Frequently Asked Questions
As a feminist social enterprise, we get asked a lot of questions.
We get it — we’re a complicated business! As far as we know, we’re the only ones doing the things we’re doing in the exact way that we’re doing them, where we’re doing them. Collaboration is key, and we are still experimenting as we grow.
So — if you’ve got questions about Feminist Oasis, please review this FAQ page. We built it to help answer the questions we spend the most time answering, so that we can put more time back into what we exist to do: organizing to cultivate feminist community and explore feminist values in action.
What kind of feminism do you promote?
We promote intersectional feminism that seeks to dismantle unhealthy power structures altogether — not to reverse them and perpetuate oppression for any gender or group of people. See our page: “I want to learn more about feminism.“
Where did Feminist Oasis come from?
If you want the full origin story, read our Origin Story (it’s long!). Here’s the tl;dr version:
On January 2, 2018, community organizer, feminist activist and writer Crystal Paradis officially formed “Feminist Oasis, LLC.” It came from about two years of incubating ideas and a growing urgency around “values-centric work.”
Okay, so like, what do you do?
Two main things: co-create events and provide feminist resources.
Our members get early, discounted or increased access to all of these things.
What kind of events?
The types of events we are currently working on:
- Feminists, Waffles, Work — coworking sessions kicked off by workshops around feminist entrepreneurship and sustainable models of business, art and activism
- Oasis events — parties & celebrations for fun & inspiration (See: Get Cozy + Creative and Lift Each Other Up)
- Community conversations + listening sessions — issue-specific discussions around intersectional feminism
- Book Clubs & Article Clubs — discussing intersectional feminist writings
- Member socials — just like it sounds!
- Field Trips — organized group visits to art galleries, films and feminist-centric events organized by others that are values-aligned
What kind of resources?
We provide feminist audits and advising. We publish articles on feminist topics. We send emails with resources of our own and curated from around the world. We publish bi-monthly Action Plans. We publish zines. We publish a Gay-Zette every June for Pride month. We have a Feminist Oasis Library.
Is Feminist Oasis a nonprofit?
No. We are a social enterprise, legally structured as an LLC.
Why an LLC? Why not a nonprofit, a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4?
Feminist Oasis is providing a service (space or experience) that we believe has recognizable, tangible value. It gives participants, subscribers and members the opportunity to support values-aligned entities in their community doing the important work to organize the experiences, provide the space, bring expertise to panels, provide professional services and share valuable knowledge.
While there are pros and cons to all legal structures of business, activist, government, NGO and nonprofit work, a typical 501(c)3 structure felt like one of the least flexible structures for what I wanted to explore. Nevertheless, I was met with surprise many times at not being a nonprofit. Part of this assumption may be fueled by the perception of work that is typically considered “women’s work” being often undervalued and therefore underpaid or not paid at all. Supporting women seems like a worthy mission, making it a natural fit for a charity, and depending on what the entity does and how it wants to operate, a nonprofit model might be the right fit — but it didn’t fit the vision or goals I had for Feminist Oasis. Additionally, I was not interested in giving up my political voice. A 501(c)3 would provide charitable tax benefits, but would also come with strings such as not being able to have a public political voice. A 501(c)4 would provide political speech freedom, but to my understanding is really a structure set up for organizations for whom political lobbying is their primary goal — not a fit for us. While the work we do is absolutely a community benefit, it may align us more closely with a B Corporation or social enterprise than a charity. Those third-party designations or certifications for “for profit” business entities are ones that we may well consider in the future, once we are past exploratory phase.
But I am also very interested in exploring entirely new ways of living and doing business in the world that were as far outside of white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy as possible. This may result in us inhabiting a space that does not currently have a recognized designation in our current business and nonprofit spectrum.
Inspired in a large way by several courses I took through Sister’s Feminist Business School, I am interested in playing with ideas outside of current social and economic orders. Capitalism is the system in which we operate in the US, and it’s not currently legally possible to completely extricate onesself from it. But to recognize the white supremacist roots in American capitalism, and how patriarchy is inextricably linked to both of those power structures, is to question how we can shift out of these unhealthy power structures. It should be no surprise that the current entities who are given the most freedom for exploration in our culture are “for-profit” businesses. While Feminist Oasis does not exist with profit as its primary goal, it is an entity that seeks to rethink the inevitability of unhealthy power structures that are the foundation of our culture.
That’s a pretty lofty goal, but I can see no more worthy endeavor for a socially-engaged feminist.
Are you actually FOR profit?
As stated above, we don’t exist *for* profit. However, we are very much committed to compensating labor — ours and those we work with. We do not ask panelists or vendors to show up for free. We ask what they want to be paid, and offer either a straight fee or in some cases, we ask if they just want an equal cut of the profit of the event. We like borrowing approaches from collaboratives, co-ops and collectives.
It may surprise you to find out that people are already very used to getting high-quality, fascinating events for free, especially in Seacoast NH/ME. So part of our labor is figuring out how to keep getting the word out that organizing and creating space in a thoughtful way is, say it with me, WORTH PAYING FOR! Please join our feminist quest in reframing organizing as a valuable skill that should be properly compensated.
Are men welcome to participate?
YES! All of our events are “all genders welcome” events, and that goes for our memberships and everything else we produce. We are not out here to reverse oppression (although let’s always keep in mind historical imbalances and systemic oppression, and not make false equivalencies!) — we’re out here to END sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.
We believe there is still a huge value in women/womxn-only spaces, and we are excited to participate in some of them on our own time. However, we remain committed to providing all-genders-welcome feminist community and resources.
Is feminism really for everybody?
Feminist theorist bell hooks defines feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.”
Part of ending sexism is ending discrimination against women, particularly those of color, of varying socio-economic backgrounds, with disabilities, of varying gender identity and sexual orientations. But part of that is also the recognition of sexist oppression of men and male-identified people — cultural messaging and expectations around masculinity, chivalry and emotional expression — and gender binary thinking, period. Feminism must address all of these systems of oppression and more.
Feminist Oasis is not the sole representation of the entire feminist movement or the intersectional feminist movement. However, we take seriously our responsibility of being the best representation of the highest purpose of that movement. And to us, that means being inclusive and being actively committed to our own growth and nurturing the growth of others as we collectively move forward.
Dismantling patriarchy is not the sole responsibility of women, just as dismantling white supremacy is not the sole responsibility of people of color. These systemic structures are harmful to all, and we must all work together to dismantle them and build sustainable alternatives.
And just as the work is the responsibility of us all, the reward is also good for everybody. Freedom from imposed gender norms? Yes, please! Freedom to create businesses and institutions that honor bodies and the environment, and which prioritize collaboration over competition? Yes, please! Freedom from white supremacy? Yes, please!
Where do you do events?
Primarily in the Seacoast NH/ME area. (Should we come to you? Contact us!)
One of the benefits of being a pop-up entity is that we can experiment with various locations around the region, and different types of spaces. We’ve already held or are planning to hold events in: hair salons, art galleries, cafes, private homes, dance halls, universities and performance venues.
We would love to explore even less traditional spaces — such as off-hours businesses and other partially-unused spaces — for future experiences.
We are always looking for new spaces as we create these events — for limited or ongoing collaboration. Some host venues split programming revenue with us, others benefit from sales of goods they offer our participants. We discuss how we can create mutual value with all of our host partners. Got a space to offer? Contact us!
Are you really trying to build alternatives to white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy?
We have found that the phrase “building alternatives to white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy” can be unsettling. That is okay — it is going to be uncomfortable to dismantle such deeply-ingrained systems of oppression. Those in power benefit from perpetuating a sense that current power structures are good, or at least are inevitable.
However, it is also up to us to educate our community that working to dismantle these unhealthy power structures does not mean that we are against the people that these structures claim to benefit. We are not anti-white people, anti-free market or anti-men. These unhealthy power structures are harmful to all involved. White supremacy is most harmful, and even deadly, for people of color, but it is also damaging to those who believe themselves to be white, too. Capitalism which is built on colonialism, oppression and slavery is not a truly free market, and it is unsustainable even for those at the narrowing top. Patriarchy is oppressive to womxn and femininity, but it is damaging to all genders.
This is why we are focused on building alternatives to these structures. We believe that by demonstrating that there is a better way, a more equitable way — that it is not necessary to rely on existing models built on these problematic structures — that people will see by example that it is possible to do things differently. By no means do we think that we are the first to try to do this. We are inspired by so many who have gone before and questioned these power structures and fought for justice, and we seek to lift them up as examples, to spread their stories more widely and to inspire new possibilities by following their examples and building off of them.
Who are your competitors?
Thankfully, the concept of women being filled with competition or cattiness is dying out already, but patriarchal power structures continue to promote the scarcity mentality that there are limited spaces for women.
Part of building alternatives to that mentality is unabashedly lifting each other up. If Feminist Oasis could be encapsulated in a GIF, it would be this one by artist Libby Vanderploeg, entitled “Lift each other up”:
There is no shortage of work to be done in any or all of these arenas. We are seeing more and more like-minded organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs emerge with unabashed values-centric practices.
One of our the ways we show up is “Yes, and!” — meaning that there is space for all of this work to be done. And there is space for everyone to be doing it in the way that best fits them, with focuses that they care about the most.
To bring this goal into practice in a very tangible way, we hope to organize regular parties and celebratory events where our sole purpose is just to lift up those around us doing amazing things. We want to collaborate with many mission-aligned entities, and are excited about continuing to lift each other up in all the ways.
What is Feminist Oasis (in a nutshell)?
This video does a good job of explaining our why and our what.
Here are some other ways we talk about ourselves and our work:
Feminist Oasis is a social enterprise, organizing to cultivate feminist community and explore feminist values in action.
We co-create feminist events and resources.
We focus on: Solidarity, Resilience, Sustainability and Systemic Justice.
We are envisioning, as a community, what alternatives to white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy could look like, and explore how can we can build them, together.
We promote intersectional (inclusive) feminism through spaces (to work, create and play) and experiences (to act, challenge and inspire); and create safe and fun spaces to lift each other up.
Our key areas of focus are:
- Systemic Justice
Cool cool cool. I get it. So how do I stay on top of what you’re up to?
Follow along by subscribing to our email list — we’ll let you know of upcoming events, and new cornerstone writings here on our website. Keep an eye out for bright green zines, periodicals that we update with upcoming events and sneak our intersectional feminist propaganda into and leave around the region.
Got ideas, reactions, questions or other thoughts? Please leave them in the comments below. This is an ongoing conversation!