While we live firmly in the present (and perhaps fight and work for the benefit of the future), who hasn’t fantasized about traveling through time? Would you head to the past to right some egregious wrong or check out the future to see what’s to come? We asked 10 of our favorite raging feminists what they would be most interested in doing if they had the power of Marty McFly.
If you could travel in time, what year would you go to?
“I’d definitely not want to travel back in time, so I’d like to go into the future to a time when the words ‘sideboob’ and ‘baby bump’ have fallen completely out of the lexicon.” — Amber Garrett
“The known past is basically out, right? I mean, unless I were looking to subject myself to an even bigger patriarchal shit-show than the one I’m in right now. So I guess I’d opt to travel into the near future. Give me a peek at 2025. I’d like to know if we’re making any progress in the short term. I can’t say I’m very hopeful, though. Remember the 1990s? Fool me once…” — Jen Selk
“2025. By that time, I feel like the world will be so full of hot, hilarious feminist boyfriends that I won’t ever have to sit one down and explain basic concepts to them again and we can just spend all our time making mixtapes for each other, making out and eating snacks.” — Lane Moore
“To the year 2065, when vocal fry is mandatory and upspeak is the national anthem in the Republic of Nobody’s-A-Jerk-Anymore-America” — Jennifer Cumby
“Considering what a mess the Good Old Days are for people who aren’t white straight dudes, I would actually take a risk and go forward in time! I would love to see how we solved things like climate change and racial and gender disparities in the future. Or didn’t solve them. And I would definitely make sure I had my finger on the return button before I jumped. The last thing I want is to end up in the Feminist Gulag.” — Seraphina Ferraro
“The year 2000 so I could tell my 11-year-old self the following important information:
1) Calm down. Bell-bottoms are a fad.
2) Stop worrying about people staring at your sweat stains (quelle horreur!). It’ll save you a lot of paranoia and black [T-shirts] to know in 15 years you’ll be making your own deodorant and not shaving your armpits.” — Allison Smartt
“I’d travel back to Saturday morning and get a lot more sleep. Then I would carry on. There’s nothing I could do to change one moment in time to strengthen the feminist cause. Every moment, grasped by every person, has to change.” — Margaret Corvid
“Whoo boy, I would for sure want to travel to the future and not the past. I can’t imagine many raging feminists who would be super excited to plan a summer vacation in that shit town with no plumbing, where they aren’t a person. Nope, I would like to book a five-day, all-inclusive vacation in the future town full of hoverboards and zero poverty, please!” — Emily Comeau
“As a black woman, this question always cracks me up. There is literally no time in history I’d be safe to travel to (although I did have a lot of fun in 2006 when I bought a pirate costume, but is it really worth it when I can just buy another pirate costume?) — so all known history is going in the ‘no’ column. I’d like to travel to a time in the future when I can get equal pay, people stop trying to touch my hair and Tyler Perry no longer exists — when is that, 3045?” — Ijeoma Oluo
“If I could travel in time, I would enter the era of the first wave of feminism. I would march for the right of women to vote, and I would try to take it innumerable feminist steps further.
“I would argue that we shouldn’t wear dumb, restrictive dresses. I would let all the ladies know that a huge part of women’s rights is also rejecting the patriarchy and the system of early marriage to men you don’t love because you are supposed to.
“Along these lines, I would start a book club and make all the ladies read Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, about a woman in love with a man she can’t be with who kills herself, published in 1899. Also, I’d throw in “A Doll’s House” by Ibsen for good measure. I would have us talk about the meaning of our lives as women and what it could mean for us to break free of those expectations established by ‘the man.’
“I would also go ahead and have a big-girl conversation about homosexuality and about how some women don’t even want to be with men at all and that’s OK too. That might shake things up a bit, but this is my feminist fantasy, so it can be whatever I want it to be.
“So. To conclude: Turn of the last century. Women’s suffrage. Book club. Lesbian liberation. Done. Return home, and marvel at how far we’ve come. And how far we still have to go. Because the dresses we women are still encouraged to wear are just absurd. And the heels. And the Spanx. With the fake hair and the fake lashes and the plastic surgery for all…
“Miles to go before we sleep, ladies. Miles to go before we sleep.” — Mayim Bialik, Ph.D., CLEC