I was equally condemned by feminists who called me a sell-out and by traditionalists who were offended I would speak so comfortably about being pro-choice, wanting a career, and rejecting religion.
Independent | Resilient | Fiercely Feminist
What is your purpose?
To shape and refine the minds of two little humans while working to expand my own.
What does society say about what it means to be feminine?
Feminine is too often acquainted with dainty, delicate, or weak. Serena slamming a serve is just as feminine. Femininity is power.
How have societal messages about femininity changed in your lifetime?
Whether and how we parent, whether and how we work, whether and whom we marry all seem to be shaped so much by mass and social media now. I appreciate wider opportunities than generations before had, but there is far too much opportunity now to compete about who is the strongest, who is the toughest, who is the most "accomplished," who is raising children the "right" way, and so forth. Our role as women was shaped by a small family and cultural experience, and now is overwhelmed by the entire world weighing in on what we do.
How do you define femininity?
A woman being uniquely herself.
Talk about femininity and your identity.
It is essential to my identity. In my weakest moments, I reflect on how my body grew other bodies, and I'm reminded of my essential power.
Describe a time when you felt feminine and were not conforming to societal messages.
Participating in pageants. I was not drawn to pretty, shiny things or dresses or crowns, but did so for purely self-interested reasons (a quick way to pay for my education). It was one of the loneliest experiences of my life. I was equally condemned by feminists who called me a sell-out and by traditionalists who were offended I would speak so comfortably about being pro-choice, wanting a career, and rejecting religion. I didn't fit either social message in that moment, but nevertheless felt beautiful and unique and strong.
Talk about a way in which you choose to influence the world around you for the better.
I'm in a season of life where my energies are for raising my babies, maintaining my career, and keeping my own mental health intact. I do continue to support causes I am passionate about: mental health, suicide prevention, eating disorder awareness, reproductive freedom, women's pay equity.
Talk about a way that the "world" has influenced you for the better.
Those in the choice community have not only influenced me to be more mindful of autonomy, but of intersectionality. Real feminism cannot be white, straight, rich, and ableist. Feminism must embrace and promote persons of color, indigenous community, the disabled community, the LGBT community, the working poor. Leaders in the pro choice movement have done so much to influence me to recognize my inherent privilege as a white woman, to see my responsibility for identifying exclusion, and to call out inherent bias in the feminist movement.
Describe a time when you felt totally badass.
The past two years raising my children alone after being abandoned by my husband/their father.
Who has/does inspire you?
A friend of mine was widowed at a young age. Like me, her mother died young. On my worst days when the world feels too much to handle alone, she encourages me. It must take tremendous resolve to experience the same, and in fact worse, and yet be a comfort to others.
At the heart of a strong beautiful woman is: a refusal to quit.