feminist of the week: kelley ann banahasky
Name: Kelley Ann Banahasky
Occupation: Recent Graduate/Waitress
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania/Wollongong, NSW
Describe yourself in one word: Adventurous
What is your feminist philosophy?
My feminist philosophy incorporates all ages, genders, races, every kind of person. Each being lucky enough to share a piece of this planet has a unique life circumstance and each being’s struggle is therefore different. Intersectionality sets a stage for each of us to be affected in unique ways under our current operating system.
Why is feminism important in today’s world?
Feminism, to me, represents the consideration of these circumstances and works to empower people to be who they are and manifest a reality that is equitable and enjoyable for us all to share. This is why feminism is extremely pertinent in today’s world; it means we judge less and cooperate more.
When did you have your feminist awakening?
My feminist awakening really started during my sophomore year [of university]. My best friend is a radical. She inspired me to be cognisant of how this world operates and particularly how disadvantaged women have been. The world opened up from there to race and sexuality. We create definitions to understand the world around us and think little on how confined it actually feels to fit those molds.
Do you think that feminism has a branding issue? If so, why and how do you suggest the movement can fix it?
There is a terrible branding issue in regard to feminism. Unfortunately we always tend to see those most passionate about something more often. That’s just simple really, and this passion can translate into anger. In the past it was necessary to be angry to be heard and taken seriously. It’s saddens me that so many people confine the word feminism to a select group of people who bash men or feel that there is gender superiority. This is not the opinion of any feminist I’ve met. Not one.
Feminism, by “definition” is a form of humanism. It means that we all need to be looked after – we are a community. Society today has opened up a great deal of conversation and education about feminism. I believe we are on the right path; just like any path we shall meet resistance. Third wave feminism is setting the stage for globalist humanist efforts. To ensure that we create a world with sexual health and safety equality, educational opportunity, work equality, mutual political representation, and just generally fair and equitable treatment is met for adults and children of all variations.
What is the most important feminist cause in your life?
The most important feminist cause, personally, is in relation to sexual health and safety. Sexual assault embodies the social construction of respect, value, and rights around the victim’s biological gender, age, and/or sexual preference. When you see high rates of sexual assault, which includes rape, harassment, etc, it is often the case, that those in that sub group are seen as inferior objects. It is entirely inhumane to commit these acts upon a person. Often these acts reflect insecurity – the perpetrator seeks power and control. This is the strongest cause to me because it inflicts the most and the deepest wounds on a person. It also reflects the damages of society’s confines.
What is the most annoying feminist stereotype in your opinion? Why?
The most annoying feminist stereotype is the generic “only-women, anti-men, bloody-tampon-throwing, bra-burning feminist”. I find it hysterical and infuriating at the same time when someone goes on about how only women are feminists; feminists hate men, and so on. Really anyone who comes at me with those comments knows nothing about what feminism has become in the last several decades or what it was meant to be about in the first place.
One further, is the woman anti-feminist who says that feminism has destroyed her chance of being a housewife. Under no circumstance has feminism prevented women from doing what they want to do. Simply put, the opportunity has been granted to you, by women, to live your life any way you would like, which by no means takes away your opportunity to be a housewife. This is a beautiful and worthy task and responsibility. The youth is the future; it depends on us and then we depend on it. If anything feminism has brought attention to the value of parenting, housekeeping and so forth and therefore the disadvantage of the economical system to demand two full time jobs to maintain a household. This is by far, my pet peeve of stereotypes.
What are the main challenges women are facing today?
The main challenge of everyone here breathing this air is global environmental commitment. After all if we do not sustain our environment… It won’t matter what shape size or colour we are.
Why should men take up the feminist cause?
Men are the most important piece of the feminist puzzle considering today’s struggle. Men have been damaged by this system and it reflects in the way women and people of all races are treated. Men need the freedom to be emotional and sensitive; to be empathetic and not worried about another person calling him this or that. Men need to know that we stand by them recognising the way they are disadvantaged.
Who is your favourite feminist/what is your favorite feminist organisation and why?
I don’t have a favourite feminist org or great leader. But I can say that all the women of my life and particularly my feminist friends from university have inspired and shaped who I have become. Without other strong women, I could not be strong. They have taught me some of the hardest lessons and have been there for some of my lowest lows.
What’s your advice to other feminists?
My advice to other feminists is that without each other we are limited. Take the time to talk to each other and don’t be afraid of how you feel. Feelings are so important, it drives our intuition. This is the link to our intuitive selves. Being emotional does not mean being weak, it means that you are strong enough to care so much, to dream so big, to love so fully, and to try so hard. Always keep at it, the sun will greet you again as will those who love you the most.