The F Word and You: Emma Houlihan

What does feminism mean to you?

Well first and foremost it means equality. It also means an inner strength, unity and intelligence. I don’t care what your background is, if you are able to look around the world and notice that something is just a little bit off, and everyone around you is telling you you’re “reading too much into it” or “your just over reacting” – if through all that you still SEE what’s wrong, it is inherent intelligence and strength of character. Congratulations to you.
When did you realise you were a feminist?

On one level I think I was raised this way, small things like the fact my mother kept her maiden name or that we all (my brothers and sisters and me) had to do our fair share of the household work, or that we were all sent to pretty much the same activities when we were kids. When I was in the scouts (you may begin your mocking) I began to notice just small but different attitudes towards the girls there. The boys got to play rough, the girls didn’t, it always used to annoy me. It wasn’t until I came to college that I had an “oh I am a feminist” moment. Between Luce Irigaray and Ariel Levy my eyes were opened, and you can’t un-see things. At this point I don’t want to anyway
What issue/area is most important to you?

Representation of women in pop culture. Movies, TV shows, Comics Games, Plays, you name it if its got some sexism I’m there! From the greats like Buffy kicking ass, to Peggy Olsen being awesome, to the not-so-greats like Bella being… urgh, to Lara Croft having to be raped in order to be a “strong” woman. In the more political areas paternity rights: better flexible working hours, better paternity leave and some actually rights for an un-married father. It’s time women let go of some of their power at home, because the only way we are going to have “it all” is if we start sharing “it all”
What do you say to people who say “I’m not a feminist but….”

Sure “I’m not a feminist but…” people deserve our patronizing understanding, but remember that inherent intelligence I was talking about? These girls (and many boys) just don’t have what it takes!  Of course there are exceptions if they are Trans or Gay or in any way ethnic I tend to say “yeah, I see your point”, The feminist movement, if we have a flaw, it’s that we can tend to leave them out on the fringes.
Where do you see the feminist movement going in the future?

I think I have to steal from Linda Kelly’s answer here, I want to see a massive march on Dublin. “We’re here, we have a vagina, get used to it!”

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