What leisure? Surfeminism in an era of Trump
Powerful new feminisms are challenging the rise of the Global Right through mass mobilization, demands for accountability, and innovative opposition, such as #MeToo, the Global Women’s Marches, and #Feminism4the99. The international forum Signs: A Journal of Women and Culture has urged feminist scholars to meet the moment by bridging academic and larger feminist publics and attending to creative, new feminist movements. This paper showcases one such example, surfeminism, a theory and action project working between publics of academia and global surfing. Surfeminism is a worldwide network connecting people, ideas, particular coastal geographies, online and real-time communities and microeconomies in surf industry, with activisms focused on protests of sexism in surf media, access to ocean spaces, environmental health, and women’s racial, economic, and reproductive justice. The paper lays out surfeminist publics through discussion of the Institute for Women Surfers (IWS), a public humanities project in grassroots political education emphasizing relationships, cross-geography alliances, and critical thought. One of the more important and complex claims of surfeminism is for women and girls’ leisure as a feminist political need. A discussion of leisure and its relation to authoritarianisms, as well as ideologies of so-called postfeminism closes the paper.