On December 7, Syktyvkar hosts the first FemFest — an educational event about feminism and freedom of choice. It was organized by the team of the Revolt Center with the support of online magazine 7x7.
According to the organizers of the FemFest, the idea to hold the event appeared after activist and intersectional feminist from St. Petersburg Lyolya Nordyk made a speech in Syktyvkar in March 2019. According to one of the organizers of the FemFest Daria Ananyeva, 80 people came to the meeting with Nordic:
— There were interesting questions and great feedback. Before that, about a year ago, I was at the Moscow FemFest, after it I wanted to hold it myself, but I lived in Kirov, and there was no feminist community. Meeting with Lyolya showed that there were people in the town who were interested in it. There are a lot of them, they are cool, and they need a festival.
One of the objectives of the FemFest is to talk about key aspects of gender knowledge through interesting interactive formats. The festival is scheduled to feature performances by nine people and a party.
— I would really like to see a clear discussion in Syktyvkar. Let’s say, more practical, — one of the speakers, feminist Sofia Shimanskaya, expressed her expectations from the festival. — I stay informed about the capital's feminist events, often there is some elitism in them: mastering basic knowledge feminism, analyzing its history and questions on the verge of art and philosophy, and I would like to talk about how to actually live. Today, right here, what to do right now. I think it will be possible to do it in Syktyvkar — to start from the beginning. I want to see the event for more or less everyone, not a hangout of for those who are on the subject.
According to organizer of the FemFest Alyona Zezegova, there are two «hot topics» now in Syktyvkar that are interesting to its residents — ecology and feminism:
- And if everything is clear with ecology (a huge landfill is being built near the town, and nobody likes that), everything is more interesting with feminism. I think that the topic is relevant because interest in it is growing in the whole country, but there was no opportunity to talk about it offline in Syktyvkar, there were no lectures, workshops, festivals and there was no feminist community at all.
As Darya Ananyeva told, the fight of women for their rights has been particularly active for the last hundred years. Activists, for example, try to achieve equal salaries with men or to protect themselves from domestic violence at the legislative level.
- And we remember that before we could not even get higher education. This is terrible, but until you face the problems yourself, you think, "Who needs this feminism?" It seems to everyone that women are OK. There is an image of a feminist in Russia — a hairy girl who has never met a normal man. This is just complete nonsense, which pushes us to organize the festival to help girls and women start fighting for their rights, to show that feminism is an important and cool movement in modern Russia. What is more, such an event shows that there are many of us — of those who were discriminated on a gender basis, — said Darya Ananyeva.
Сo-founder of FEMTALKS Nastya Krasilnikova, coordinator of the Democracy Program of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Nuriya Fatykhova, feminists Lyolya Nordyk and Sofya Shimanskaya are the main speakers of the upcoming event.
- I'm going to speak about reproductive pressure, - said Sofya Shimanskaya. - In short - about the «primary role of women as mothers in the eyes of society and how reproductive function becomes the root of all discrimination. Cisgendered women live in this since their childhood: from kindergarten mother-daughter games, from the first appointment with gynecologist to the menopause, when they are written off as useless for their main role. It is necessary to reflect the experience of this role being imposed on you, to note the moments when someone from the outside presses on you and tries to influence your choice. This applies to everyone: here, now and the last many hundreds of years.
Activist from St. Petersburg Lyolya Nordyk is going to speak about the role of women in the environmental protest movement. According to her, this situation is well illustrated by the example around the construction of the landfill at station Shies.
- I’m going to speak about how the themes of ecology and the environment are connected with the themes of labor exploitation and discrimination against women. I think this topic is important especially now, because an important environmental protest is taking place near Syktyvkar. The "wave of awareness" begins to grow in the Northern regions of Russia because of the garbage collapse. People acquire civic and activist positions.
Registration is required.
The project is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.