What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism, to me, is a global social justice movement that tries to undo inequalities based on gender, but also inequalities that intersect with age, sexual orientation, class, race, etc. Feminism is also a deeply-held belief-system, or philosophy, that usually involves some kind of personal journey of self-discovery – that certainly has been the case for me.
When did you realise you were a feminist?
I’ve probably been a feminist for a very long time, but might not have been aware of it. Since my teenage years I railed against traditional gender roles, and later on became aware of feminist analyses by doing a gender course in college. That really helped me to see the bigger picture – “hang on, there’s a system here called patriarchy?” – and it’s from then on, really, that I self-identified as a feminist.
What issue/area is the most important to you?
There are so many issues, and they all seem interlinked, so it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint just a few. However, I think gender and politics is a really interesting area to look at, not just in terms of women’s representation, but also in terms of policy, how political institutions are structured, and how political decision-making takes place. I’m also interested in the effects of gendered media on women and girls, and in economic inequality.
What do you say to people who say “I’m not a feminist but….”
Most of the time, when you talk to people who say “I’m not a feminist but..”, it turns out that they actually share many of your views on gender equality and issues related to political representation, reproductive rights, or whatever the topic might be. Unfortunately, though, the word ‘feminist’ has been given such a bad rap that there’s a fear of identifying with the term. I think that is changing though, and the more we can take that fear out of the term by engaging people, by letting people know about the amazing work feminists have been doing and continue to do, the better.
Where do you see the feminist movement going in the future?
It’s hard to tell what will happen to feminism in the future, but it certainly won’t go away anytime soon. Unless we dismantle patriarchy fairly quickly and thereby get rid of the need for feminism, feminism will be here with us. I think more people are turning toward feminism, though, and the movement will be significantly strengthened over the coming years.