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feminist of the week: theresa smith

: Theresa Smith
Age: 57
Occupation: Professor of Religious Studies
Location: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States

Describe yourself in one word:

What is your feminist philosophy?
I am a radical feminist.  I believe that sexism is rooted in misogyny and misogyny is rooted in fear of women.  Patriarchy is the institutionalised, trans cultural and trans historical response to fear.

Why is feminism important in today’s world?
Without feminism we will continue to live in societies that are not just steeped in economic and political inequality but ones that make it impossible for women to live as truly free and safe humans.

What is the most important feminist cause in your life?
Women’s definition of and control of their own bodies, sexuality and reproduction.

When did you have your feminist awakening?
When I was 21. I had been pretty sheltered in college but while attending grad school in Scotland for a year, I met a group of radical feminists who were taking it to the streets.  They were smart, angry and committed.  They changed my life.

What would have to change before men and women achieved true equality?
Everything. The web of injustice is complex and huge.

Why should men take up the feminist cause?
For the same reason that white people should work against their own racism. Because it is the only right thing to do.

What’s your advice to other feminists?
Stay strong, stay determined, never be ashamed of righteous anger.  Injustice should make you angry.  Figure out ways to use that energy to change the world – and never think feminism is just about individual women asserting their preferences or desires.  It is about women, in solidarity, fighting for our rights, claiming our power.

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