Name: Kate Cosner
How do you define feminism?
For me, feminism is the being an advocate. It’s about working for the power to speak about and advocate for women’s rights. Certainly, we all have equal rights du jure, but there are absolutely de facto practices that prevent women from reaching their full potential. I aim to be one of those that speaks out against injustice within a patriarchal system, and aspire to be a role model for young people to reject injustice where they find it.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
I think I first identified as a feminist from a younger age, but had no vocabulary with which to define it. I was always concerned about the experiences of my fellow women, and whether they were feeling fulfilled. Once I came to college, I met other feminist students and professors who were collaborative and knowledgeable. It was then that I acquired the passion, opportunity to discourse/action, and vocabulary with which to define my identification.
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
My definition of feminism is being revised and rewritten constantly. Every time I encounter ignorance or enlightenment about women’s issues, my definition changes a little bit. But I think that what remains constant is advocacy and vision.
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 experienced resistance from individuals at my college and (at least in the beginning) from my family. I think the best course of action for handling this resistance is education. A lot of individuals see feminism as a dirty word, which I think is a result of exposure to biased representations in the media and culture. I think that the best way to break down resistance is to tell people what feminism is fundamentally about—social, economic, and political equality. It’s much more difficult to stand in opposition when one is educated.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I think the future of feminism involves fighting against insidious, pervasive practices that bar women from achieving their full potential. There have been great advances, but now there are less obvious but still serious institutional and cultural practices and assumptions that need to be investigated and systematically broken down.