. Once they were gone one more group took over the event. This group on the
other hand was a little different from the other once. The new group was the Womens Center.
The Womens Center was which is part of the University of Idaho. They now hold the event
every year now.
The Womens Center did make one change to the event this year. In years past the
event was about solidarity. This meant that this gives everyone a safe place to come together.
This year the Womens Center made this event a coalition one. Which is different from throm
that of solidarity. Coalition bring together different types of people from all walks of life to talk
and work with one another. Coalition work is not work done in your home. Coalition work has
to be done in the streets. And it is some of the most dangerous work you can do. And you
shouldnt look for comfort (Reagon, 503). This is type of work is what makes the movement

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movie forward. This is one of the main reason the Women's Center decided to make the
change this year.
The change in the event was shown by how the event was planned and ran. To start off
the planning of the event Colleen Kulesza had to have a call for artist. To get the artist to come
she put up poster throughout campus, posted on facebook, posted on the Womens Center
website, and told teachers about the event. This is how they got the word out before. This year
they had some trouble with getting artist for the event. So they decided to move the event back
to let more artist to come forward. These strategies worked and gave the Womens Center the
artist need to put on the event. This did not mean that every sigml artist who asked to perform
got the chance. The artist had to give the poem that ze wanted to perform. This was done so
the womens Center cold make sure that no one would say anything that was not in the spirit of
the event. Some of the things that would have been rejected would of been something that was
misogynistic. This little rule was lifted for the last few artist but they were heard live by members
of the Womens Centers staff.
So when The night started off with all of the people in the audience and the other parties
think that we all share the same ideas. To make it simple over one at the event was ready for a
solidarity event. Everything was changed once the event started. Dr. Traci Craig was the master
of ceremonies and gave a short introduction to the event. Telling everyone that the event was a
poetry slam and how slam is different from a reading. Once she was done with the introduction
she shared one of her own poems. This market the real beginning to the event.
The artist that made up the event wer woman. There were a few man in the group that

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performed at the event. Each person who went up to share their piece gave a short introduction
to their piece. Once down with their intro and introducing themselves they began performing.
Some of the people were first timers and others were vaers of the stage. It did not matter who
they were, each one gave their best. When each artist was performing there pieces the
audience listened and gave compliments to the parties in the form of yes, mmmm, or
preach. This was done for every single person. Once everyone had their chance to perform,
Dr. Craig gave some closing words.

When the event was all over people started to talk about what happened and they

shared their opinions on the pieces. Most people a great with Dr. Traci who said that There
was a common theme of violations and assault. This gave the whole event a gloomy feel.
There was a few different piece that did not fit the pattern of gloom. One of the pieces that stood
out from the rest was the poems performed by Jackie Sandmeyer. The last one that was
perform was about love and how that made her feel. This let the whole event end on a happy
note. Sandmeyer was one of the versions of the stage. She had perform in the F-Word in past
years. This gave her the skill to perform the piece. It also gave her the ability to read the
audience. She notice that the audience was getting a heavy feeling. So she choose to perform
a happier poem to bring everyone back to life. This was like by everyone no matter their stance
on the rest of the other artist.
On the other hand there were arist that did not go over well with everyone. The artist
that did not go over well all had a common theme of being male feminist. Some people in the
audience would agree with Kevin Powell when he says Just as I feel it is whites who need to be

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more vociferous about racism in their communities, I feel it is men who need to speak long and
loud about sexism among ourselves. So when man went up on stage they were happy to see
man fighting along with them. I was one of the male feminists fighting and sharing my words
with everyone.
My experience trying to find my focus was as Audre Lorde put it. youre never really a
whole person if you remain silent because theres always that one little piece inside you that
wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and
hotter, and if you dont speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the
inside. So when I heard about this event I had to speak up and share my story with others. I
had to take sometime to think about what was really happening in my life as a feminist. I also
wanted to uses the knowledge I have learned from feminist theory in this poem. When I was
writing this there were two lines that floated around my head. The first was from bell hooks any
theory that cannot be shared in everyday conversation cannot be used to educate the public.
This made me make sure to uses laughs that was straightforward. This also worked with the
style of slam poetry. The second was something at a classmate named Jessica McDermott said
to me Even if a line stuck out for someone I still think its with it. This quote was did something
very different then the hooks. I have a public speaking fear and this help me get over that. As
long as I can get a few good lines out, I would have made at least one person think about what
they believe. Once I took some time and I keep both hooks and McDermott in my mind I was
able to create a poem that I was willing to share with everyone.
I assume that the other male feminist had similar experience when writing their own

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poems. When they shared their poems you could tell that they were sharing something that they
put their time into creating. When the event was over the people in the audience did not come
together to give praise to the two poets like they did with the rest. These two poets are the main
things that caused problems for people. Dr. Craig said Some male privilege was shown in this
event. One of the poets that performed shared two poems. This was done even when he was
told not to perform more than one. Most of the others only performed one poem. This was done
to make it so that people who are veterans and first timers can be at equal standing. The other
thing that the male performer had in common is that they both showed public speaking
experiences. This is most likely do to the fact that man usually get more chances to have public
speaking. They also have the social right to speak in public. Which gives them some extra
confidence to their public speaking.
The only way to tackle these male privilege is two part. The first part of this plane is the
rules. I agree with Dr. Craigs idea that competition rules could help even if we are not doing a
competition. These rules set strict time limit so no one will try to take time away from others
and it makes the artist get straight to the point. It also makes sure that everyone only takes one
time up on the stage. All of these rules and others make the whole event and other poetry slam
move faster and without slowing down. The second part to the plan is to give help to all
performers on their act. This will give everyone an equal standing with each other.
There's one more aspect that made the audience upes with two of the male feminist.
That was the content of their poem. The first was that they both talk about their penises. Many
people in the audience did not think it was right for them to talk about penises in a feminist

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event. The feeling was they could talk about thier peins but just not in a feminist place. The
idea is that a feminist place was the topic should not be focused on mans power and privilege.
Which is how the poems came off. Then there was the uses of word choose of the artist. One
of the artist used the word cunt. That made many people feel uncomfortable at the event. This
was true for all people no matter their gender. This raised question about how next years event
should be planned.
When I went around after the event talking to people I heard from Lunsford saying that
The other guy who did the piece on mulation of the body was a little disturbing and I felt that is
really wasnt feminism. Which led to many other people saying similar things. One of the ideas
that came out of all of this talk was how to change next year. The most popular idea was to do a
better job at filtering the poems. The idea behind this is that it would make the event more safe
for everyone. I am opposed to this idea, for one simple fact that it changes everything about the
event. When you listen to an event like this years F-Word you would think that Every performer
is a different type of feminist (Colleen, 2013). Events that make people think are still needed in
this world.
This type event makes people think about all sort of things. This may be someone who
is a feminist or someone who is not. Before Lunsford came to this event I did not really care
about feminism but now I think about it. This is how the event can help people in this
community. This does not mean that every single person that comes to the event is help. There
were some in the audience that did not change there mind. They believe that woman should
have equal rights but I would not say I am a feminist because I would not act on that (Brunner,

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2013). This is why we need to have more events that make you think. All of The little things
help (Clark, 2013) move the feminism for wered. Even if they make some people feel
uncomfortable. We need this different people to share there feminism even if its different than
others because there is different Feminism for different feminist (Kulesza, 2013).

Works Cited
Brunner, Daniel E. "Interview Fifth." Personal interview. 3 Dec. 2013.
Clark, Emily. "Interview Fourth." Personal interview. 22 Nov. 2013.
Craig, Traci, Dr. "Interview Three." Personal interview. 19 Nov. 2013.
Hooks, Bell. "Theory as Liberatory Practice." Feminist Theory A Reader. Ed. Wendy K.
Kolmar and Frances Bartkowski. Fourth ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. 3742. Print.
Kulesza, Colleen. "Interview Two." Personal interview. 14 Nov. 2013.
Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing, 1984.
Lunsford, Xena. "Interview Six." Personal interview. 4 Dec. 2013.
McDermott, Jessica. "Interview One." Personal interview. 23 Oct. 2013.
Powell, Kevin, and Michael Messner. "Confessions of a Recovering Misogynist." Ed.
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo. Gender Through the Prism of Difference. Ed. Maxine Zinn.
Fourth ed. New York: Oxford Univ., 2011. 532-36. Print.
Reagon, Bernice. "Coalition Politics: Turning the Century." Ed. Patricia H. Collins. Race,

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Class, and Gender AN Anthology. Ed. Margaret L. Andersen. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1992.
503-09. Print.