Feminist of the week: Nayree Mardirian
1. How would you describe yourself and your life?
I am currently a student just trying to make my way in the world. I am always busy and eager to engage in new experiences. I love music, film and have a passion for foreign affairs and politics in general. My dream is to travel the world. Literally. Every single country on the planet!
2. What does Feminism mean to you?
Feminism is the belief that women should be treated equally to men in all aspects of life whether political, social or economical. It is the idea that women should not be degraded because of their sex and instead be valued for their merit. Feminism also means giving women the opportunity to shape their own destinies, which means eliminating repressive legal or social restrictions that might limit women’s choices.
3. Do you think feminism has a place in today’s society?
Absolutely. I think the fact that women are still paid less than men in 21st century Australia is evidence that the feminist movement is vital in today’s societies. We need feminists in order to ensure that women’s needs in modern day workplaces are met. Women should be given flexible schedules in order to balance their work/home life and should of course be paid equally to men. Also, developing countries need assistance in being more supportive to women’s needs and the feminist movement can assist with that.
4. Which feminist stereotype annoys you the most? Why?
That all feminists despise men. That is simply not the case. The majority of us respect men and acknowledge our differences but we just don’t want our physiological differences to undermine our chances at having the same opportunities as they do.
5. If you could pass on one piece of advice to other feminists, what would it be?
Don’t be cruel towards other women. I think that women can be incredibly judgmental towards one another, which adds further guilt to women who are trying to make the best decisions for themselves and for their families. For example, some feminists believe that in order to be a true feminist you must despise any activity that is commonly associated with women-such as cooking or keeping house. This defeats the purpose of the feminist movement-which is to empower women. So I advise feminists to rally together and support one another. This means that if a woman likes cooking and keeping house-let her do so without any guilt. Furthermore, if a woman chooses to stay at home or go back to work after giving birth- respect her decision. Don’t make women feel that if they do not follow a certain path they are benighted or selfish. Feminism is about granting women respect and understanding, so as women we must ensure that we give that to one another.
6. When did you first realise you were a feminist?
I was a passenger in the car of one of my relatives and along the way pointed out a mini cooper driving alongside. I said that I would love to own a mini myself one day to which my relative replied, “well hopefully you will be able to marry a wealthy man and they can buy one for you”. Now as you can imagine I was taken aback by this statement and swiftly replied “I can buy one for myself”. This conversation is what showed me that I was determined to be a strong, independent woman who will never allow a man to support me financially. I think before this event took place the notion of me being a feminist was not fully cemented in my psyche and maybe I needed a little scuffle to expose my true values.