This Is What A Feminist Looks Like: Sara

Name: Sara Alcid
Age: 23
Occupation: Communications and Fundraising Specialist at a non-profit, feminist blogger
Location: Sun Valley, Idaho —> Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania —> Denver, Colorado

Sara

How do you define feminism?
I would define feminism most simply as a collective effort of all and any gender identified people that works to achieve equality across the board, including but not limited to gender, racial, class, and disability issues. Most social justice issues intersect a great deal, so although women’s equality is at the core of feminism, feminists recognize that none of us are free from social injustice until all of us are free. Feminism is also a movement that permeates both the public and private spheres–fighting for equality in the bedroom and the boardroom.

When did you first identify as a feminist?
Looking back at my childhood and adolescence, I recognize that my mind and heart were populated by traces of feminism from an early age, but I fully came into my feminist identity while attending Bryn Mawr College, one of the Seven Sisters colleges, and engaging more formally with feminism through gender and sexuality studies. I was outraged as a six year old when I received an all-pink Lego set for Christmas from my grandparents. “Why does it have to be pink to be for girls?” I questioned. I chose to write papers in high school about the evolution of ideal female beauty in America and its relation to capitalism. But I had internalized society’s misogynistic messages so deeply that despite clear signs of my interest in feminism, I consider myself to have been pretty crippled by the patriarchal messages I had been receiving from the world for 18 years. That’s why I feel so thankful and lucky that I was able to attend an all women’s college, as there is nothing more empowering and eye-opening than being part of a community that exists first and foremost to further the status of women and help them realize their potential as leaders. In addition to studying feminism and gender and sexuality studies in college with passion and excitement that I find difficult to drum up for anything else, I founded and led a chapter of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, which taught me how to mesh my background in feminist theory with grassroots activism.

Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
My definition, understanding and practice of feminism is constantly evolving. As I better network across the feminist community and read more feminists’ work, I find myself learning new things that help me practice a more inclusive and holistic feminism. Part of being a feminist is recognizing that I certainly don’t have all the answers and that my assumptions and privileges should constantly be kept in check.

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 tend to surround myself with people and run in circles that share my feminist identity or at least respect and embrace mine, so I don’t run into resistance that often. I find that resistance or disapproval surfaces most often when I’m occupying mainstream heteronormative spaces, like a straight bar for example. I receive the most push back about the importance and relevancy of feminism from young men, but I’ve met droves of women that also try to tell me feminism’s war has been won. I respond in a way that will hopefully be productive, by giving them a little explanation of why I’m a feminist (that I believe in equality for all people, regardless of race, gender, class, ability, etc.), which can be a great teaching moment that enables me to destigmatize feminism for someone and provide them with a glimpse into my value system.

What do you see as the future of feminism?
I envision the future of feminism as a movement that has grown to be more inclusive of people of color and gender non-conforming people. I also desperately hope that feminists are able to successfully secure and normalize reproductive rights and justice so that we can move beyond the GOP’s attacks on women and begin addressing issues like paid parental leave, gender equality in the workplace, rape culture, gender equality in the home, and so many more. I hope to contribute to bringing third wave feminism (and possibly the beginning of the fourth wave) before the eyes of mainstream society and generating a better understanding and respect for feminism’s work. Perhaps most of all, I hope the future of feminism is able to motivate political and cultural shifts that create safe and equal public and private spheres.

Sara Alcid graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2011 with a degree in Political Science and Gender & Sexuality Studies. She currently works as the Communications and Fundraising Specialist at a non-profit in Denver, Colorado, but being a feminist activist is her chosen full-time occupation. Her writing about the personal lives of feminists has been featured on Jezebel and in ELLE UK Magazine. She blogs and tweets about reproductive justice, feminism and gender performativity and volunteers for Planned Parenthood and the Denver rape crisis hotline.

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