Dealing with pressure in our meritocracy
From the first moment it was clear that we wanted to achieve something big with Consent Calling. We had a vision. And it has grown with every meeting. At the same time, everything else has grown: the collective itself, our ideas, our individual projects, the steps we have taken, the number of networking requests from outside, the circle of people who want to support us and thus the demand to coordinate all this. The more our project became public, the greater the response from the outside - with their positive feedback, as well as their probing criticism and the resulting discussions. Equally, the amount of work we do has grown: right now, we all work an average of 12 hours a week on a voluntary basis for Consent Calling - in addition to wage and care work, political activism and partially studying. And yet we constantly have the feeling that we are not doing enough. The agenda points pile up, the appointments multiply and the pending tasks become more complex. As a collective, but also as individuals, we are constantly confronted with the fact that we want to implement more, want to achieve more and therefore put ourselves under pressure.
Giving a speech at this demonstration too would be totally important!
Have we considered every risk in our social contract?
Can't we also meet this feminist group to exchange ideas?
Couldn't we argue more theory-based at this workshop?
Are we talking enough as a collective about our working structures, personal resources, decision-making processes and basic democratic principles?
Where are we not critical enough? What discourse is not on our radar?
Questions like these have shaped our work structure from the beginning and are ingrained in all of us (albeit to varying degrees - another point that creates much demand for negotiation). Of course, the motivation to contribute to overall social change does not make it easier to free oneself from pressure and one's own aspirations. After all, more activism is always imaginable. Again and again, we also confront ourselves with where we get the legitimacy to want to realise this project. Do we know enough? Can we do enough? Are our resources sufficient to handle this amount of work? Can we withstand potential competition, pressure and criticism from the public? Our ambitions, and with them our doubts, grow with every day that we work on Consent Calling. At the same time, it is also about not constantly seeing ourselves as insufficient and deficient in the context of neoliberal paradigms. We want to counter this output thinking, these optimisation and efficiency logics of capitalism, as well with our project - and we often notice how we fail.
That's why we are trying to focus our activist work in a sustainable way. We want to maintain reflection on what expectations we have of ourselves and the project, what influence this has on our work and also on our mental state. We want to learn together to pay attention to our needs and resources and enter into an open exchange about weaknesses, overstraining and pressure to perform. We want to conduct the discourse in such a way that it does not mark excessive demands as an individual failure, but places them in a context of origin, conditions and personal as well as overall social embedding. We want to encourage ourselves to stand by our skills and our ideas, as female socialised people in particular are taught to attribute successes to lucky coincidences rather than to their own actions. In the same way, we want to allow ourselves as a collective as well as individuals to make mistakes, to not know something, to allow doubts and to not impose the comparison with other people ('s projects) onto ourselves. We want to build a feminist movement that is tender with all of us and our resources, in which we look out for each other and are in solidarity and attentive. And above all, not measure ourselves by what and how much we achieve!