Whenever I find a new blog I instantly go to the ‘About’ section. I love to see who these people are before I start reading their posts. When I found Andrea over at The Rêve Head, I was instantly drawn in as she also wasn’t fully content with her original education in Biology and Psychology and pursued Fashion Management. This is very similar to my case. As she is my first person to interview for this feature, I was ecstatic when she replied. She writes with great honesty and insightfulness. Her blog is something that I really look forward to reading and something I have added to my regular read. I find her similar to me even though we never spoke in real life (is that narcissistic?). When I started this feature I had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted it to be and I will admit I was nervous opening it to others but I needn’t have because Andrea answered with great clarity around the subject of feminism and women. If you do nothing else today, have a look at her blog. I promise it will make your day brighter. I especially recommend ‘Love Letter to Netflix‘ to start you off.
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Would you consider yourself a feminist?
What does feminism mean to you?
Simply put, feminism means equality to me. It means that all humans, regardless of their gender are treated equally. It means they’re given the same opportunities, given the same respect, shone in the same light, and that instead of being judged by their gender and assigned expectations, that they’re judged on their merit, personalities, capabilities etc.
Does the world need feminism? Why/why not?
The world most definitely needs feminism. I think we’ve reached a turning point where our generation isn’t keen on how things have been in the past. The issue lies in the fact that society has learned these categorized expectations for both men and women, and the difficulty is now getting everyone on the same page – both men and women – to speak up for, focus on, and push for equality. This generation needs to teach its own of how it should be, so that the next generations are in shock when they learn it was ever any other way.
What has been people’s opinion to your status as a feminist? If you don’t really talk about it to people, what do you feel is the general public reaction to feminism as a topic?
I’ve recently started posting on my blog more openly about how I feel about the treatment of women and where feminism comes into play. For the most part I’ve had a very positive response – both women and men, of different ages agreeing with what I’m saying, willing to stand up for me, and back my opinion. I’ve also had some friends who I think feel being a *feminist* isn’t *cool*, and have told me they don’t think it’s a problem. I think is is more a matter of maturity, and thinking on a small, personal scale, rather than looking at the big picture and the state of society. To say sexism or gender inequality doesn’t exist is misinformed. I feel like I used to sometimes feel this way, maybe I wasn’t aware of slight ways myself or other women were being pigeonholed or whatever it may be, but the more articles I read, and more stories I hear of gender inequality, the more aware of it I become. It’s like when the school system and the DSM made the definition of autism more thorough – the cases of autism increased dramatically. Once you’re more informed on a topic, it’s easier to spot it, and easier to have a heightened sense to be on the look out for it.
Who were your female role models growing up? Would you consider them to be the same today?
Honestly, I was also not completely aware of the concept of or need for feminism. I was raised to always think I was capable of doing whatever I wanted – that my brother and I were on the same playing field. I always had amazing teachers who never treated me differently because I was girl. This is going to sound silly, but I think Elle Woods, the character from Legally Blonde got the idea in my head that it’s important to be a crusader for my gender. Her character was portrayed as a specific female stereotype – the blonde bimbo who only cared about finding a wealthy man and getting her nails done. But she also showed how she can remain herself, super feminine but also very capable at getting shit done, and working hard for what she wanted. Emma Watson’s speech for the UN definitely influenced my opinion of what feminism means, and why it matters now. Also, paying more attention to politics has helped to inform my feminist ideologies.
Who were the women in your life that helped to mould you into to the woman you are today?
My family and friends have shaped who I’ve become today, and also I think a certain stubbornness in myself more than anything has dictated who I am and who I firmly remain. I was a pretty spunky little girl (from stories my family has told me), very headstrong and opinionated, even at a young age. My family just went with it! My grandma once said that I would either be running a business or head of the mafia one day (neither have happened yet). I have a very intelligent group of friends who are always pushing me to learn and understand more about the world and our society. They keep my on my toes. I’m also very influenced by the varied strong female role models presented in our culture today. Hearing Beyonce or Tavi Gevinson express a feminist opinion kind of gives you a starting place. You form your own opinion based on what they’ve said, and it gets you thinking and talking, which is the most important thing.
What traits did you learn from these women? Or what aspects of your life did they reinforce?
My family has been trying to encourage me to return to my youthful strength. I think I became less convicted/strong as I got older, and they’re always reminding me that I still have that spunk and that I should harness and celebrate it. A lot of ‘qualities’ I possess are just innate, and I don’t know where they came from. I just am the way I am.
What do the bond/relationship with the females in your life mean to you?
They mean everything to me! We may not always agree on certain things, but I feel like the women in my life are always challenging me to be better and to do/try more. I completely rely on their support and good judgment to get me through any and everything that’s going on in my life.
Could you recommend any article/book/video/film/art etc that could further my journey into feminist literature?
Lately I’ve been loving Lena Dunham’s blog, ‘Lenny Letter’. Lots of great interviews with strong women, and discussions on all types of issues. Despite it maybe being directed to a younger demographic, I enjoy Rookie posts as well. They’re very relatable. Oh! And a new Toronto magazine – Sophomore Mag – is great. Run by very smart and cool young feminists who have opened my eyes to lots of new and interesting topics. Also, like I said, following politics in the news has made a huge difference. Reading about gender issues, or inequalities that are happening around the world make you realize even more so how important feminism is.
This interview was conducted by Lisa who interviewed Andrea Pace. She can be tweeted .