How do you define feminism?
Feminism is the freedom to express oneself without fear of stereotypes, and to be given equal opportunities, and not be held to different standards than those of the opposite sex.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
Growing up as a definite “tomboy,” I always rebelled against the gender stereotypes and gravitated more towards Legos and building forts than Barbies and princesses (not to say I didn’t have a fair amount of those things too). Having an older brother probably influenced that side of me pretty heavily. I guess I’ve been a feminist since the beginning. But I’ve only really thought about it and identified as one since entering college.
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
Yes. My initial ideas about feminism were that women and men should be treated the same. But being treated the same and being treated equally are different. It didn’t occur to me until the last couple of years that rebelling against the system isn’t the only way to fight for equal treatment. I’ve lately been discovering that the traditionally “domestic arts” like cooking and crocheting are important to feminism too. What matters isn’t the activities themselves, but that the women who take part in them feel empowered and enjoy doing whatever it is, and aren’t conforming to the cookie cutter mold just because that’s what they’re “supposed” to like doing.
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
Not really. My husband is a feminist too, and thus far my life experiences are limited to college, where most people I encounter are pretty open minded anyway.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I think the next big thing that our culture needs to tackle is female sexuality. The media is still extremely prudish about vaginas and the female orgasm. I bet some people will squirm uncomfortably just because I typed vagina. Women should be proud of their sexuality. And as uncomfortable as it may be for some, issues like miscarriages should not be a shameful topic. The MayoClinic says 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That means 1 in 5 women! Women should not be closeted into thinking that there is something wrong with them or that they are somehow unfit mothers because of it. Start up the dialogue! No one should be alone through such a painful process. And finally, free and available access to birth control for women of all ages around the world! Huzzah!
Sandy spends her free time fighting against mountaintop removal and other environmental issues, and aspires to one day own a farm in the rural countryside where she can raise a family, read, do crafts, and grow her own food as sustainably as possible.
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