This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Emily

Name: Emily Heroy
Age: 26 (will be 27 in Feb)
Occupation: Educator/Executive Editor of Gender Across Borders
Location: Chicago, IL


How do you define feminism?
Because of my previous experience and involvement with Gender Across Borders, I see my feminism as a global feminism. Global feminism, for me, does not just include women’s rights. While I believe that women’s rights are central to the movement as a whole, global feminism also includes fighting against all inequities: such as race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Feminism cannot possibly make change without other movements and issues aligned to it.

I want to specifically address the term “global” in “global feminism.” Feminism has traditionally been associated with Western white women–which I don’t think this is what feminism should be. Feminism has a history of excluding many groups of people, particularly those who are underprivileged. For me, I believe that using the term “global feminism” will help to re-invent the term “feminism,” to take away negative connotations and speak for all people–not just privileged, white women from the West.

When did you first identify as a feminist?
Growing up, I always identified as having or entitled to having equal rights to boys and men. As a younger Emily, I would not have called myself a feminist because it had negative associations for me. It wasn’t until college where I took more gender studies courses and proudly called myself a feminist.

Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
As I’ve become more involved with the feminist movement post-college when I started Gender Across Borders, my feminism has evolved to (hopefully) a more inclusive feminism to all kinds of people. I’ve been disappointed with feminism in the past as I’ve witnessed how feminism asserts its privilege time and time again.

Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
Yes, several times. I used to write more personal articles for Gender Across Borders, hoping to break barriers on the definition of feminism. I wrote about changing my name about a year and a half ago and many readers accused me of not being a feminist or not being feminist “enough.” After that incident, I chose not to write about my personal life and didn’t care what people thought of my feminism. After all, it’s my feminism, not anyone else’s, and they can’t take that away.

What do you see as the future of feminism?
In the ideal world, I see it being more inclusive. I also see more young people getting involved in feminism, and all feminists getting along with each other. But that’s the ideal world, and I’m guessing that won’t happen–at least anytime soon.

In the real world, I hope that feminists (and non-feminists) can have discussions about important issues that we all face together.

Emily Heroy is the Executive Editor and a co-founder of Gender Across Borders. Combining her interest in international development work and feminism, Gender Across Borders was created in April 2009 as a global feminist blog. Currently living in her hometown of Chicago, Emily is an educator and advocate of feminism. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender and Sexuality studies from New York University. She has previously worked and volunteered at: Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, Girls for Gender Equity, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, and the Peace Corps in Morocco. In March 2011, she was named one of the top 100 ”most inspiring people delivering for girls and women ” from the NGO Women Deliver and in June 2011, she was named one of the top 40 Under 40 Leaders by the New Leaders Council.

You can follow Emily on Twitter @emilyheroy, check out her Tumblr blog, or you can contact her via email emily [at] genderacrossborders [dot] com.

If you would like to participate in this series, please contact me for more details!

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