Renowned feminist activist Brenda Feigen made an appearance Thursday in Santa Barbara as keynote speaker of the 17th Annual Girls Inc luncheon.
“Girls Inc is one of the most feminist organizations I’ve seen in my whole life,” Feigen told reporter Beth Farnsworth and videographer Joyce Roberson. “I was most proud of the fact that these young girls are considering themselves feminists and don’t have any hesitation about whether that word is a bad word or a good word — they know it’s the right word.”
The day before, Feigen met one-on-one with a group of local girls in Santa Barbara between the ages of 11 and 15, talking about their hopes, their challenges, their demands in life for the future, and their fears.
“It was very touching to see how they expect to go out into the world and they want to have what they want, they want to be able to say what they want, they want to be able to walk outside at night without fear,” Feigen said. “They want to be able to wear what they want and not have people tell them, ‘Girls can’t wear this,’ but boys can do everything, including taking off their shirts.”
Feigen has an impressive list of titles including attorney, constitutional scholar and film and television producer. She is also known for a number of accomplishments including helping Gloria Steinem launch Ms. Magazine and assisting then attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her first case before the Supreme Court, Reed vs Reed, back in 1971.
When asked about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings taking place Thursday, Feigen referred to Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a “liar” and insists that appointing him to the highest court would be “absolute disaster for women.”
“I think that the mood in the country is so powerful now that if they do approve this man, there is going to be a rebellion among women and probably among many, many thinking men about what we are doing with the Supreme Court of the United States and how it’s a football for the far right.”
Feigen cited the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements as rallying cries for people who’ve mustered up the courage to come forward to make change, especially women who’ve stayed silent and uninvolved most of their lives.
“They have to be active,” Feigen said. “You cannot sit around and expect everybody else to do the work for you that you need to do, not only to help women in general but to help yourself as a woman feel empowered and feel like you can make the change you want to make. And we need you to make.”