Feminist festival from its beginning 2009, gathers all who are interested in discussion about feminism and human rights. The program is improved with the presence and involvement of the activists of the feminist movement from Serbia, region and Europe (Sweden, Romania, Poland). Festival is the meeting point for the experts from various areas, with the intent to open important local topics which impact on the woman’s existence and the development of the society based on the principles of gender equality. One of the reasons why we are proud of the festival is that it attracts young girls and opens the space for new voices which are important in the movement building.
Each Time As If It Were The First
Over 40 years have passed from the Drug-ca žena (Comrade Women), the first feminist conference held in Yugoslavia. It opened the pathway toward development of women’s movement in post-Yugoslav countries. Believing that women’s networking and links are important, feminist voices kept gathering around women’s magazines, centers for women’s studies, art groups and street movements.
At the beginning of 2000s, new generations of feminists, grown up on the feminist heritage from previous decades, started initiating feminist festivals in the region, in order to maintain the practice of exchange of knowledge and mutual support and solidarity in struggle against patriarchy and all regressive principles it has been built upon. That’s how we got Rdeče Zore in Slovenia, Vox Feminae in Croatia, and PitchWise in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In December 2009, two friends decided to organize a feminist festival in Serbia, under the name BeFem. With the intention to open space for all the women who found the space between “their four walls” too narrow for thinking and loving, BeFem was created as a progressive resistance to violence and hatred and traditional conservative structures.
Over the years, the friendship grew stronger, and the number of activists taking part in preparation of BeFem and attending it grew larger. From the very beginning, the festival was bravely striking blows against patriarchy, publicly raising issues that were previously mentioned rarely or with fear. Debates on gender, politics, sexuality, margins of the society, resistance to norms that perpetrate production of violence, made us persist in our desire to change our society. Even though these discussions sometimes made us angry, sad, or feel unsafe, BeFem remained the space of love and togetherness.
This festival is a point of encounter of local women and themes of global relevance for feminist politics, its efficiency and visibility in society.
This year, on December 7th and 8th, in CC Grad, BeFem festival of feminist culture and action will be held for the tenth time. Ten years later, diversity, provocation and joy of women’s tough and action keep growing in their new forms.
Ten years later, we still believe in feminism that means being open to the possibility of changing everything we have been taught “was as it should be“, and we are grateful to all of you who took part at BeFem festivals and made this belief of ours become the feminist reality we have been living. BeFem 10.0, each time as if it were the first!