Unfiltered and Unapologetic: March for Our Lives and the Political Boundaries of Age

  • Emily Bent Pace University
Keywords: March for Our Lives, youth activism, age politics, generation, political legibility, borders

Abstract

When young people took to the streets on 24 March 2018 as part of March for Our Lives (MFOL), they leveraged narratives of age and generation to inspire others to take action on preventing gun violence incidences across the United States. Despite the political precarity associated with their ages, student-activists claimed public space and voice as more than the victims of the so-called “mass shooting generation.” This article explores how narratives of age and generation shape their political legibility and authority in the MFOL movement. Based on analyses of Parkland student speeches and reflections and MFOL protest signs, I consider the paradoxical manner in which youth-activists play with notions of age in order to mark themselves as essential political actors and vulnerable not-yet subjects in need of protection. It is my contention that MFOL illustrates the liminal borders of youth political (in)visibility and the transformative possibilities of age-based politics for youth-activists.

Author Biography

Emily Bent, Pace University

Emily Bent is Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Pace University. Her research examines the intersections of gender, childhood, human rights, and intergenerational feminist activist politics within transnational contexts. Over the last decade, she has conducted intensive qualitative fieldwork with over sixty girl-activists engaged in the girls’ rights movement at the United Nations. Her current book project, Feminist Girls, chronicles girl-activist practices and strategies of resistance. ​

Published
2020-02-12
How to Cite
Bent, E. (2020). Unfiltered and Unapologetic: March for Our Lives and the Political Boundaries of Age. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 11(2), 55-73. Retrieved from http://jeunesse-dev.uwlib.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/499
Section
Articles for Special Issue on Borders