Name: Ellen M. Lacey
Occupation: Sociology Researcher/Master’s Student
Location: Lexington, KY
I believe the foundation of today’s feminism must be individual in nature. Each woman needs to stand up for her own liberties – in the home, at work – and we must support our sisters the way team-mates do. We are not fighting men, we are working toward lives that suit us without making us work harder than men. Every woman that stays up to clean the house long after her husband is asleep, who doesn’t consider the cultural ramifications of changing her last name, who chooses not to pursue her dream job for lack of support from her partner – each of these women is choosing to stand by cultural norms that hurt all of us.
It’s not about a clear set of goals today (except pay equality of course) but rather about informed choices that are in line with our values as individual women. We must remember though that every choice we make effects another woman and more likely many other women.
I worry that we are resting on the progress of the feminists that came before us. Just because we have more choices by no means suggests that we have equality. Equality (or parity) is a state of being free to choose any path (even one traditionally “male”) and make choices that are in our best interest without risking scorn or judgement. We are not there yet and I worry we may not arrive in my lifetime.
Ellen Lacey attended Barnard College, a women’s college in the heart of New York City, where she studied Latin American history and psychology. At Barnard she met the women that would become her chosen family – Strong, Beautiful, Barnard Women. These girlfriends have taught her what it means to be loyal, how to properly set a dinner table, and the most effective way to pack for a semester abroad, among so many other things. She is currently building behavioral science research databases and working on an MPH (2013) at the University of Kentucky. Ellen is a member of the UK Staff Senate, on the Board of the University of Kentucky Women’s Forum, the founder of the Barnard Club of Kentucky, and a White House Project GO Run alumna (Denver, Colorado).
Ellen comes from a family of amazing women, the ones who braved the professional world in the 1980s and managed to raise wonderful children while building strong careers – and never sleeping. Her Mom is still living in New York City, immunizing high schools students in rough neighborhoods, and helping to run a day-care center for teenage mothers. Ellen is fully aware that she will not top that resume. Her Father was a feminist too. He changed the family’s church because the priest would not allow women on the alter when she was in elementary school. Arriving in Kentucky two years ago, she realized that feminism looks different everywhere and had the opportunity to examine her convictions about women and our place in society.
Ellen is an active member of Temple Adath Israel, a reform synagogue in Lexington, KY. She loves to play with her fur-child Spencer in the park in her free time, or when she’s ignoring the homework piling up. Ellen is blessed with the presence of her youngest sister in her home. She is studying to be a dairy-farming professor and not taking out her trash. She has a generous boyfriend who listens attentively to her rants, cooks, and does laundry. Ellen plays club rugby at University of Kentucky. She recently started a youth cheerleading program with the YMCA of Central Kentucky. Team sports are her passion and the avenue she believes saved her from getting stuck in her neighborhood in Staten Island, NY in high school.
More than anything else, Ellen is a grateful Sister to two feminists, Daughter, Friend, and Girlfriend – and well aware that it’s the people in her life that make everything work while.
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