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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen U: Marcie Bianco: Equality isn’t working. Why do we still want it?

James Barrs
Aspen Public Radio
Marcie Bianco speaks on feminism in the Monarch Room at the Limelight Hotel as part of the Aspen U Speaker Series.

This event was recorded on February 15, 2023 at the Limelight Hotel, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

Equality is broadly accepted as a liberal value of civil society. But, as evinced by how it has been weaponized recently—from overturning affirmative action to preventing trans athletes from competition, to espousing oxymoronic ideas like “fetal personhood”—we can’t help but wonder, is equality really working? Is it the cure-all to societal discrimination and oppression? The most pressing issues of today are not those of equality but those of freedom, from bodily autonomy to accessibility, to privacy. Marcie Bianco argues that we need to change mindsets if we are to truly realize the world that we want, a world rooted in the ethics of freedom, of care and accountability. Because as countless freedom fighters and feminists have told us: I am not free until you are.

Marcie Bianco is a writer and cultural critic. By day (…and night…and weekends), she is an editor at Stanford Social Innovation Review, an award-winning quarterly magazine. She holds an undergraduate degree with honors in government from Harvard University, a master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Oxford University, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in English literature, with a Women’s Studies certification from Rutgers University. Breaking Free is her first book.