Georgia Monaghan

Georgia Monaghan is a Doctor of Arts candidate at the University of Sydney where she is researching the nexus between spectacle and the New Woman in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. She also teaches in the University of Sydney's Creative Writing program and received a Dean's Citation for Excellence for this work. Georgia is a published author of short fiction, arts features and creative nonfiction essays that have appeared in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in Australia and the United States. While living in the US she founded The Newtowner: An Arts and Literary Magazine and for four years served as its editor-in-chief.  She holds a Master of Creative Writing (USyd) and is currently working on a novel set in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village at the turn of the twentieth century. 


Twitter: @MonaghanGeorgia


So, What Does a Feminist Look Like?

There’s a recent feminist slogan that, no matter how staunch my feminist allegiance, always troubles me. You’ve no doubt seen it in one form or another: the ubiquitous “This is what a feminist looks like” emblazoned on posters, memes, and fashion apparel such as t-shirts, onesies, and, heaven help us, even aprons! I believe I understand the laudable intention underlying this message: to demonstrate visually that feminists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, classes, genders, and orientations, and to help reclaim and destigmatize the term feminist after decades of conservative backlash. Nevertheless, I cannot escape the many unsettling questions the slogan raises for me:

Why the emphasis on image and appearance? What does it matter what a feminist looks like? Isn’t it a person’s actions that makes them a feminist? Wouldn't a better slogan communicate what a feminist believes in and stands for, the changes a feminist demands and is prepared to agitate for? And why the stress on the singular feminist? What about feminists as a collective?