When we think about the “anti-violence movement,” it is predicated on “ending violence.” On undoing a negative. On not doing bad. With this focus, it is easy to ignore rather than actively pursue the good. To overlook and dismiss rather than recognize and celebrate successes. This can have a draining effect on activists, and can stall further progress. It is a competition for our time and energy between
- criticizing what’s wrong in the past and present state of affairs on the one hand, and
- envisioning, identifying and pursuing the characteristics of a better world on the other hand.
Which is why I’m very happy to see Popular Science, of all magazines, take a lead on celebrating the successes of feminism by highlighting three women geniuses.
Finally, I think we need to do a better job in the future of being constructive in our criticism and analysis. In case you missed it the first time around, Courtney E. Martin is providing a great example of how we can be both critical of the state of affairs and forward-looking at the same time. Her question deserved — and received — a great response.