Name: Christine Demore
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.
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!