This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Christine

Name: Christine Demore
Age: 29
Occupation: Academic Addict (It must be an addiction because I can’t seem to quit academia and it keeps taking all my money!)
Location: Ontario, Canada
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: When I’m not studenting I’m reading chick lit and blogging about it, cooking vegetarian meals, running a movie theater projector/selling tickets, dancing to 90’s music, being harassed by my cats, railing against the patriarchy, or being silly with my legally bound significant other.

Christine

How do you define feminism?
I once had a professor write this very question on the board and then watched 20 students spend 3 hours trying to come up with a cohesive, singular answer. So, without going into a mini-thesis I will simply say that for me, feminism is about gender equality, the struggle for freedom from patriarchal oppression, and social justice for all.
 
When did you first identify as a feminist?
I decided to take a Women’s Studies class 6 years ago that changed my life. The professor, course readings, and fellow class mates helped put words to my experience as a young woman and growing up as a girl that I had always felt wrong about but just assumed it was “just the way things were.” After that I went on to join (and coordinate) campus women’s groups, perform in V-Day productions, and gain an Honors degree in Women’s Studies. Once you’ve repeatedly shouted the word “Cunt” in an auditorium full of people, I think you pretty much have to call yourself a feminist.
 
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
I think my definition has become more nuanced over time. When I first started calling myself a feminist the concept, history, theory, and ideology of it was all so new to me that I had a tendency to look at issues with black/white thinking and to be a bit reactionary.I think as I matured into my feminism and into myself this began to drop away. I am still in search of a more detailed or deeper answer to the question of defining feminism and enjoy incorporating new ideas and theories.
 
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 think I have been lucky in that I haven’t had major resistance in my life to identifying as a feminist. I know at the time of my feminist awakening my partner became nervous. Like many people, his only concept of feminists was that they hated men and well, him being a man… that must mean I was packing my bags, right? Thankfully, we have grown together and he identifies as a feminist as well!  I spend a lot of my time with like minded people and am bold enough now to speak up as a feminist when outside of feminist company. When I have experienced resistance it is typically from men who make a point to try and demean me sexually through verbal insults or arguments under the guise of conversation. In these situations I refuse to be treated without respect and usually remove myself and am reminded of how much work feminism still has to do.
 
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I think the future of feminism has to do with calling out covert sexism in the spaces that we believe sexist experiences to “just be the way it is.” It is not acceptable for our media to fool women and men into believing that women “have made it” and are now possibly even oppressing men. Additionally, I think the concept of allies is of the utmost importance. This means understanding how issues of gender oppression intersect with issues of homophobia, transphobia, race, ability, and class. This also means the inclusion of men in feminist thought and action as they take responsibility for their freedom from the tyranny of patriarchal masculinity.I think Slut Walks are a great example of all these things and I am excited to see a new generation of feminists awakened and revitalized.
 
Christine’s blog, Bitch Lit, can be found here.
 
If you would like to participate in this series, please contact me for more details! 

4 thoughts on “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Christine

  1. Thanks for running this series and letting me participate! Sometimes I take being a feminist for granted, so it’s nice to think about my reasons and definitions.

    Also, I was talking to my partner about my statement about shouting cunt and how that makes you a feminist. He pointed out that this might also make you a misogynist. Haha! So, to clarify, I have shouted cunt in an auditorium full of people during the Vagina Monologues. FEMINIST!

    • You’re welcome! I really have been enjoying the array of answers. I feel the only way we can move forward as a movement, and as women, and hell – as people, is if we actively tear down these stereotypes of what a feminist is.

      While there clearly have been similar ideas/ideals in each profile, everyone is unique and has their own story, you know? I think you’re the first one to shout Cunt! in here too😉 but yes…it’s all about context for that one, ha!

  2. Nice interview, Christine! It is so important for feminists to educate our young girls & women about what feminism really is. There are so many misconceptions about it – even within feminism itself. Gender equality, not gender neutrality. I think it’s harder now that sexism isn’t as blatant as it was 50 years ago. And many young women don’t even realize that they’re being discriminated against because sexism is still so subtle. But you also make a good point about the perception that being a feminist equates hating men, which I believe has caused a backlash by both men & women. It’s such a complex issue and feminism still has a long way to go. Keep up the good work!

    • Totally, Lucie. Not only are we fighting the general stereotype of feminism that is out there in mainstream society, but there is plenty of internal confusion/misconception as well.

      Now, do all feminists have to agree on every last thing? Hell no – an example of that has been making itself clear via Twitter/tumblr this past week. Feminists argue, they disagree, but – what (ideally) can set us apart is that we come together for the important issues – the ones that get us closer to true equality. Then the side issues can get hammered out/discussed/debated/etc… in a healthy way.

      And yes to the harder now. It’s harder b/c people don’t notice the subtle sexism that is still rampant. They’ve grown up with it, so it’s so ingrained that it’s hard to step back and go, whoa…check out the sexism/patriarchy with that (TV, Movies, workplace environment, advertising, etc…).

      Lucie – If you’re interested, get in touch – would love to have you participate in the series!!

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