Tag Archives: #intro

The women who taught me feminism (another introduction)

21 Dec

Unlike many of our writers, I haven’t called myself a feminist for very long. In fact, I’ve been guilty of misunderstanding and mislabeling those who embrace “the word.”

That is, until I got schooled by Gail Collins.

Collins, who is one of my favorite New York Times columnists (aka be prepared for lots of posts about her hilarious essays), wrote a lovely book called When Everything Changed describing the world for American women from the 1960s forward. The book tells awesome stories about how women’s rights have been recognized thanks to feminism.

–Pause here in honor of the brave ladyfolk who stood up for themselves and for the future.

OK. Back to my story — I fell upon this book by chance, at an internship my senior year in college. After reading the book, I worked more and more on women and women’s issues, researching amazing women like Sheila Johnson, Sec. Hilary Clinton and Melanne Verveer, the U.S. Ambassador At Large for Global Women’s Issues . These ladies were so impressive, and their causes were so inspiring. I soon found myself falling in love with feminism.

Sadly, not everyone was pleased with my newfound glory, my mama especially. That’s right, my mama, the breadwinner in our family. My mama, the superwoman who cleaned the house, washed clothes, made dinner, and dried tears (I cried a lot in high school), all after a hard day’s work as a nurse.

What my mama didn’t realize is that all along, she’s been schooling me in feminism. She never told me I wouldn’t be able to do something because I didn’t have the right equipment hiding in my underwear.

I’m aware of how cliché the whole “my mama told me I can do anything!” narrative is. But don’t discount clichés. In a world where many women and girls are told NO all the time, be it in the classroom, the workplace, or the bedroom, the word YES has power.

I’m thankful for all the people in my life who said yes, and even for the ones who said no (more on them in a later post). Together, they gave me enough power and anger to realize I am a feminist, and I’ve been one all along.

This post is brought to you by Rachel.

An introduction or: How I learned to stop fooling myself and embrace “The Word”

20 Dec

I’m Tara.

I grew up in a relatively conservative Catholic family, and until about five years ago, I didn’t have much use for words like “feminist.”

I knew about women’s rights and history – I had even done reports in middle school about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Coffin Mott. I knew about the abortion debate, but because of my Catholic upbringing, I believed myself to be pro-life, even to the degree that I disagreed with birth control. I was told that birth control didn’t prevent you from becoming pregnant; it created a harmful environment in your uterus so that a fetus wouldn’t survive.

So when I was 16 years old and a doctor recommended birth control to treat the ovarian cysts that were causing me tons of pain, I found myself in the crux of religion vs. science vs. society.  Why was I feeling guilty for taking birth control, even as a method of treatment? (I’m sure you can fill in the blank.)

Then came college. My first semester, freshman year I was placed in a higher level American History class, for which we were assigned to read Ruth Rosen’s The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America. This is the book that, ultimately, would change my life. It set into motion the continuation of ideas and opinions that I would soon be able to acknowledge and advocate.

I started to tailor my academic track to include more and more feminist literature and theory, largely involving women in the Art Worlds. Thanks to several strong female influences in my personal and academic lives, I was soon tabling at the cafeteria handing out surveys about pubic hair and printing zines about balancing feminist ideals with sexual deviance.  (Email me if you’d like a copy!)

Zines made in true Riot Grrrl fashion:

So now, in my early twenties, I have found myself more involved in the feminist movement than ever – academic curiosity turned real world action. I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with intelligent, candid, and funny women (and men) who are passionate about sharing. Through our continued conversation we have learned more about each other and more importantly, ourselves. While I may not be a field organizer or professional activist, I believe that through sharing personal stories and ideas with other human beings, I am making a difference.

So that’s my story of how I came to embrace the word. Journalist by training, video editor by trade, and DC resident by transplant, I’m interested in everything from current events to recipe sharing.

I should say you could expect the kitchen sink.

This post is brought to you by Tara. Follow her on Twitter @tarakutz.

Tomatoes & Other Things

17 Dec

I’m Dawn. (Or FeistyFeminist1 if you follow me on Twitter.) But really, I’m Dawn.

When people ask me about myself, one of the first words I say is “feminist.” I tell them I’m compassionate and opinionated, but feminist pops out of my mouth pretty quickly.

So, why am I a feminist? How did I come to be this way? I don’t have a specific moment when a light bulb went off and I knew I was all about gender equality. In fact, I didn’t refer to myself as a feminist until my freshman year of college. But I’ve always believed that women and men were equal.

It was definitely my four years at McDaniel College & my involvement in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues that opened my eyes and allowed me to embrace the part of myself that is committed to stopping mindless violence against women and girls across the world.

But wait — let me tell you the three key words in that last bit: part of myself. That’s right, there’s more to me than just my feministy self. I might have been referred to as “the vagina girl” during my senior year of college (it’s what happens when you direct a show about vaginas at a small school), but there’s a lot more to me than that.

I majored in Women’s Studies. Big surprise. BUT I also majored in Art History and love modern & contemporary art especially. And cool shit like this:

So, things that I like, sans feminism. Green is the best color ever. (Who doesn’t love Kermit the Frog?) Fo realz. And I could listen to Muse all day, everyday. I’m also a huge fan of giraffes (although it has been suggested that my admiration for them stems from the fact that they’re super tall and I’m only 5’1’’). Whatevs.

I’m also an Army brat and the military lifestyle has definitely shaped a lot of my views, allowed me to experience a lot of different places, and bitten me with the travel bug. I’d love to go here.

I’m a twenty-something, millennial woman and I certainly feel pressure. A lot of it is self-imposed, but pressure nonetheless.

I want to be independent, but I want to know that I’m not alone, too. Some days, I want validation. Others, I’d love to engage in an intelligent debate and hear the other side. I want to talk. Explain. Question. Be engaged. Assert myself. And mostly, I want to explore ways that we can stop mislabeling ourselves and everything around us—or at least understand why we do it.

Because seriously, guys, tomatoes are fruits as much as we want to call them veggies.

This post is brought to you by Dawn.
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