It was around this time that she also joined the feminist movement. A self-described “shy person,” opening up her work to the world, and to new approaches, hadn’t always come easily for Fishman. In her late teens, she forewent a burgeoning career as a pianist because, she says, “I didn’t want to be playing in front of other people. I had never stood up in front of a group, and I was desperate not to do that.” The memory is ironic now, given her easygoing gregariousness and paintings that pack in bold, forthright gestures. “I was still finding my voice,” she explains. “My work changed a lot around then, and what changed it most dramatically was being involved in the women’s movement—I found my voice there.”
Her gateway into organized feminism was a brief stint with the group Redstockings, though she quickly moved onto an even more radical cohort, W.I.T.C.H., short for Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, and would later become active in the New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI) and even organize her own group which gathered women artists. “In those groups, everyone had to speak, we were all equalized, and whatever we said couldn’t be questioned. It was testimony: here’s my experience as a woman, and as a woman artist,” she explains.