Majorie, a bottle rotter who is doing her part in the all out defense and offense against Women’s liberation, talked to us about Feminism in the age of the bottle rotter…
Do you consider yourself a feminist or a female empowered promoter?
There is no doubt that I am defiantly a feminist to my core. I always say that Bikini Kill’s ‘Rebel Grrrl’ song (which was released a few days before my birthday) was on the radio in the delivery room when I was born. Also, being an Aries I have this strong desire to lead, advocate for change and fight for the underdog – which in society would be women’s rights. Growing up I was raised in a family full of strong and successful women which shaped my views on feminism early on. The women in my family embraced feminism and so did the men. There was never a divide, and this is what I want to advocate through my blog Womanhood. In general, I feel that you cannot be an empowered promoter for women and women’s issues unless you believe in some aspects of feminism. They go hand in hand. Even if you do not consider yourself a feminist, every woman in modern society today has benefited from feminism in some way.
It seems like woman’s rights within the past few years have really taken a surge, recent political debates, policies, the media with controversial statements about woman. What do you attribute the recent rise of it coming more to the forefront?
The internet and social media. Theres no question that without these two attributes, women’s rights and the re-emergence of feminism in this century would even be relevant. I wish the past generations of feminism had the technology that we do today. If so we probably would have solved so many of these revolving issues decades ago. With social media more people are becoming aware of political debates and female empowerment. Before the internet you had to find ways to advocate for change, study courses, or use snail mail to connect with communities that shared your same views. Today, with the internet it just takes a second to be informed and to be connected to similar minded individuals through our phones and through social media networks. This makes for a more aware and informed society that can move change forward. The generations before us – who dominate politics today, are more rigid in their thinking and I believe they are hurting women’s advancement. I look forward in the future when my generation is old enough to occupy the government, because I feel that a fresh perspective will keep women’s rights in focus, however, that day has yet to come.
I also feel that the younger generation is more liberal minded which helps the feminist movement of today. High profile young feminist like Emma Watson are bringing a positive light to the movement and inspiring a new generation of men and women to fight for equality. Feminism supports the modern lives that women lead, and this adds relevance to a women’s reproductive health and power in the media. Another factor would be that the majority of families today in America are multi-cultural and with this merge of diversity and beliefs systems, make for a more open minded and accepted society.
Do you feel the upcoming presidential race is critical for the importance of where we go as a nation, in terms of woman’s advancement?
Defiantly, I feel that either the next president will move women’s rights forward or things will stay the same. Having a female president will of course change the lives of women and bring our rights to the forefront of political importance for the first time in history. Women’s rights are always on the back burner, because men have the patriarchy to support them, women do not. Men in politics have other agendas on their mind and if its women’s rights its far down the page as level of importance. This is why nothing has really changed or been done on a major level in women’s rights since the second wave of feminism in the sixties. It’s going to take a woman president or more women in positions of power who fully understand the complexities of womanhood to move feminism forward in this country. You cannot make the right decision without a women at the table.
There are major holes in our political systems regarding women’s rights, but there is no huge sense of urgency to fix them. The lives of women have not gotten better over time – things have been coasting along and we have been complacent. I think its time to shake things up. I also feel that a woman as president would inspire young women and girls to fight for positions of power. Its hard to image being something you can not see. When you have more examples of women in high leadership positions it will inspire more women and girls to set higher goals for their future.
How was Womanhood, your beautifully constructed, woman empowerment website, initially conceived and what do you have in store in terms of developing it for the future?
My initial inspiration to start Womanhood was from my love of magazines and learning about the world around me. I am a hardcore magazine hoarder and from a young age I have subscribed to magazines, read them cover to cover, highlighted, wrote in the margins and even worshiped some publications like you would the bible. However, getting older I noticed the magazines have more of a man’s ideal of sexy or interest to them – which happens because men control the majority of the media industry. When reading magazines I’ve notched how they can at times be very destructive towards women’s image and self esteem, including my own growing up. I wanted to create a platform that showcased women who were following the beat of their own drum and doing really rad things in the world, not just for men’s attention. Womanhood showcases woman and girls who are beyond superficiality and are real. Another reason I started Womanhood was because my personal heroes have never been mainstream musicians or actresses. Most of women I see on magazines today are not empowering women to embrace themselves, the women are their to sell a product not to be authentic to the viewer. Also, reading so many magazines I was tired of seeing the same faces year after year being featured and their story never really changed. I wanted to read about high art, influential stories about the world, and my personal heroes like Kathleen Hanna and Tracy Emin. I wanted to read more about women who were like me, not just an actress or singer. I never really could see or read about my idols and I feel like young girls should be admiring more independent artist, because they portray uniqueness and are more so creating for the sake of art not an image or profit. Womanhood was a way for me to showcase the women who I believed were really showcasing true girl power in a positive way. Of course there are many women I admire that are showcasing great examples of feminism that have mainstream careers, but I am more interested in highlighting independent artist and musicians, because they are telling a different story, one we haven’t really heard yet and need to hear more of.Also, my feminist upbringing was a major factor as well. I wanted a platform about women for women. A place where women and girls could go to and find a similar connection and a safe place, or a new woman or friend they could be inspired by. I of course welcome men to Womanhood with open arms so they can embrace feminism too. The idea of having a sort of like riot grrrl themed site for women made sense to me. I feel like if the riot grrrl movement had the internet then they would have blogged instead of pen paled. So there are defiantly some influences of the 90s riot grrrl movement in Womanhood, because I am totally a 90s girl. My future dream for Womanhood is to literally live the Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City life and write for a living. My goals next year is to grow my audience, have more writers, create and self- publish a zine, interview more bands and rad feminist, and launch the e-commace site. Short term goals are to get major funding so Womanhood can become an online magazine and I can have office space in the city with a few full time writers, then finally the end goal is to have a print magazine.
How old are you and what are you currently doing, school, work, etc.?
I am in my early twenties, a women never revels her true age. I am a fashion designer in New York City and freelance writer on the side.
How did you start to get personally invested in woman issues and rights in really wanting to be a pillar for advancement?
Growing up in a family of strong women defiantly helped. However, my grandma who is my best friend inspired me to embrace feminism head on. My grandma for as long as I can remember has a businesses where she portrays women in history. By traveling with her and helping her during her portrayals I learned about the history of feminism and it started growing into a passion for me to help other women. Also I am biracial my father is African American and my mother is of European decent so I also have been faced with racial issues growing up – which also are withstanding in feminism. Being a young woman of color I am subjected to a lot of racial discrepancies as well as issues facing female rights and so I want to advocate for a better world for women of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
Any advice for people who want to get proactive in woman issues?
I feel that if you want to get proactive in women’s issues you can start by volunteering or joining an organization like NOW (National Organization for Woman). I would research what opportunities are in your area. Or in general just reading or advocating for change in your passions and social institutions. It starts with what you know and what you like. A great way for me to learn more about feminism was from the music I listened to which opened me up to different art and perspectives.
Where do you see woman’s rights going, as it appears to have this almost ironic trajectory, a one big step forward then two small steps back approach, being we seem to revisit issues from years back that we appeared to have already settled and or accepted? I feel that with social media and the internet women’s rights will continue to be relevant and stay in the publics eye. I feel like the waves of feminism before always phased out and then re-emerged every 20 years because there was no instant gratification or consistancy of being witness to women’s issues. Social media is making it easier for feminism to have exposure and you cannot go on Facebook or Twitter now without witnessing some article about feminism, tweet, or debate, which is great for the movement. More women will and need to be in positions of power so real change can happen in this country, its time for a new perspective and I feel like women will be the new leaders. Women haven’t really used their full voices yet in politics, they are just getting started. The internet is feminism’s voice and this voice is being heard all over the world and changing the conversation of power. So my hope is that with a constant awareness and appreciation for feminism it will inspire young women and girls to continue to fight for empowerment, because no one else will do it for us if we do not maintain the movement. Lastly, I just want to declare that Feminism is cool and shows that you are intelligent. When you are a feminist it shows that you have a high sense of worth and value others. More women will embrace feminism as a means to create more power and independence in this world. Women are not a silent sex, we may have been pushed down and silenced before, but we have found our voices and we are using them
Feminism can no longer be silenced, its here to stay for good, and WomanhoodNow will be sure of it.