Maddie Rodden ’20, a student from Hamilton College, tells us about her internship at a Paris-based feminist collective during her 2019 spring semester with Hamilton in France.

For about two months during my semester in Paris, I pursued an internship with a feminist network and collective called “Ruptures.” I spent two and a half days each week attending conferences across Paris and writing reports for my supervisor or meeting with her to discuss upcoming events put on by the collective.

Although I have now spent several years studying feminist movements, I was completely unaware of the multiplicity of differences between the French feminist movement and contemporary American feminism. I quickly learned that topics like race and sex work would be contentious, as the French were less accustomed to speaking about them.

However, despite the way that these topics were discussed amongst team members, I learned from interactions at conferences and with the other interns that younger French feminists were gravitating towards a modern form of feminism bearing a close resemblance to current mainstream American feminism.

Through all of these interactions with members of the feminist community in Paris, I was able to get an understanding of how French feminism is currently evolving and how it functions in comparison with American feminism, something I never would have learned, especially in such an immersive context, had I not chosen to apply for an internship while in Paris.

Maddie Rodden