Occupation: Student/Etsy store owner
Location: San Diego, CA
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: I’m vegetarian (for animals, health, environment, political reasons) and an advocate of zero waste (zerowastehome.com)
How do you define feminism?
I would explain feminism as a movement for equality between the sexes. Not only in the way we are treated and compensated for work, but also in the way we are seen and portrayed in the media. We deserve the same respect as the other half of the population.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
Ever since I was in 7th grade; although I had a rather limited view of what it meant then.
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
I went through a phase in high school when I pointed to men for the inequalities and suffering in the world. But women are equally responsible for standing up for their rights and for what’s right! Those who embrace misogynist ideas, tell sexist jokes, disparage feminists, or claim “it’s no big deal” also contribute to the problem. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “We will have to repent … not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
Of course! It’s all too easy for others to view man-haters or overly sensitive women as representative of feminism, but those are caricatures and far from what most feminists are like. I try to engage people on their level; being informed and intelligent about issues always helps, but some people are stuck to their beliefs like glue and you have to let them be.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I really like the idea of raising kids outside of pink and blue categories, meaning they grow up learning that both sexes can play with “girl” and “boy” toys, and it’s okay to be adventurous, caring, athletic, intelligent, and understanding. Showing kids that well-rounded people have both feminine and masculine qualities is one of the most important things we can do. It would be shameful to advocate equality and change but not do anything differently in raising and teaching the next generation.
To read more from Janelle, head on over to her website.
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