At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
I've been politically-minded my entire life, but coming out in high school made me an activist and an active feminist. Being gay is such a gift. It allowed me to step outside the patriarchal, dichotomous system in which so many women feel forced to operate, and to understand the power of not "needing" a man for anything. It's a freedom I've used to show other women that you don't have to be a lesbian to live and function outside of crippling gender norms.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
My teachers, hands down. My middle- and high-school English teachers were bad-ass women on a mission to empower the girls in their care. In undergrad, I was turned on to intersectionality via bell hooks, thanks to my Women's Studies professor. And in graduate school, one of my writing professors put me on to Audre Lorde, June Jordan, and Inga Muscio. Education is so crucial to raising consciousness.
In recent days, the women of the Black Lives Matter movement have also brought to light the limits of the version of feminism I've been fed and how to live by a more inclusive version.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
Once you become conscious, you can't take off the lens of consciousness. Everything I do is filtered through a lens of feminist critique. Being feminist and seeing the world in this way has made me less afraid to ask for what I deserve and speak openly and frankly about injustice with women and men alike. In short: feminism makes me brave.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
In what ways DON'T I share my feminism with others? Social media, my blog, debates with family, friends, and trolls...you name it. Personal conversations are so important to show feminism for what it truly is, not what sexists try to make it out to be.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A truly feminist world wouldn't only be worried about equal pay for equal work. It would recognize and join in the struggle of women of color, LGBT* women, and women from middle, lower, and working classes. Healthcare and childcare would be free, so women wouldn't feel crushed under the weight of choices between raising their children and providing for them. Abortion would be accessible and offered as a viable option in sex ed programs across the world. The legal system wouldn't jail victims of prostitution/sex trafficking. Men would keep their hands and words to themselves and police their own urges instead of our clothing.
And, if this is a space for dreams, religion wouldn't exist. No other institution on this planet has so oppressed women and people of color.
How I Define Feminism:
The struggle for equality for women of every race, age, class, sexuality, and ability.
Kate Gorton is a writer and editor based in Worcester, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, and her work has appeared in SPRY and MASON'S ROAD literary journals (now CAUSEWAY), and she was recently accepted for a writing residency at Vermont Studio Center in April 2017. Her website, rageonthepage.net, offers a wide variety of blog topics as well as her writing & editing services.