Fearless Female Interview: Kim
Why is it important to encourage girls and women to pursue fields stereotypically dominated by men?
Women and girls entering professions that have traditionally been dominated by men is essential because diversity of positionality, viewpoints, and representation are necessary in every field. Gender roles play an important part in how we construct ourselves and the paths that we choose. Many times, these roles can be limiting and a lack of diversity means that the needs of certain groups of people are unconsidered.
What makes a feminist in your eyes?
A feminist is any individual who believes in equity among all genders and intersections of identity and justice for the oppressions and inequality that have historically shaped the world as well as persist through practices, institutions, and structures affecting our everyday lives. A feminist works to critique these hegemonic ideologies by being self-critical, extending knowledge, and continually engaging in feminist discourse. Feminism is not the introduction of something new but the recognition that the way that our world is structured is already always subject to gender politics as well as intersectional processes.
How do you work to make your feminism intersectional?
My feminism is intersectional by continually critiquing my own beliefs and positionality. I work to be inclusive for people whose identities vastly differ from my own – not just for those who I perceive to be “just like me”. I refute respectability politics (inclusion based on being seen as “normal enough”) because those who cannot claim inclusion based on proximity to normality are still left behind. Instead, I work to critique our current societal beliefs of the ways that our world is organized – that the broadening of limitations that already exist is not enough. Patricia Valoy (2015) powerfully states that “my feminism transcends borders because my identity does.” (para. 52). Our identities are constituted relationally to one another, which is an important consideration in intersectionality.
What makes you proud to be a feminist?
I am proud when I see achievements and progression of feminist ideology, whether it be on a small scale or large. Social change is not a linear advancement. There will be pushback in the form of laws, policies, people, and ideology that hinder progress, but these things do not take away from the many successes over the course of time. I am proud to contribute to a future that I believe will be equitable for all, whether I will see this future in my lifetime or not. To be a part of the constant struggle in dialogue and action is important to me. Though this envisioned future may seem unattainable at times, the alternative is to allow injustices to persist by doing nothing. Our thoughts and behaviours are influenced by how we view the world and I believe that change is possible. Working towards this change is what makes me proud.
How can women and girls support each other in today's world?
One of the most important societal constructions that needs to end is the perpetual competition between women. We must see each other as individuals with shares interests and struggles rather than enemies. By tearing each other down, we lack cohesion and support. However, viewing each other as allies solely because we are identifiably women can erase significant differences that we must take into account. Critiquing other women for their contribution of oppression through other intersections such as race, sexuality, or class, is not tearing each other down, it is opening up dialogue about processes that are already in place and have always existed. It is important to listen, be critical of whose voices are represented, and to amplify the voices of those who have traditionally been silenced or repressed by making them heard as opposed to ventriloquizing. Maintaining equal dialogue is key.