This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Jannine

Name: Jannine Gaudet
Age: 35
Occupation: Stay at home mother during the day/Massage Therapist at night
Location: Connecticut
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: Married to one amazing nerd, keeper of a wacky cat, and my friends call me “The Muscle”

Jannine & her family

How do you define feminism?
I look at feminism as having an inner strength, that many women have, and being confident enough to let that inner strength shine, as being proud to be a woman and not comprising your values just to be accepted.

When did you first identify as a feminist?
Very recently, something happened to me, when I became a mother and a massage therapist, which I did literally at the same time (I was pregnant when I went to massage school, and received my license after Mia was born). I found motherhood completely inspiring and began to do things that I have not done in years. Also to be able to make others feel fantastic by giving them the gift of touch, opened up a whole new whole to me. I really felt that I have come into my own talents in this world. I found the strength within myself to live life the way I wanted to, and it has become a beautiful life indeed. I am much more confident in my own skin, as a advocate for my daughter and as a teacher of the benefits of massage.

Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
I believe the definition as softened over time, but not in a bad way. Before there was such a “man hating”negative vibe with this word. Now it is seems like the definition as mellowed into a more positive word. Where women can use that word to empower rather then just demean the opposite sex.

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 had some resistance as my confidence grows as a feminist. I have lost some friends because I am no longer in the role that I used to be in. There is always some resistance when you decide to live in a way that is different from others. There are those who think I should be working full time, there are those that think I should be a full time stay at home mom and only concentrate on my family. I am handling it by telling them, that I know myself, and that the path I have chosen for myself, is the right one for me and my family. I am handling it by showing how happy me and my family are, and staying strong in the path I am going.

What do you see as the future of feminism?
What I would like to see, is for women to really embrace this word, and not have competition or guilt in living the way that they have to, or want to. If you love your career and what to work full time or you need to work full time..then work it. If you want to be a stay at mom home, you go with your homemaker self. If you are like me and know that you will start duct taping you kids to a wall if you are home all day with them, so you save your sanity by having a part time job, then do it with no apologizes. At the end of the day, if you not hurting yourself, anyone else, or breaking the law, live your life the way you want and be proud to be a feminist.

You can follow Jannine’s blog where she records some of her adventures at http://ajarfullofkittybeans.blogspot.com/

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