First up, I still love Cambridge and I've found us all places to live. It seems that most of the houses there are split up into apartments, which makes sense as most of them are huge! Crazy to think that they were once someones whole house.
Aside from finding us all new houses, I didn't get the chance to take many more photos or really see much of Boston itself as WAM! took up pretty much all of my time. That and eating the chocolate cake (with real chocolate, not even cocoa!) that my lovely French hosts made me. I definitely want to go back and see more of the area, but I had such an amazing time at the conference that I didn't really feel like I had missed out on much.
There is so much I would love to talk about that I learnt from my sessions, speakers and friends made at WAM!, but I think that would take up many, many posts! Instead, I am going to really endeavour to act on the things I learnt both with what I write in here and how I participate in my community.
Here are just a few highlights...
- I was convinced to Twitter, it was everywhere! You can follow me if you like, I'd like to follow you! Find me here.
- I attended a caucus that discussed a feminist approach to Sex Ed. and talked about the vision of sex and sexuality education that promotes a healthy view of sex, our bodies and relationships. And one that doesn't see girls as only passive participators and boys as having to control themselves.
- I picked up this awesome book.
- I felt challenged, educated and excited about looking into gender non-conformity issues and how that fits into feminism and more broadly the media.
- Reality Bit Back. Jennifer Pozner and Andrea Quijada dissected our reality tv guilty pleasures and the messages that they send.
- We investigated ways to pull the plug on rape culture, specifically looking at the way the media and words seek to reinforce it.
- I learnt that only 10-20% of op-ed pieces were written by women, and then how to write one and get women's voices heard.
- Sarah Haskins was ridiculously smart and funny.
- I met incredible people who challenged me, laughed with me and encouraged me.
All in all, WAM! was more than worth it and I (fingers crossed) will be making the trek next year to Chicago to do it again. In saying that, I did want to mention a post over at Womanist Musings that looked on the reality of most women not being able to get to a conference like this due to a financial barrier. Both Renee and the commenters raise some really interesting thoughts surrounding how to make the conference more accessible, that I hope get adopted. Especially live streaming the conference, and having people sponsor people who can't afford it and organising 'mini-WAM!'s' in other parts of the country. I think what we do have to remember though, is that The Center for New Words has a teeny tiny staff, and all this stuff costs both money, time and people power, so I think part of the responsibility lies with us who want to advocate for women in media, and more accessibility to conferences like these.