Community & Government

Tapping into Pleasure to Fuel Change

adrienne maree brown joins Gloria for a discussion on how to bring pleasure into activism and why it is crucial to achieving liberation.

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Topics include: Tapping Into Pleasure to Fuel Change Pleasure Activism Reclaiming Pleasure Pleasure Is the Way


- I'm working on changing the way people think about pleasure and trying to pull us out of the shame spiral that we have been stuck in for centuries that benefits the church and benefits government and benefits men, but doesn't actually benefit all these beautiful bodies that we have. [UPBEAT MUSIC] - I so love that you are so many things. You are an activist, an author, a mediator, a doula, but how do you describe yourself? - I describe myself as a writer most of the time. And I feel like it's taken most of my life to just claim that as like, this is the heart of the work. - I mean, you've created a movement, the Harm Reduction Coalition. - Well, Harm Reduction Coalition predated me. You know, like, I came-- when I came to work there, it blew my mind open. I didn't understand that there was a place in which people who are active drug users or sex workers or other things could be treated with respect and that the needs that they had could be seen as human needs that a ton of people have. Not everyone experiences addiction, but almost everyone has sex or does drugs somewhere in life. I got to begin my organizing life in that space as a young person. And-- and it's shaped everything else that I've done, right? A lot of it is about the idea that each person has their own sovereignty over their journey. - No, I think that each of us having sovereignty over our own bodies the source of the women's movement since we were supposed to be the means of production. - Yes. - And you're taking it a step further, which is a sovereignty over-- over our own lives. - Over our lives. So for every aspect of our lives. Like, this is why-- I mean, I love getting to sit-in this conversation with you, because I'm like, of course I've looked up to you forever. And when I came into understanding what feminism was, it was just like every single individual on the planet deserves the same sovereignty over their being, over their journey, over their mistakes, and over their successes-- everything. That's what it is to be a human being. And so that shouldn't be relegated to man, it shouldn't be relegated to white, it shouldn't be relegated to able-bodied or any of these other elite systems, right? It's like everyone deserves it. And when you see that, it changes your worldview on everything. [UPBEAT MUSIC] - How did you get to the great phrase, which maybe you invented, I don't know, Pleasure Activism? - I didn't realize it was going to be a big part of my life's work until more recently. But while I was at the Harm Reduction Coalition, I met this incredible organizer named Keith Cylar, and he said those words, Pleasure Activism. Like, how do we talk about the things that make us feel good as the way that we're living and the way that we're creating change. And I blew my mind, went on about my life, did a bunch of very serious organizing work. And my pleasure was always the secret side ...

About the Instructor

Women’s rights activists and political changemakers Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen know there’s strength in numbers—especially in the fight for equality. Now, they’re coming together to dissect the issues women have faced in the U.S., talk about their advocacy efforts and personal challenges, and introduce ways you can play an active role in the feminist movement in your everyday life.

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Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen

Four women’s rights activists discuss the feminist movement in the U.S., ways they’re creating change, and how you can join the fight for equality.

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