feminist of the week: brianna inturrisi
Name: Brianna Inturrisi
How would you describe yourself and your life?
I’m a 17-year-old school captain who is attempting to somehow survive VCE, save the world and uphold my feminist views. My optimistic, bubbly, social but strong-minded personality has allowed me to have some conversations with some of the most inspiring people. I live a very fast-paced life with barely any free time and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love to read, write and social network. Disagreeing with the majority of society, I believe the technology takeover is great and will do the world more good than harm. Humanity’s greatest desire is to connect and technology takes that one step further. Maintaining my part-time job as a fruit ninja at Boost Juice and volunteering for various charities, I never let the words of a negative individual get the best of me! Being a statewide public speaking champion, I have strong opinions and I’m not scared to let everyone know, often speaking out about generation ‘Y’. I truly believe I am a part of a generation that can change the world. I dream of practising human rights law or international law hoping to one day work in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Attempting to find my voice amongst the real world, Feminism has always been a ‘no joking allowed’ subject. I’m sick of people telling me to ‘get back in the kitchen’ when they disagree with my opinion instead of engaging in an adult conversation. I feel like society has come too far to allow ‘boys will be boys’ to constitute a reasonable excuse. I am a very passionate person who has big ambitions and opportunities ahead and I won’t allow society’s gender roles to stop me from succeeding. I intend to be a voice for the females in third world countries who are denied their basic rights and freedoms. I strongly believe that where you live, shouldn’t determine whether you live. At the end of my life I want to turn back and take a good look at my achievements and determine whether I’ve made enough of a change to leave behind a world I am proud of.
What does Feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me is all about gender equality. It was the early years of high school in which I realised I was in fact a feminist, instead back then I didn’t truly understand its meaning. I remember becoming easily infuriated at people who felt they needed to tell me what to do and when to do it, simply based on my sex. It is only now as I have grown more interested in my own beliefs that it means quite simply, ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men’. Whilst the definition of feminism is based on interpretation I do want to reiterate that I believe feminism is not just about women but equality.
Do you think feminism has a place in today’s society?
Feminism began as a movement for equality, a fight for better-paying jobs, higher education, and greater liberation for women but it still plays a big part in today’s society. There are new challenges and new potential allies that didn’t exist in the mid-20th century. Whilst women are present, so is feminism. Women continue to average lower-paying jobs and higher childcare responsibilities and costs and it’s time to change all that. We need to work on really making roles and responsibilities equal between the two genders. It is now becoming necessary to put the past behind us and really focus on the future of feminism.
There are also still women around the world who have no access to the basic rights and freedom of feminists. As these women continue their day-to-day struggles, it simply means we cannot get complacent. We must oppose dictatorships and totalitarian movements that crush the liberty and rights of people, especially women and girls. As a developed country we have responsibilities to be aware of the women in the world, who have no access to feminism and we must fight to give those women the same freedoms we demanded for ourselves.
Which feminist stereotype annoys you the most? Why?
Tough question! I have quite a few, but I think the one that gets me all fired up would have to be that men can’t be feminists. It baffles me how anybody who vocalises this opinion can still claim they understand the meaning of feminism. A feminist can be a man or woman of any age who recognises women’s subordination and wants to end it by whatever means and whatever grounds. Feminism is inclusive and ready to take on anybody who will stand up and fight for gender equality, man or woman!
If you could pass on one piece of advice to other feminists, what would it be?
Don’t alter yourself or your beliefs for society’s acceptance. As a teenage feminist I’ve been told to tone it down, stop taking it so seriously and that my tiny, female, 17-year-old voice won’t be heard loud enough to make a difference. The reality is, however, that if women in history (such as the suffragettes) had listened and let the views of others crush us, we wouldn’t have achieved. If we plan to make our mark and change the world’s stereotypes of gender roles and feminism in general, we need to stay strong and implement our beliefs in society any way we can.
Do you believe all women should be feminists?
In the words of my feminist hero, Dale Spender, ‘Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practised no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions.. for safety on the streets… for child care, for social welfare… for rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask “Why? What’s your problem?”’ And that is my answer to this question. I do believe all women should be feminists; the extent to which they are however is a personal decision which doesn’t need to be justified to anyone.
Brianna is helping fight global hunger by participating in the 2012 40 Hour Famine. Her goal is to raise $850. If you’d like to help her make this happen, click here.