Name: Julia Famularo
Occupation: doctoral student
Location: Connecticut/Washington DC/Asia
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: news junkie, musician, adventurer
|Julia, wielding her lasso of truth since 4 years old|
How do you define feminism?
An innate belief that women deserve the same rights and privileges as men, no matter where they’re born, where they live, and where they work.
An appreciation of the contributions that women make every day, large and small.
A concern for the welfare of other women.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
Since before I can ever remember! I’m quite fortunate to have a mother who has always encouraged me. Growing up before the women’s rights movement, she was acutely aware of the societal limitations imposed upon women, and was determined that things would be different for her daughters. I consequently used to go around telling people as a young girl that “I can be anything I want when I grow up, except a boy.” If only I knew… 😉
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
I think that my understanding and appreciation of feminism has expanded and deepened over time. When I was younger, my main exposure to feminism was what I learned in school (who hasn’t done a book report on Susan B. Anthony?), read in the paper, or discussed with my mother.
As I grew older, I realized that there was far more to feminism than learning about the suffrage movement and lamenting that women still don’t receive equal pay for equal work. Feminism isn’t simply about the struggle for rights… it isn’t even simply about “struggle,” period.
To me, feminism is about considering how we as individuals and societies construct gender. It’s about rethinking gender roles and gender stereotypes that we encounter everyday. It’s about contemplating the choices we make and how they ultimately affect others: our family, our friends, and society as a whole.
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
Only from myself! There was a time in my life when I began to wonder what it really meant to be a feminist, and whether you lost your membership card if you weren’t out on the streets with protest signs. Then, to my great relief, I realized that our thoughts and actions all make a difference, and we’re all metaphorically on the front lines every day.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I think that in the future, we’ll continue to break down barriers around the world. I believe that it’s particularly important for us all of us to educate ourselves and speak out against violence and discrimination against women in other countries. There are so many horrific practices that still exist, such as bride kidnapping, honor killings, FGM, and many others. Perhaps a good place to start is identifying at least one or two causes that are truly important to you, and thinking of small ways that you can make a contribution.
Julia M. Famularo is a Research Affiliate at the Project 2049 Institute and a fourth-year doctoral student in Modern East Asian Political History at Georgetown University. Recently, she had the opportunity to spend a semester at the State Department, working in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. She has lived and traveled extensively in the People’s Republic of China, ethnographic Tibet, and Taiwan. You can find more from Julia at Project 2049.
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