feminist of the week : katie rose
Name: Katie Rose
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Occupation: Student and gym employee
Describe yourself in one word: Resilient
What is your feminist philosophy?
To help others understand the importance of feminism through their own lived experiences of oppression and by listening to the experiences of others. Talking about these issues and creating an ongoing dialogue about them is essential to social change. I think that a good way for this to begin is recognizing and discussing everyday experiences of oppression that women have to deal with because of their gender such as street harassment and being talked over and cut off in conversation. I think that this should be done in an intersectional way—understanding how one’s race or class causes a multi-faceted oppression that they experience.
When did you have your feminist awakening?
I don’t recall having a single experience where I woke up and thought “I’m a feminist now!”, but I think that moving to Richmond and being around other like-minded people helped develop my feminist views. I grew up in a very conservative family where Rush Limbaugh is worshiped and where Fox News is always right. After being raised in a household like that, it was a process to break away from those thoughts and to develop new ones by understanding and analyzing my own experiences as living as a bi-racial woman. I think that reading the work of Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, Sharon Smith, and Marjane Satrapi during my first two years of college really helped me progress.
Why is feminism important in today’s world?
Feminism is still a relevant and important issue, and it will be as long as their gender is preventative to their living. Women still do not have complete control over their bodies, women are still being paid less than men, women are still objectified by the media. The list goes on and on. Until there is complete gender equality, feminism will be imperative.
Have you experienced any negative backlash for your beliefs? How did you overcome them?
Yes, quite often actually. Some kind of backlash is to be expected whenever you call someone out for doing something oppressive or derogatory towards women. The first time I worked up the courage to call someone out was freshman year when some guys in my dorm wouldn’t stop tossing around the word “bitch”. I tried to explain to them why I thought that word was hurtful and demeaning to women, but I was shrugged off and they didn’t think my input was worth listening to. I felt frustrated that I wasn’t being taken seriously and ended up lashing out on them once or twice. Overtime I learned how to deal with that more effectively. I looked to gain more confidence with my views because at the time I was a budding baby feminist and didn’t know how to articulate my thoughts coherently in the first place. I did that by talking about my experiences with other women and friends and doing a bit of reading and research on my own.
What inspires you?
The work of other feminists has always been very empowering and inspiring to me. It has helped me want to make changes within the community and even within my own friend group to make spaces safer and more welcoming to women.