As modern women, we’re all self-proclaimed global citizens and feminists. Many of us have diverse social media networks and well-stamped passports, but how much do we know about the countries we visit and the women we follow, besides the fact that their countries have cool vacation spots, their Instagram feeds are lit, and their Twitter feeds are the absolute truth?
Last week was no different. I was scrolling through my timeline and literally paused in the middle of traffic while crossing a street. My Instagram and Facebook feeds were flooded with colorful and diverse African fabrics and designs, swag bags that rivaled an Influenster Voxbox, and group pictures with Pinterest-worthy fashion. After spamming the photos with likes, I actually took the time to read the captions to learn Liberian feminists were convening and they were taking no prisoners.
I couldn’t help but smile to myself, because just as some paint a picture of feminists in the Western world as man-hating, bra-burning, fashion inept women, Liberian feminists are often painted with the same antiquated brush; only in this picture, the women are thought to dress in uniform as a declaration of man-hating solidarity.
Liberia’s 2017 presidential elections are looming and though the country has made strides in the right direction by democratically electing Africa’s first female president, the small progress made in the last ten years is fragile as Liberians apprehensively wait to exhale. Well…not all Liberians. While most Liberians were campaigning for their presidential campaign of choice, the Liberia Feminist Forum (LFF) convened in Buchanan, Liberia from August 24 – August 27, 2017, for the organization’s second annual three-day conference. Their plan? To devise a plan of action to implement regardless of who sits at the country’s helm.
Founded in 2014, LFF assembled with three main issues in mind: to address the lack of critical feminist positioning on human rights issues, to create a safe space for Liberian women promoting a grounded feminist perspective, and to challenge patriarchal norms within Liberian society that threaten women and LGBTI people. Basically, LFF is a growing forum of Liberian women, slaying the patriarchy and promoting social change from a feminist perspective.
Not dissimilar to the world at large, toxic misogyny, gender pay gap, and violence against women along with homophobia are major threats against women (LGBTI people) in Liberia. LFF is working to ensure the rights of Liberian women and queer people are protected, no matter who wins the election.
It kind of makes you want to do a little more than liking a picture and writing, “YAAAS KWEEN…SLAY”, huh?
In closing, I leave you with a few words of wisdom from women’s rights advocate and LFF’s own, Mrs. Korto Williams from the 4th African Feminist Forum (2017):
For more information on Liberia Feminist Forum, Like them on Facebook.