How do you define feminism?
For me, feminism is a state of mind where a person is constantly present and questioning the actions and language around them, and challenging the gender binaries that are present and evaluating the ability for social, domestic and political change.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
I am pretty sure I was feminist straight from the womb, IE a problem child who had an issue with authority.
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
My idea of feminism hasn’t changed over time, per se, but it has expanded and the language has become more eloquent. I have always believed that feminism has a place amongst “traditional” female roles, and if being a “housewife” was what a person wanted to do, then it was just as feminist as the person who was burning bras in order to challenge patriarchy and male dominance. You need to own your feminism in order to make it worth something.
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 been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by really supportive, radical, open minded folks for most of my life, so it has not been challenged in the sense of family or friends disagreeing with me and trying to change my ways. My father, who is not a “feminist”, has always offered me really good “what-ifs” in order to really make me think about my politics and beliefs. He never tried to change me, but he kept me on my toes and would really challenge my theories, which pushed me to learn, study and discuss my politics with like minded people, resulting in really solid beliefs backed up by facts and history.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
The future of feminism. Oh my. This is such a hard question. Before I was a mama, I would have answered this question totally differently. And that is not necessarily a good thing.
House wife-dom is over, and women are less isolated and more connected than ever, which is a great thing, and women have more opportunities than before, and men are more open to the conversation, and more supportive.
But then I stop and think about how much am I generalizing, or how the area I am active in is still mostly white and middle class, and I wonder if I have it all wrong. Feminism is still very divided, and even though we are less isolated, we are still having trouble organizing, and even if we did organize, what would the main issues be? What exactly do feminists want?
I hope that the future of feminism works for and achieves the reclamation of the human body- reproductive rights, genital integrity, birthing rights, rights for transgendered people, etc, in additional to equal pay in the workplace, and the recognition of a mother’s work. I also hope that we can bring feminism into mainstream culture sans the negative connotations, and educate mainstream culture about feminism as a human rights and workers rights issue, not only a woman’s issue.
Jenna is a former ballerina turned mama who is studying traditional birthing methods and the resistance to the WHO’s western medical birthing model in indigenous areas of Mexico. She blogs about her domestic endeavors at www.endeavorsin.com and can be followed on twitter @Pantryraid.
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