At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
This was something that occurred gradually throughout my childhood. I was always interested in why girls weren't expected or allowed to do the same things boys were. I truly began to identify with feminism, though, when I was about 14 years old. There was this column in the local newspaper that had been marketed as a women's column, but it was really a feminism column. I read it once and found myself thinking "Yes! This!" After that, I read it every week, religiously, until I graduated and went away to college. And I started thinking of myself as a feminist.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
My mother. She and I aren't from the same school of feminism at all, but I do credit her with teaching me about inequality, and pointing out that when women tear each other down, none of us win. She always answered my questions about gender inequality honestly and fully, and she encouraged me to think critically about society's expectations of women and girls.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
Feminism has informed my life choices across the board — from my name to my choice of partner to the way I'm raising my son. Professionally, as a freelance writer, I get to choose my assignments more often than I did when I was on staff as a newspaper. I try to pitch topics and tell stories that reflect or improve the lives of women and girls. I network with other women, because it's important to seek out women in business and boost the work of peers. And creatively, I try to write fiction that features well-rounded female characters. My interests outside of work are in fandom — particularly in science fiction and fantasy — which can sometimes be male-dominated, so when I write for Book Riot or The Mary Sue I try to feature female creators, characters, or issues.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
As I mentioned in the question above, I try to share my feminism through my writing, but I also try to live it. I try to be available to younger women who have questions or who want to talk about sexism and feminism. And to guys with questions as well. Men are our greatest allies and when they have questions about feminism (even if those questions are "am I doing this right?") those questions should be taken seriously and answered honestly.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A feminist world, for me, is no utopia. It's a world in which women can feel safe reporting people who threaten and hurt them — be they rapists, cyberbullies, or street harassers — and know that their reports will be taken seriously and that they, as victims, won't be put on trial. It's a world in which women are paid the same wages as men. It's a world where female prisoners aren't denied feminine hygiene products or clothing. It's a world where women don't have to fight to make the healthcare choices that are right for them. It's a world where sexism might exist in individuals, but organizations are fair and offer appropriate recourse for people of all genders.
How I Define Feminism:
Feminism is the idea that all people are equal, regardless of their position on the gender spectrum, and that all people of all genders, deserve the same rights and privileges.
I am a journalist, copywriter, and author. I'm also a married mother of one. I've been in journalism since I took a job at the Boston Herald in 2000, and since then, I've worked at various newspapers, taught journalism at the college level, and gone freelance. I obtained an MFA in creative fiction in 2011 and since then two of my novellas have been published. My dream has been to write the Great American Novel, but this year I found myself thrust into a thrilling and terrifying position: financially supporting my family through my freelance writing income.