In many ways this #womanwarrior is responsible for my embracing feminism. As long as I can remember, she identified with this word and I did not. I heard feminist and thought “bra burners” and didn’t want to be associated with it. I can still remember my AP Modern Euro teacher asking our 13 person class if we considered ourselves feminists. No one raised their hand. @monikawasik13 was my best friend and I held her opinion above most, but she went to an all girls’ school, surely that was why she identified as a feminist. So went my teenage logic. Years later, in a lecture on women’s rights as human right’s, my male professor told all of us in the room that he’s a feminist and we ought to be too. I still wasn’t sure how I felt about this. From my experience the term was divisive. Sure, I believed I should be treated equally to my male friends and colleagues, but was that feminism?
It was only after reading Lean In and studying a Masters in Human Rights that I truly began to “lean in” to identifying myself as a feminist, and Monika was one I always looked to for guidance. It was she who introduced me to obstetric fistula, Paul Farmer, and structural violence at the age of 14! She went to live in Formosa, Argentina for a year on her own after uni. In our mother-daughter bookclub, she always chose the books about real life heroines, so we can see ourselves in those powerful women. She focused her medical career on women’s health and has been working as a nurse in postpartum, which is certainly an aspect of our femininity that is not widely acknowledged. She bowls every year for abortion access, another forbidden topic (and btw she’s bowling again now! donate via the link in my profile). She invited me to my first #Galentines before I ever knew what it was! And when I decided to work for @sparksf, I couldn’t wait to tell her, because I still consider her my #1 feminist friend. She lives and breathes this stuff and helped me see it’s just a matter of living as myself. And yes, wanting equity is being a feminist.