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feminist of the week: ruth retassie

Ruth Retassie
Occupation: Cashier at The Wedge Community Co-op
Hometown: Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA

Describe yourself in one word: Resourceful

What is your feminist philosophy?
I believe that everyone should be treated equally. Those that are disadvantaged in any sort of way should receive extra support to make the world a fairer place.

Why is feminism important in today’s world?
Feminism is important today because there is still inequality based on gender, race, age, and so on.

When did you have your feminist awakening?
Sometime in college – through my education it became clearer to me what types of injustices were at play within our society.

Do you think that feminism has a branding issue? If so, why and how do you suggest the movement can fix it?
I think that young people are afraid of identifying with labels. Perhaps feminism can move forward with large, broad ideals that appeal to a wide audience. The biggest key here is educating before recruiting, so to speak.

What is the most important feminist cause in your life?
I don’t yet know. Currently I have two: 1) educating people, young and old, about sexual abuse; and 2) assessing male privilege and masculinity and how it pertains to sexuality and culture.

What is the most annoying feminist stereotype in your opinion? Why?
The “man-hater” stereotype is the worst, because it is an easy scapegoat men (and others) can use as an excuse to denounce feminism, when the burden of responsibility really ought to be with them.

What are the main challenges women are facing today?
Where to begin? I think the branding issue is an important one as far as the longevity of feminism is concerned. I think that another huge issue is with reproductive and sexuality rights. The shaming via rape culture; the silencing of taboo talk; the blaming of victims; are all things that need to be changed in order for our society to improve.

Why should men take up the feminist cause?
Because it is about equality. It isn’t about hating and shaming men; it’s about making the world a better, fairer place for everyone. Men should stand with women on this, because, unfortunately, they still have more power…and influence…and privilege.

Who is your favourite feminist/what is your favorite feminist organisation and why? I adore Bitch Magazine. They provide thoughtful critiques on television, music, art, society, and so on. It is refreshing and comforting to access this resource.

What’s your advice to other feminists?
My advice is to stand strong and educate others, but most importantly support fellow feminists and women. We do ourselves a serious disservice if we battle among our comrades, for we have bigger fish to fry.

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