At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
Feminism has been a process for me. While I've always identified as one, it was intellectual. I didn't really begin to embrace its deeper tenets or more subtle sexism until I confronted a crisis that forced me to recognize the degree to which I subjugate myself. That crisis resulted in two new books and a deep dive into the principles, theories, and application of feminism in real ways. Equality, it seems, begins at home and is a fight we must fight every day.]
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
This is hard. There are so many. My mother wouldn't let me wear a bra or makeup, but so many authors have informed my journey. From The Second Sex to Laurie Penny's Sex, Lies, and Revolution, books have been the most powerful influence. There is no single one that stands above the others. Instead, a lifetime of reading flows like a river in my thoughts and emotions, constantly informing, challenging, and nourishing my commitment to feminism.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
I have always faced my fears and taken risks, so in that way feminism has empowered me. Most recently, it inspired a journey toward self-love that revolutionized my marriage, my sense of self, and the way I interact with (and lead) my community.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
First and foremost, I write. I have written two award winning books dealing with women's equality and empowerment. I am near completion on a third. In addition, I lead a women's group focused on honesty and empowerment, own a women's boutique where women are not allowed to complain about their body, but where they come for personal and civic advice. Finally, I am active on Facebook, twitter, a newsletter I write, and my blog. In previous years, I have mentored young women and today I work with them on business plans, long term goals, and self-empowerment issues as a community service.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A feminist world is one in which people of all colors, creeds, genders, and identities are truly equal. For me, equality had three tenets: Liberty (agency), Empathy (if we cannot empathize with each other we cannot support each other, and economic independence (if we continue to be the victims of neoliberal policy and slaves to an economic/social structure whose only purpose is to profit from us, we will remain unequal). Locally, we must work to support local businesses, create safety nets for the marginalized in our communities, and speak out against oppression every time we see it, but first we must look in the mirror and determine how our behavior with ourselves and loved ones contributes to oppression of women and men. As Rebecca Solnit said, , “I think the future of something we may no longer call feminism must include a deeper inquiry into men.”
Nationally, we must fight for policy that protects bodily autonomy and ensures legislation that empowers and protects women in all walks of life. Family leave, affordable, quality, childcare, income equality, and better prosecution of crimes against women are just a few of the issues we need to secure.
Globally, I think our mission is consciousness raising through education and the sharing of stories. Isolation and the conviction that we deserve what we get by the very nature of our gender is death, literally and figuratively, to millions of women every year. When we give them a platform, we give them a voice. Their collective cry is what will, eventually, change the world.
How I Define Feminism:
Feminism is an action, not an idea, aimed at securing equality for women worldwide. The actions of individuals in pursuit of equality unite them in a movement that has the power to balance, calm, and heal the world.
I’m an author, businesswoman, and community builder. I like to break the rules.
I’m also a motivational speaker.
I believe our lives are our greatest works of art and that we have to be who and what we are, not who and what we’re supposed to be. I’m also convinced that you can only control what you give. These themes are reflected in my books, sculptures, business endeavors, and talks.
I live in Santa Fe, NM with my husband and dog, alternately missing and celebrating my three grown sons.