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Congratulations to all recent graduates, and if this is you and you’re also reading this, congratulations for continuing to read Salient and having refined literary taste.
Emma graduated last week, and, after much anxiety, due to graduating on print day and leaving Jayne in the lurch to finish the magazine.
This last week we’ve been surviving off the high we had in Auckland. We, a few Salient folk, and a few friends, trekked up to Auckland for the Auckland Writers Festival. We spent our Friday night in the front room of our Air B’n’B, sipping on red wine from the bottle, slicing double cream camembert with the handle of a teaspoon, sitting on the rug which was just one of the thousands of ‘eclectic’ pieces in this quintessential ponsonby house.
In between the cafe visiting and street wandering, we found ourselves comfortably nestled in crowds of people at the Aotea Centre, listening to writers discuss their ideas, and share their writing.
We had tickets to Gloria Steinem, and so did half of Auckland. When the moment came we lined up, and the line kept snaking through the auditorium. An annoying bald man behind us loudly observed “I didn’t realise she would pull such a crowd,” gosh, us woman just love our feminist icons, huh? Such a surprise!
We took our seats, far away from the ignorant bald man. An older woman sat down beside us, and, seeing how young we were, felt compelled to ask us how we “found out about all this.” It’s a funny thing to be asked that kind of question, it presumes that feminism isn’t a normative idea to have. When you engage with feminism, there’s a canon of figures; you hear a list of names, and Steinem is one of them.
Gloria Steinem was the main reason we made the trip. To see such a bold, powerful women speaking her opinions on American politics, on abortion, on equal rights for women, on her work with indigenous American women, was incredibly uplifting. But looking around the crowd we saw our own privilege.
Gloria, though certainly not without fault in her feminism, was invigorating and refreshing—despite the fact she is older than Emma’s grandmother. With her trendy studded leather jacket on, her perfect hair, and razor sharp quips—she was a sight to see. It was powerful to hear such a prominent figure of the feminist movement being receptive to the concerns of our generation. Where other attendees of the festival were keen to blanket all young women of our generation as ‘millennials’, and ridicule and criticise us for taking selfies, Gloria identified the space of ‘choice’ that our generation occupies. She articulated the very crux of empowerment—that it depends on whether it comes from a place of power or submission. Gloria finished the night with a zinger, joking about what it would be like if men had a sexual organ that was designed only for pleasure. The context was perfect, and the entire auditorium laughed and imagined what that world would be like.
The best part of the weekend, was in the auditorium after Gloria Steinem. With tears in our eyes, not from her, but from the amount of passion and energy in the room. There were women of every generation in the room, some who got up and bravely asked questions, some who challenged her, some who even challenged each other.
We stood together, and approached women who had spoken about needing more feminists in their life, we commended their bravery, swapped twitter handles, and made our merry way to a bar to debrief.
In the magazine this week, we have great contributions from Charlotte, Faith, Kate, and Rhys. Each one looks into different aspects of music as we live and breath it today.
Charlotte Forrester interviews a Wellington musician i.e. crazy, and their discussion is beautiful and poetic, and dissects the fundamentals of creating music.
Faith Wilson looks into the hysteria around Beyonce’s Lemonade and calls out the problems with white feminism in this context.
Kate Robertson relives her adventure at Bluesfest, where she meets her folk music hero, finds musical soulmates, and goes glamping.
Rhys takes on the current state of music journalism, and challenges the ‘participation award’ mindset of so many music media outlets who compromise true journalism for sales.
Enjoy the read.
Emma & Jayne xoxo