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In our Spring '10 edition, On The Issues Magazine contributors look at ways to enhance and augment our understanding of feminist and progressive values.

About The Feminist Mind
by the Editors

How do we as feminists and progressives keep our thinking fresh and alive in difficult times? How do we hold our values intact, water our thirst for social equality, justice and action? In short, how do we, as Grace Slick used to sing with a somewhat different connotation, feed our heads?

At a time when most of us are bombarded with advertising, messaging, hyped news, framing and entertainment overkill, how can progressive and feminist thinkers continue to learn and to share their values?

In a sense, these days, we are all autodidacts, increasingly called upon to wend our way through vast pools of information, masses of imaging and technology, as well as global concerns and everyday matters with increasingly complex turns. To respond consciously and conscientiously, to build a movement, to inspire and take action, requires not only a connection to core values, but continual learning and a willingness to consider - and reconsider -- our understandings.

There is, of course, no singular way to do that. In this edition of On The Issues Magazine, titled "The Feminist Mind," our writers and artists address “out of the box” learning in fascinating articles, essays, poetry and art.

Arlene Goldbard describes how cultural citizenship and engagement with the arts strengthen community problem-solving and imagination, while Maureen McNeil shows how one simple book the diary of Anne Frank – is being used to help people reach across barriers to understand “the Other.”

Mary Lou Greenberg interviews an abortion counselor who, on the frontlines, finds that she has to unravel the lies of protesters before she can present basic health information to patients, while Carol Hanisch explains the deep engagement with issues that can arise from consciousness raising. Eleanor Bader takes a closer look at how a French law on emotional harassment might become a valuable aid in pushing back against bullying, while Stephanie Gilmore and Sarah Barr describe how students are asking new questions about rape cover-ups on campuses.

In a personal essay, Megan Carpentier details how she found, and lost, and found again feminist values, while Maame-Mensima Horne portrays the feminism of her Ghanan grandfather and how she broadened her perspective of human rights. Barbara Becker writes about the unexpected worlds that can open with travel, a lesson she learned from President Obama's mother, while Poetry Co-Editor Clare Coss presents poets Margaret Randall, Meena Alexander and Suheir Hammad who share the expansion of their imagination.

Jennifer Pozner explains the tools that modern viewers and readers need to cut through corporate media bluster, while Susan Feiner shows how thinking like a feminist economist requires challenging the gender-neutrality of virtually every prepackaged statistic. Fran Luck describes how she uses radio to share radical feminist values not likely to be heard elsewhere, and Jaye Austin Williams asks us to use mainstream entertainment as an opportunity to sharpen our critical abilities. Art editor Linda Stein features the environmental work of Michelle Stuart, who uses her art to connect people to nature, while another half-dozen artists give their interpretations of engagement of the mind.

And, finally, our featured archival story from the print publication of On The Issues Magazine is a 1996 editorial by publisher Merle Hoffman on the eternal search for happiness, concluding that the true state of feminist happiness resides in political action directed toward freedom, equality and social justice. Fourteen years later, her words still ring true, and our contributors and artists look anew at ways to keep our gears turning, our ideas flowing and our feet moving on the march toward full human rights.

We welcome additional thinking on this topic, and will continue to add provocative and inspiring commentary in our unique Café feature.

Also see Two Years of Hits: The Top Ten by the Editors in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

Also see Happiness and the Feminist Mind by Merle Hoffman in the Fall 1996 edition of On The Issues Magazine.

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