This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Shel

Name: Shel Frolich Tscherne
Age: 35
Occupation: Documenter of our homeschooled lives/keeper of the everyday treasures
Location: MA
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: wife to one wonderful man, unschooling mama of two amazing little girls, birth doula (and aspiring homebirth midwife…someday!)

The Tscherne family

How do you define feminism?
I think feminism is about valuing women and about women seeing value in themselves and what they are capable of.

When did you first identify as a feminist? 
I think I have been a feminist from the time I was born (although I don’t think I realized it until more recently).  Growing up with “Free To Be You and Me” helped to lay the foundation that women can do anything and that everyone should be treated as equal.  I have always seen people as people and not in regard to their color, race, gender, sexual orientation etc.  If you are a good person than that is all that matters to me.  I have always loved books and movies where there are strong women main characters or where the woman who may have been meek ends up pulling herself up by her boostraps and finding the strength within her to stand up for what she truly believes in/what’s right.

Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How? 
I have always believed that girls and women should see themselves as strong and capable. I have never understood how some women can allow themselves to be treated badly.  Now, as a mother of two amazing daughters these beliefs are even stronger!  As parents we are our children’s first teachers.  What we live they learn.  In order to create a society of strong women (and strong men too) we need to be good examples for our girls!  If you are in a crummy relationship, get out. If you see something that does not sit right with you, do something about it.  If you want your children to have a magical childhood make it that way.  Sometimes the best lessons our children learn from us are when we are looking fear in its face and going against the norm!

Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
I have definitely experienced resistance but I am not sure if it’s because of my identifying as a feminist or just because a lot of the choices that we make in our family go against the norm (attachment parenting, gentle parenting, unschooling, etc).  I have always been a strong advocate that people shouldn’t stay in situations that are not healthy or that are making them miserable, and I think it is because of this advocacy paired with “living on the fringe” that oftentimes makes people unsure of what to do with me.

What do you see as the future of feminism?
My hope is that women will continue to break down barriers as we always have.  My hope is that my daughters (and all girls the world over) will stand up for what they believe in even if it’s not always the popular choice.  I hope that the things that we are advocating for (equal pay for equal work, more options in regard to birth (and access to midwives and homebirth for low risk women), more women in the Sciences, an improved educational system, etc will all come to fruition and allow our girls to have even brighter futures than they already do!

Shel and her families many adventures are documented (usually daily!) on their blog One Sweet World.  

If you would like to participate in this series, please contact me for more details! 

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