The title “Redefining Feminism” is a tricky one – that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I spotted Gloria Steinem’s course on MasterClass. And that’s why I wanted to find out what it’s about right away.
I had several feminism courses as part of my Cultural Studies MA program, so I already had some knowledge of the topic in an academic sense as well. I didn’t learn much about Gloria Steinem, though – I primarily dissected Judith Butler’s texts instead – but I knew she was an important part of the movement.
It’s fair to say that Gloria Steinem is an American feminist icon. If you add three other influential activists to the conversation, that must be an interesting discussion, I thought to myself.
But how much does this MasterClass offer to those who are already familiar with the topic?
Is it really redefining feminism as it promises to do?
I’ll give you my honest opinion and tell you all about my learning experience in the following paragraphs.
Table of Contents
What is the Redefining Feminism MasterClass?
The Redefining Feminism MasterClass is an online course focused on the history of the feminist movement in the U.S. Apart from providing historical context, the course tackles issues and topics that are still relevant to the fight for women’s rights, such as sexual harassment in the workplace and wage gap.
This MasterClass differs from most others on the platform because it has more than one instructor. Although it’s primarily led by Gloria Steinem, the course also includes lessons taught by Adrienne Maree Brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen.
Some of the lessons are based on conversations between two instructors, and others are standard 1-on-1 lessons. Although there are many historical facts and video clips, the course also contains instructors’ personal stories and opinions.
The Redefining Feminism MasterClass features 14 lessons with a duration of 2 hours and 56 minutes in total. Compared to some other MasterClasses, this is a rather short, concise course.
Who are the instructors?
Gloria Steinem is an American writer and activist. She has been a part of the fight for women’s rights for more than 6 decades now, championing equality through her work as a writer, journalist, lecturer, and organizer. She was an advocate of the women’s liberation movement during the late 20th and early 21st centuries and has authored many books, including My Life on the Road, Moving Beyond Words, and Revolution from Within. She also founded the first American feminist publication Ms. Magazine.
Adrienne Maree Brown is a writer, activist, and doula. With a background in harm reduction and facilitating, Adrienne found her purpose in helping other activists and advocating for bringing joy into the struggle for liberation. She also blogs regularly, and you can hear her on multiple podcasts.
Amanda Nguyen is an activist and grassroots organizer best known for penning the historic, bipartisan U.S. legislation, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights in 2016. She is also the founder and CEO of Rise, a “social movement accelerator” based in the U.S.
Tina Tchen is a lawyer and activist. She has held influential roles in government, being the executive director of the Council on Women and Girls and an assistant to President Obama and chief of staff to Michelle Obama. She is also the former CEO of Time’s Up (which, unfortunately, disbanded in the aftermath of the Andrew Cuomo sexual assault allegations).
What is the target audience for the Redefining Feminism MasterClass?
Although it’s rather short, Gloria Steinem’s MasterClass covers a lot of ground. It tackles numerous topics related to feminism, dissects the issues that are still relevant today and connects them to other issues such as racism.
So if you want to learn more about the historical context of the rise of feminism as well as understand how it’s connected to other social issues, this course is for you. The lessons are very easy to follow, so they’re suited for those who don’t have any knowledge about the topic.
However, some of the topics are presented in a relatively fresh way. For instance, one of the instructors is talking about pleasure as a way of fueling change, which is not such a common approach; or at least not in the college textbooks and some other theory-heavy courses.
That said, I believe this course is best suited for those who feel like they want to get involved in the fight for women’s right but don’t know where to start. This course won’t tell you everything, but it provides a foundation you can build on as you do more research.
What does the Redefining Feminism MasterClass cover?
As mentioned before, this course covers a lot of groundwork. However, it doesn’t delve deeper into topics. It simply provides the foundation and encourages you to continue your research and get involved.
Many lessons include historical facts, video clips, and graphics, so in a way, I felt like I was watching a documentary.
On the other hand, some lessons felt very personal, sensitive, and impactful. It was really interesting to hear about each instructor’s personal story and involvement in the movement. They have different experiences and takes on feminism, which adds to the versatility and dynamic of the course.
Here is a quick overview of what to expect from this MasterClass:
- Lesson 1 is an introductory lesson that introduces all four instructors.
- Lesson 2 revolves around the definition of feminism and intersectional feminism.
- Lesson 3 tackles the history of sexual harassment and the way the law changes due to social movements and action.
- Lesson 4 includes a conversation about how perceptions of caregiving and domestic labor impact people’s lives.
- Lessons 5-7 tap into reproductive rights, pleasure as a way of creating change, and the ways sexual assault survivors can achieve justice.
- Lesson 8 aims to answer the following question: how do you turn your rage into action?
- Lessons 9-10 focus on violence as a function of hierarchy. Tina and Gloria also discuss the wage gap and how it persists more than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act.
- Lesson 11 revolves around cancel culture and alternative ways you can approach certain issues.
- Lessons 12-13 include conversations on differences, moving through conflict, the erasure of constructs, and the importance of bringing people together.
- Lesson 14 explains the power of organizing and provides each instructor’s philosophy of activism.
My favorite lessons from the Redefining Feminism MasterClass
Overall, I enjoyed taking this course. Although it didn’t provide me with any revolutionary ideas, it introduced me to four incredible women whose ideas actually were revolutionary at a certain point in history.
Those who are familiar with the nuances of feminism will most likely enjoy listening to Gloria, Tina, Adrienne, and Amanda, and those who are just starting to explore more about the topic will certainly learn a lot.
The course is educational and empowering, and it offers concrete tips on how to get involved in the fight for women’s rights.
There are many great lessons in the course, but here are some of my personal favorites:
Controlling our reproductive lives
This important lesson provides historical context for reproductive justice and reveals how various legislatures have put so many restrictions on abortion clinics.
At the beginning of the lesson, Gloria also shares her personal story of getting an abortion which changed her life.
Tapping into pleasure to fuel change
I liked this lesson because it felt unexpected and refreshing. Adrienne talks about bringing pleasure into activism – pleasure meaning happiness, satisfaction, and contentment – and explains why she believes it’s crucial to achieving liberation.
The power of organizing
You can be an activist in so many ways. That’s probably the most important thing a person can learn in this course.
If you want to get involved in the feminist movement and inspire change, you can start locally – there are many ways you can help your neighborhood and community. You can also check out existing organizations with similar goals or simply do one thing today that furthers social justice.
How much does the Redefining Feminism MasterClass cost?
MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, which means you can’t purchase courses individually. Therefore, if you want to take Gloria Steinem’s MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.
The annual subscription to Masterclass costs $120 per year, or $10 per month. This is quite affordable, considering the MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 180+ classes.
The platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.
What I liked about the Redefining Feminism MasterClass
Gloria, Amanda, Tina, and Adrienne make a truly inspiring team of instructors. They are eloquent, confident, and encouraging, and they know how to talk about complex topics in an understandable way.
Plus, they talk about all sorts of topics. While this could also be a disadvantage because it’s simply not possible to delve deeper into these topics in a 3-hour course, I liked the dynamic and versatility of the course.
I believe everyone can take something out of this course. If you have MasterClass subscription, it’s certainly worth taking a look.
Here are some of the main reasons why I would recommend it:
It’s no news that MasterClass offers an impressive team of instructors. I was very excited to learn from Gloria Steinem and her incredible co-instructors, and their attitude and eagerness to make a change in the world are really inspiring.
Each instructor has a unique perspective and background, and they’re also involved in other social movements. Everything is connected, after all, and you can’t tap into one issue without addressing the other.
Speaking of addressing other issues, this MasterClass does a great job at providing the bigger picture. The focus is on feminism, but conversations also tap into discrimination based on race and class. This also backs up Gloria’s discussion about intersectional feminism.
Besides being well-rounded in terms of topics, the lessons cover the history of the feminist movement in the U.S. as well as current affairs and changes that led us to this day.
Lessons are educational and versatile, but they’re also rather dynamic. The instructors’ lessons and conversations are accompanied by video clips and graphics, so learners can feel focused and engaged throughout the whole course.
I didn’t feel bored at any given moment, even though I was already familiar with many of the topics and opinions.
There’s another reason why I didn’t feel bored, though.
I believe all of these topics are very important. In my opinion, this MasterClass should be a part of every American college program. It provides fundamental facts and definitions regarding feminism and social change in general, and it offers a closer look at some personal stories and experiences.
We have come a long way since the beginning of the feminist movement. But there’s still a long road ahead of us.
Drawbacks of the Redefining Feminism MasterClass
Although I think this course is insightful and important, I also believe it has several drawbacks.
Lack of in-depth discussions
Although it’s great that the course covers different topics related to feminism, I also think that it lacks depth. I would like to hear more about certain topics, especially because the course contains conversations between two people, which is a great opportunity to have a deeper, more engaging discussion.
Focused solely on the U.S.
Since the lessons are heavily focused on the U.S., non-American learners might feel that the course is a bit incomplete. The course description does say that the focus is on the history of the feminist movement in the U.S., but it would be good to hear more about the general rise of feminism as well.
Review conclusion: Is the Redefining Feminism MasterClass worth it?
All in all, I believe this course is worth taking, especially if you already have the MasterClass subscription.
All four instructors are great – experienced, eloquent, and inspiring – and although I wish they hadn’t just scratched the surface of some interesting topics, I enjoyed listening to their stories and opinions.
The course tackles many relevant issues, including the history of sexual harassment and reproductive rights, wage gap, and cancel culture. All of these topics are put into context, both historically and socially.
That being said, I believe that the Redefining Feminism MasterClass provides a great foundation to build on. And if you’re not new to the topic, this course will remind you that we’re not in a post-feminist era yet and that it’s important to keep fighting.