Cancel All Power Trips

Audre Lorde said it best: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” We women struggle for equality in our lives, yet we operate within fundamentally unequal structures. It’s time for a hierarchy-bashing feminist revolution. Though there are many ways to practice your feminism, undoing power structures “at home” has worked wonders for us at Bluestockings, the women’s bookstore collective I founded in New York City. Here are some tips for creating a feminist-friendly space:

  • Involve your entire group in writing a mission statement. Amend it as your project develops.
  • Hold structured meetings with a rotating facilitator.
  • Set a time limit for meetings and discussion sessions.
  • Always let someone who has not spoken talk before someone who has.
  • For major decisions, vote using a consensus model that requires everyone to agree on an outcome that is best for the project. And remember that smaller decisions can be left to individuals.
  • Test the impact of tough decisions with trial periods.
  • Let each person choose her own role and title. Then regroup and collectively agree upon who should do what and expectations for each role.
  • Rotate leadership positions.
  • Keep stirring the pot: cosponsor projects with communities you don’t already attract. And broaden your issues to diversify your following.
  • We all have something to teach, as well as something to learn, so provide equal access to skills and knowledge.
  • Do away with cut-throat office politics and celebrate together: birthdays, holidays, whatever.

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