Bahraina journalist Amira Al Hussaini led a discussion, along with Liz Henry from BlogHer.com (feministsf.net) and Katherine Stone (postpartumprogress.com) about "Silenced Communities" and giving women from these communities a voice.
These women, on the stage, live very different lifestyles, and yet they all identified with the concept of "Silenced Communities." Then the audience joined in, and the discussion really became interesting.
Amira Al Hussaini understands what it means to silenced. Her community believed that a woman should be seen and not heard. Although Bahrain does now allow women to serve in elected posts legally, the stigma is so great societally that for a very long time not even a single woman served in an elected post, because people simply would not vote for a women to represent them.
For Kristin Stone, the stigma of mental illness has created a silenced community among mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and other mental conditions. She spoke about how women with these problems, if they are addressed by the media at all, are those at the extreme negative end of the spectrum: a mother who has committed infanticide, for example. You'll see a woman, perhaps, crying and falling apart. But you will never see a happy, healthy, recovered woman, or a strong woman trying who also happens to be struggling as a victim of PPD. She explains that she has written to Oprah about this issue several times (as well as others), but has never gotten anywhere.
Jennifer Hogg wants other women to know what it really is like for women serving in the military today. An actively anti-war veteran and gay woman, Jen has been quoted on Iraq Veterans Against War as saying, "Being willing to give our lives for this country does not mean our government should be willing to give us up so freely."
Urban Mom Liz Henry, self-described "feministgeekpunkpoet" with short vividly purple spiked hair, just happens to blog from a wheelchair. No, she will not tell you what that's like, because she is bored with trying, but she can recommend some excellent blogs by women with disabiliites: