Name: Sally Deskins
Age: 31 (32 on August 11)
Occupation: Arts columnist for The Reader (an Omaha weekly newspaper) ; otherwise mothering is what I spend the most time on, or promoting women in the arts via Les Femmes Folles
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
How do you define feminism?
At the very foundation, feminism isthe theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes (Merriam-Webster!). On a personal level, its the realization that no one defines who you are except yourself, and keeping that in mind when hearing/experiencing other ways of life, as well.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
I don’t know! The first time I remember “identifying” as one was about 2-3 years ago when someone questioned my casual mentioning of feminism in my life. I actually didn’t consciously realize people officially identified as one until then. Before then I thought it was just a given (see Merriam-Webster above). 🙂
Yes and no, as per the experience above. I still view the foundational Merriam-Webster definition as what feminism really is, but I’m beginning to see more definitions of it beyond that in different contexts. Though personally I believe everyone who believes in equality is a feminist, they just don’t know it yet :). (adopted from Caitlin Moran’s book ‘How to Be a Woman’ 2011).
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, yes, yes. I get very defensive. It’s unfortunate. Which of course then perpetuates the angry feminist myth. Obviously everyone gets angry, feminist or not. I think the reason identifying as a feminist gets resistance is because of these various myths. People take it from their experience with whatever media they’ve read or those who define feminism as a certain way of life (ie you must shave your legs or your must not let your daughter watch princess movies to be a feminist, etc.) and also people don’t like labels. The way I should handle it is…understanding or seeking to understand where they are coming from and hearing them out. That is what a feminist would do! 🙂 But I’m not a perfect feminist.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I hope for my daughter the future is bright. She will help make it that way. And I’ll do my best!
Sally Deskins is an arts writer, artist, event curator, arts activist, art model, mother and wife in Omaha, Nebraska. She keeps the blog Les Femmes Folles: Celebrating Women in Art, at femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com and facebook.com/femmesfolles. Her book Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2011, can be previewed and purchased at blurb.com.