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When We Knew We Were Feminists

Edited by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan

When did you know you were a feminist? Whether it happened at school, at work, while watching TV, or reading a book, many of us can point to a particular moment when we knew we were feminists. In Click a range of writers—including Jessica Valenti, Alissa Quart, Amy Richards, Shelby Knox, and Jennifer Baumgardner—share stories about how that moment took shape for them. Through these diverse narratives, editors Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan tackle the questions of what makes a feminist, what it means to be one, and how that identity shifts and grows over time—and they emerge with an honest picture of the role of feminism in the lives of young people today.

Sometimes emotional, sometimes hilarious, this collection gives young writers who already identify with the feminist movement the opportunity to be heard—and it welcomes into the fold those new to the still-developing story of feminism. Q&A with J. Courtney Sullivan:

Q: Based on the essays, it seems that people develop their feminist beliefs gradually but the actual act of taking ownership of the word is a lot more sudden and weighted than, for example, the first time they call themselves a Democrat. Why is that?

A: It can be a loaded term. I know a lot of women who embody what it means to be a feminist but do not want to use that word. The misperceptions about what it's all about have gotten into their heads. To me, it's hugely important to claim the word, because it makes you a part of something. It makes you a part of this bigger community, which is a powerful thing.

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“You know how little kids say, ‘It’s not fair!’ and ‘You are not the boss of me!” That innate sense of fairness is the earliest source of every revolution—including feminism. As more little girls grow up without being schooled or shamed out of this sense, more women, and many men, too, are having “Clicks!” Read this diverse, touching, and entertaining anthology of Click! stories to find a fairness that is all your own.”

—Gloria Steinem
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