At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
It was definitely a process. I think it wasn't until my first job at an alt-weekly in Philly in the 90s and years into that as a music editor and then managing editor, that I realized there was an importance in arguing for women's rights and issues of equality. Prior to that I believed if you worked hard you could be successful, and while that is sometimes true, the playing field wasn't level. In music criticism, in particular, it was a real boy's club and there were subtleties that made me feel unwelcome. Also, I noted salary discrepancies — while I managed our news editor, he made more than I did because he was a "get". I struggled with issues, though, of calling out women in music — it was an effort to promote and showcase role models for younger women but sometimes (and this was the 90s) it became a gimmick. But all of this was the start of me thinking more critically about the power of women, the awareness we all need to have about women's issues and fairness.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
In part my mother, though she wouldn't call herself a feminist I don't think (I should ask her!), she always instilled the importance of her daughters having their own careers, making their own money, having an independent mind and spirit. And then reading works by writers and artists like Bell Hooks, Karen Finley, Karen Kilimnik and the Riot Grrl movement in the 90s. There was a book called Angry Women (and its sequel Angry Women in Rock) that really influenced me — it was a series of interviews with performance artists addressing a male dominated society in their work. In fact I think I lost that book and am going to find it on Amazon right now...
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
In every way. In the spouse I chose (who is also a feminist). In the work I do: I run a storytelling website for women over 40 called TueNight. It's about that moment where we realize we have gobs of experience, and so much farther to go. Ageism is no joke for women and it hits you like a ton of bricks when you realize you're being marginalized. Its a wholly different experience for men. Our site aims to revel in the joys of our age, a bit of nostalgia, and a lot of happy propulsion to the future.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
Through the website — which is also a live storytelling series. We are able to bring our storytellers and the women in our community together to share, discuss, laugh — and of course drink :-) It's a great two-way conversation and helps all of us to not feel so alone — and think of ways to support and elevate each other.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
Exactly how I defined feminism in the first question: Women living as boldly as we want to.
How I Define Feminism:
Women living as boldly as we want to.
Margit Detweiler (@margit) is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Webby-honored TueNight.com, a storytelling site and live event series for Gen-X women, with an inspiring new theme every Tuesday. Margit is also president of Gyrate Media, LLC a content strategy and editorial development firm based in New York. With 20+ years experience as a media executive, Margit has led the editorial vision for some of the top media brands, as editorial director of RealSimple.com, director of Aol Women and LIfestyle, executive editor at EverydayHealth.com and managing editor of the Philadelphia City Paper. A "content team for hire," Gyrate Media's list of clients include Verizon, Clinique, Johnson & Johnson, Digiday, Federated Media, Martha Stewart, Digitas Health, Participant Media, and more. Margit is also an award-winning reporter and editor and has contributed to the Associated Press, Redbook, Village Voice, Bust, Rolling Stone and many others. This year Margit was honored as one of “40 Women to Watch Over 40.”