Fierce Females: Slut-Shaming on The Bachelorette

Kaitlyn Bristowe

“A slut is someone, usually a woman, who’s stepped outside of the very narrow lane that good girls are supposed to stay within. Sluts are loud. We’re messy. We don’t behave. In fact, the original definition of “slut” meant “untidy woman.” But since we live in a world that relies on women to be tidy in all ways, to be quiet and obedient and agreeable and available (but never aggressive), those of us who colour outside of the lines get called sluts. And that word is meant to keep us in line.”

― Jaclyn Friedman, feminist, writer and activist

So let’s talk about The Bachelorette, yes I watch The Bachelorette, The Bachelor and the Bachelor Pad. I keep my life low on drama so I need to get it somewhere!

The first episode The Bachelorette Season 11 aired on May 18. This season was met with mixed emotions as to how it was all going down. There were two favourites for this season Kaitlyn, a dance instructor from British Columbia and Britt a waitress from California.

In the end the show decided to have both of them, they would meet the 25 men and then they would pick who they wanted to remain for the duration of the season. This caused quite a stir on social media with fans and the Bachelor/Bachelorette Alum. Former bachelor Sean Lowe who found his wife on the show wrote a blog on why he thought this was a bad move for the new season.

“It’s downright degrading for the women – for the two chosen and the women watching at home. This move transfers the power back to the men on the show specifically designed for the women.  As one tweet said, ‘Once again, you’ll have women competing for the attention of men.'”

– Sean Lowe

Alas, this season was highly anticipated by fans. After 2 hours of drama on Monday and an additional hour on Tuesday, “Bachelor Nation” was getting vocal.

It was eventually revealed that the men decided on Kaitlyn. She was “the luckiest girl in the world” and now had some time to sit down and get to know the guys. She had to let a few of the men go at the end but it was a pretty tame show until the “bomb” dropped when they showed the season preview.

Now, I put bomb with quotations because it really shouldn’t have been a big a deal. In the preview it seems as though Kaitlyn has sex with one of the men, she is then seen talking to the men saying, “we had sex”. Now whether this is just a good editing job to make the season look more dramatic than it is or it actually happened it DOESN’T MATTER. The show did a good job of making Kaitlyn look like a villain for doing what many women do when they are dating, have sex.

So because show opened the slut-shaming door judgements shall follow. Now, people are entitled to their opinions but to slander someones name all over the internet is disgusting especially when you are passing judgement on someone you don’t know.

All you britt haters are going to wish it was her as the bachelorette instead of trashy kaitlyn by the end of the season when you find out what happens. Britt is so classy. I can’t stand kaitlyn and her potty mouth. She’s looking to be comedian, for a hook up and a good time. Not marriage material and someone you bring home to mama. I would much rather watch britt’s gorgeous face than constant licking teeth and trashy tattoos. Britt is classy and was actually looking for love. Big mistake abc! At least britt ends up the real winner!

– Ashley Hightower via Facebook

Comments like the above are juvenile they are setting us back instead of supporting and helping us grow stronger as a gender. Have a friendly debate or talk about it with your friends that agree with you. We live in a free country and you are allowed to disagree, have your own opinion and not support her actions but just because it’s on national television does not make it your business.

Everyone is jumping to conclusions and saying horrible things about someone they don’t know when we have no clue what the context is, or what happened. I’m ultimately disgusted with how people reacted but I am glad there was a significant number of people that not only called out the individuals for slut-shaming but also the show itself.


 
So she didn’t wait until the sanctioned “sex time” in the fantasy suite, who cares? We all have to remember that she is a human being and should get the same respect as any other human being regardless of what she does or doesn’t do in the bedroom. I commend her for being real, honest and owning it.

If anyone is still confused on how to not slut-shame please read “How Not To Slut-Shame A Woman” via Huffington Post.

Fierce Females: Slut-Shaming on The Bachelorette

Fierce Females: Pamela

Pamela

What is it that empowers you most?
Confidence. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t claim to have a lot of it by any means but I have learned after a lot of years of not feeling confident, that you truly can fake it till you make it. If I’m feeling negative about myself of my abilities, I make a conscious effort to tell myself that I can, I am good enough and I will.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love that I can make people feel good. I pride myself on being a good friend and a good hostess. There’s nothing better than having a friend over when she’s having a bad day and being able to make her feel better with a glass of wine and a few snacks. I love making people laugh and smile and I love that I can do that, even if it might just be because I’m a goof and people seem to like it.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful when I feel healthy. Exercising and eating healthy and just taking care of myself overall just makes me feel good and in turn, makes me feel beautiful!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Definitely my mom. I am watching my mom go through the hardest time in her life right now and every day I am amazed by her. Her positivity, and her ability to be joyful continue to inspire me every day. She’s an amazingly strong woman and always has been. Aside from the fact that she has had a successful career working for IBM, MLCC and now HP, she has always put her kids first. I only hope to be the kind of mother and person she is some day.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I think Mindy Kaling is pretty damn heroic. She has broken so many barriers and done it all with humour and by staying true to herself. Not only is she a part of an underrepresented minority in entertainment but she’s a real, live woman and she owns it. I encourage everyone to read her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It’s funny and so wonderfully Mindy.

I also really, really love Taylor Swift more than I like to admit. As someone who works in social media especially, I’m fascinated by her use of the social platforms to interact with her fans. Social media truly allows us to communicate in a way we never have; before social media, celebrities could have NEVER communicated directly with their fans like she does. She’s so nice, humble and truly appreciative of her fans – the people who got her to where she is now. Check out what Taylor Swift did for a few of her fans for Christmas or as it was called, “Swiftmas”.

 

“My biggest life goal is to look back on my life and know that I did all the things I wanted to do”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Does Kim Kardashian count as a fictional female character? I’d just like to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be famous for being famous. Plus, I want access to her wardrobe and I want to see what it’s like to be part of that crazy family, Bruce Jenner aside.

What is your biggest life goal?
I want to live a completely and totally fulfilled life. I want to travel, become accomplished in my career and become a mother someday. My biggest life goal is to look back on my life and know that I did all the things I wanted to do, know that I took chances and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I would have to say finishing CreComm (Creative Communications program at Red River College), working really hard for a few years and then landing my dream job at Great-West Life. Anyone who’s been through the program knows that before you start CreComm, former students and instructors tell you about all the things you’ll be doing. Things like, completing a project that is so huge, it takes almost a year to complete, performing stand-up comedy and doing a live-hit on camera. These are things that I said, no way, there’s no WAY I’m doing any of that. And yet, here I am. I did them and they helped me get to where I am today.

What is your favourite quote?
I love Dr. Suess quotes and it’s hard to pick just one but if I had to, I’d pick this one:

“Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Suess

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell myself the same thing I tell myself every day now. I would tell myself, you are good. You can do anything and you don’t ever have to compare yourself to others. I struggled a lot with confidence and self-worth growing up and I think it held me back from realizing my full potential, especially in school.

What does feminism mean to you?
The understanding that gender inequality is deeply rooted in our society – recognizing this inequality and fighting against it is what feminism means to me. Almost every stigma, societal norm and media message we consume are deeply rooted in gender inequality or marginalizing of women and minorities. I’m a feminist because I believe it’s NECESSARY to recognize, acknowledge and then teach our children that that’s all it is, that these messages and understandings aren’t TRUTHS, but simply constructs created by the oppressors.

Pamela is a Senior Communications Specialist in Winnipeg, Canada
Connect with Pamela: Twitter

Fierce Females: Pamela

Fierce Females: Breanna

Breanna

What is it that empowers you most?
I feel most empowered when collaborating with people in creative settings. I love hovering over a roll of trace and madly scribbling ideas with a design team— teaching international students how to dougie whilst repping the “stank face”— painting murals with inner city children and watching their faces light up with each brushstroke— I live to ignite that spark in others. Architecture, dance and art have been my favourite catalysts

What do you love most about yourself?
I love my ability to discover latent potential in anything, from abandoned objects to dilapidated cities. I refuse to look at the world as a static, impervious place. With imagination, there is always room for positive change.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Dancing. Any place, any style. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a song and trusting your body to explore the extents of the rhythm.

Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest role model is my nana. She has experienced loss at unfathomable levels her whole life, and remains the most selfless person I know. Her patience is unwavering, and her faith and love for her family, indestructible. She is also fluent in six languages [self-taught]. Oh, and she is by far the best cook ever.

In addition to my nana, I want to take this moment to celebrate all of the incredible people in my life:

Here’s to my dad, who taught me how to hold a hammer, and the value of hard work. He never fails to remind me of my strength when I feel down.

Here’s to my mom. Words cannot describe the extent of her love. I am proud to have inherited her passion, emotional dynamism and zest for life.

Here’s to my siblings, for enduring all of my [continually] weird phases, and having my back no matter what… even provinces apart.

Here’s to my grandparents, for spoiling me with food, stories and warm hugs.

Here’s to my best friends, for the dance parties, hysterical antics, and heart-to-hearts over bottles of wine.

Here’s to my brilliant, goofy boyfriend, who supports my wildest ambitions and loves me unconditionally.

Thank you all for making me who I am.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I want to address all the female STARchitects out there… not the “Zaha” types per se, but the women who juggle stellar careers, raise families, and simultaneously make time for themselves. You are living evidence that we do not have to choose one or the other to accomplish great things. In my eyes, you are true heroines.

 

“my biggest life goal is to make a positive difference in the world.”

 

If you could pick one fictional character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. She is tiny, clever, and fiercely independent. AND she has her own sword. So badass.

What is your biggest life goal?
In the cheesiest sense, my biggest life goal is to make a positive difference in the world. I want to find what I am most passionate about, push it to the extreme and share it with others. I want to make a hefty dent in the development of my hometown, Winnipeg, Manitoba. I want to inspire at least one person who is experiencing self-doubt to realize their own strength. I want to share my life with loved ones. I want to travel the world and design spiritual spaces and places of healing. Lastly, when my time comes, I want to know that I lived my life to the fullest for the good of my community, without regret.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Graduating from my Bachelor of Environmental Design studies in architecture… or perhaps more importantly, recovering from 4 consecutive years without sleep, living out of the trunk of my mercury sable and the inevitable downward spirals from critique after critique.

I am proud of myself for taking time to work, for rediscovering favourite past times, moving to a new city and pursuing my masters degree. I am proud of myself for taking risks, maintaining important relationships, and forming new ones.

What is your favourite quote?

“What if?” – Jae Sung Chon

“Love wins. Love always wins.” – Morrie Schwartz

“Sometimes it’s the people no one expects anything from who do the things no one expects.” (The Imitation Game)

And because I am a Harry Potter fanatic:

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Albus Dumbledore

“Nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas.” – Alastor Moody

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Stay weird. Wear artsy hats and sweatpants. Dance your heart out. Do not waste your energy on those who do not respect you in return. Four years of braces will be worth it, I promise. Find inspiration in something small every day. Trust yourself and always push the limits.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is the destruction of the stigma that women are lesser, demanding equal opportunities and respect for all.

Breanna is a Habitat Visionary and Space Planner in Vancouver, Canada

Fierce Females: Breanna

Fierce Females: Crystal Lee

Crystal-Lee

What is it that empowers you most?
I am a grounded person because of my spirituality. It connects me in a meaningful way to people, events and myself. Through that connection I feel a call to action to live responsibly, speak my truth and follow my heart.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
Living with my heart open is what I love most about myself. It’s a challenge that I make consciously everyday. It takes a lot of strength to knowingly choose the higher road in situations that could easily turn into anger, fear or a number of other negative emotions. Staying open hearted always brings me through my life situations in a beautiful way and enhances my life.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Big comfortable blankets make me feel beautiful. When I am comfortable, warm and happy it is the best feeling in the world. When I am happy I feel like my smile is 10,000 miles long and it’s beautiful.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Gandhi had a huge influence over me as a young adult. I feel that his teachings and more so the way he lived his life promoted courage, an intense amount of resilience, and selflessness for the purpose of a cause. Seeing what he and others have accomplished with a minimal amount of resources shows the power of the human spirit.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Coco Chanel. I saw a film on her and she rocked my world. She created the pants look for women. She bent to no one. She took risks. I loved her for this.

 

“My biggest life goal is to impact individuals in a powerful way with my songs.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
If I could be a fictional female character for a day it would be Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I have always loved that story and would love to see what wonderland is like. It’s pure imagination. It would be impossibly fun to take on the Jabberwocky or to play croquet with the Red Queen.

What is your biggest life goal?
My biggest life goal is to impact individuals in a powerful way with my songs. To be a voice that reaches someone at the right time, in the right way to give them a feeling or an inspiration that improves their moment. Eventually my goal is to work full time writing a recording my music and spending time working with other artists around the world with the craft of songwriting.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment with my career, is releasing my first EP “Drive” with Grey’s Fool. It was a songwriting project that I started with a friend that grew into an amazing year of studio work, travel and performing. The record features Grammy nominated musicians and sound engineering. I could not be prouder.

What is your favourite quote?
“You already have everything you need to succeed”. I heard this quote from a spiritual teacher and it haunts me. Every time I think that I need this or that to accomplish a goal, that quote is whispered in my ear then I find another way of accomplishing the goal.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell my 12 year old self “You are okay and you are loved”.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means that as a species human beings are allowing the barriers to fall and the blocks that our minds put up based on physical identifiers are moving into a thing of the past. Men and Women are capable of so much greatness. Equal means equal. Equally capable of succeeding and equally capable of failing. I think it is amazing that we have a word to define the command for equality. I see everyone as equal.

Crystal Lee Morgan is a Singer/Songwriter from California and Hawaii.
Connect with Crystal Lee: Website / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

Fierce Females: Crystal Lee

Fierce Females: Alyson

Alyson

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that my time here is finite. This might scare most people, but personally knowing that I only get one shot at this crazy thing that we call “life” – one shot to experience as much as possible, to push myself to do things that I’d never imagined, to love deeply and fully, and to try to leave a positive impact – motivates me like nothing else.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love my sense of humour. I’ve been told I’m pretty quick-witted, which is a compliment that I hold in the highest esteem. I just adore making people laugh, and there’s nothing quite like sharing a really good belly-laugh with your friends – especially if it’s over a joke you’ve made!

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Working out, especially lifting weights. In the past year I’ve started to really focus on my health and well-being, and going to the gym has become an important part of that routine. I’m not a power lifter or anything, but there’s something incredibly rewarding about being able to pick up really heavy things and put them down again!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Carl Sagan. I re-watched the original “Cosmos” series again a few years ago on a lark and what stuck with me was Carl’s wonder, not just at the vast, impossible beauty and mystery of space, but of what we’ve accomplished throughout our history as a species. He always conveyed such a hope for what we could accomplish if we all just worked together and focused on the bigger picture, and that hope and reflection is something that I’ve tried to internalize and bring to my daily life. I’m endlessly inspired by his wonder and amazement at everything. His reading of “Pale Blue Dot” makes me cry every time I listen to it.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt, hands-down. That woman was fierce as hell and took a stand on a lot of touchy subjects like racial issues and women’s rights, even going as far as to publicly disagree with her husband on a number of occasions. Can you imagine the balls that would have taken? He was the President of the United States! Her Wikipedia is just a giant list of huge accomplishments, one right after the other, peppered with badass quotes about not getting pushed around or taking flak from people.

 

“I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Amy Pond, from the Doctor Who series. She’s one of my favourite companions because she’s a really clever, resourceful, and complex character who packs a ton of sass. I was rather “meh” on the Doctor’s sidekicks until they introduced Amy, and she’s still my favourite. I’m also completely swept up by the idea of being able to travel across all of space and time and see the universe.

What is your biggest life goal?
Professionally speaking I’d like to eventually move to freelancing full-time, but personally (and more importantly) I want to learn to not be so hard on myself. My relationship with my parents, my mother especially, is extremely messy and left me with a lot of negative feelings about my personality, my abilities, my future, my relationships… you name it. I also carry around a tremendous amount of guilt about pretty much everything, and judge myself constantly for “not being good enough” for anything that I’m doing. Which I realize is silly because I’m doing it, but I struggle to turn off that negative little voice in my head, you know?

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Going to university. When I was 19 I literally walked into a really safe, secure government job. I was making almost 40k annually, I had amazing benefits, vacation time, and of course coveted job security. But I was utterly miserable. I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless; this was my life now and there was nothing else to look forward to or accomplish.

I decided to apply to the Rhetoric and Communications program at the University of Winnipeg, and when I announced my decision to my family they freaked out and my dad actually stopped speaking to me for several months. I was living on my own at the time and my parents refused to let me move home, so I moved in with a roommate and put myself through school, graduating in 2013.

It was incredibly difficult at times, but I made a decision and proved to myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I’m so happy that I took a chance on myself.

What is your favourite quote?
I have a few, which are:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan, “Contact”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
“Don’t give up, you’re stronger than you think.” I actually have this pasted on my mood board in-between photos of Jimmy Carter and Tom from Parks and Rec saying “Treat Yo Self.”

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is having the courage to initiate dialogues that challenge normative standards of beauty, class, sexuality, etc to effect positive change. It’s everyone working together, supporting each other towards a shared goal of equality, opportunity and respect.

Alyson is a Marketing Manager and freelance Content Marketer in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fierce Females: Alyson

Fierce Females: Krista

Krista

What is it that empowers you most?
The unknown of tomorrow. No one knows. Life can change so quick. It’s daunting at times but I love looking back and learning lessons.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
That I am caring and loyal. I care immensely about my friends and family. I appreciate them for everything they are and do. The people in my life are the most treasured thing I have.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I am still on a high from just finishing some kind of fitness. Whether it be dance, weights, an awesome run or yoga. I feel like I can conquer the day after exercise

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Hmmm tough one. I think I’d say my grandparents. They are so selfless and caring. They have always been supportive of me and what makes me happy. They have taught me so much over the years and even now. I’ve been told I’m an old soul, and my grandparents are the reason behind it. They also spoil me with bacon and baking. Haha

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Does a Disney character count? I’d choose Mulan if so. She was courageous and selfless to protect her family. She is fearless, determined and gets to show up the boys. It’s my favourite Disney movie.

 

“I surprise myself sometimes at how scared I can be but still take a leap forward.”

 

What is your biggest life goal?
To be happy and healthy. I don’t need a million dollars, a big house, to be the president of a business. I just want my health and happiness and my other goals will follow.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Probably what I am today. I surprise myself sometimes at how scared I can be but still take a leap forward. Like moving overseas to a new country. It was a terrifying/exciting change. But I follow my heart and what feels right. I’m determined. It’s not easy being away from home and family, never mind thousands of kilometres away.

What is your favourite quote?
Rise and rise again, until the lamb becomes the lion.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Stop being so serious and just have fun and enjoy being a kid. Bump your head, scrape your knees and let yourself fall. Just get back up again.

What does feminism mean to you?
Equality. To me everyone should be capable to do whatever they want to do and everything they admire to be. Everyone deserves a choice. Whether you are male or female, white, black, brown or blue.

Krista is a Market Development Executive and Co-Owner of a cafe in Gold Coast, Australia.

Fierce Females: Krista

Fierce Females: Adele

Adele

What is it that empowers you most?
Team work. Working with others towards a common goal. Supporting, encouraging and challenging each other and achieving results.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My positivity. There isn’t much that can get me down.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Dancing naked around the house.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
At the moment, I’m a big fan of Amy Poehler. She is so eloquent about feminist issues, and she’s also funny as hell.

My mother. I want to be exactly like her when I grow up. She’s selfless, tough, full of energy and no one would ever mess with her.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Joss Whedon. Not a heroine, but a champion of feminist sentiment. He writes the most badass and complex female characters. And when asked why he does this, he answers “Because you keep on asking that question.”

 

“Just keep on doing what you want to do, you will be happiest when you are just being you.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Lesley Knope from the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. She is passionate about what she does, and just keeps on slogging through all the bureaucratic BS of local government to achieve her goals, which are always about making life better for others. And she eats a lot of waffles.

What is your biggest life goal?
To take my future children around the world. To teach them about and also experience other cultures and histories.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Making people laugh.

What is your favourite quote?
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Just keep on doing what you want to do, you will be happiest when you are just being you. People who don’t appreciate your individuality aren’t worthy of being part of your life.

What does feminism mean to you?
Freedom.
The beginning.
Striving for equality not just between the genders, but for absolutely every single human being on this planet.

Adele is an independent performing artist and producer in Melbourne, Australia

Fierce Females: Adele

Fierce Females: Natalie

Natalie

What is it that empowers you most?
Those countless evenings, over countless bottles of wine or pitchers of beer, spent with friends, telling our stories. Sharing myself, my thoughts and my struggles with those I make my life with, and receiving the same from them. Nothing empowers me like knowing I’m not in it alone.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My tenacity. I don’t shy away from a challenge. Inside, I may very well be completely terrified and insecure but I always seem to manage to pull it off. I love that I am prepared to fight for what I believe in and what I know I deserve. Whether it’s been in my professional or personal life, I look back at what I’ve accomplished in 24 years and I even impress myself!

Physically, probably my hair. It’s taken me years to accept my crazy, incredibly thick, already graying hair. I cut all of it off – and I mean all of it – last spring. It took me getting rid of it to really learn to love it! Sometimes I joke that last spring I broke up with my hair and I’ve spent the last year trying to get it back.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Swimming alone. Long swims, shorts swims, whatever. There’s nothing like feeling what you’re body can do to truly appreciate it.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
As you can probably tell by my answers, I have trouble narrowing it down to one answer. I am incredibly lucky to have so many role models in my life, it does a disservice to everyone I admire by picking one.

So here’s to my family who pushes me to be the person they know I can be, but still loves me no matter what kind of naïve life choices I make. Here’s to my partner who doesn’t cease to amaze me with his kindness, silliness and love. Here’s to my intern partners-in-crime who stayed up late, drinking wine and talking shop. Here’s to my roller-derby loving, fucking cool coworker who takes me to emerg and talks gender and identity politics with me. Here’s to my book club, talking literature and feminism over so many bottles of red. Here’s to my friends here, across the country, and across oceans, whether it’s in a pub in Hackney, a run-down flat in Arras, a classroom at Carleton, or in front of a game of Catan, you make me who I am.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Leslie Fucking Knope: Leslie on Parks and Recreation is this tornado of a woman: hyper-competent, strong, and loving. Oh and hilarious. Leslie has already left us with so many legacies! Galentine’s Day anyone?

Liz Fucking Lemon. It doesn’t help that I have hair like Lemon and dance like her too, so I feel a weird sort of kinship with Lemon. I remember watching 30 Rock for the first time and just being floored at how human, how weird, how funny she was. So many jokes about eating night cheese, self-esteem and periods!

And, of course, Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I love how strange, funny, and tender she is all at once. She’s not afraid to be herself, with all her zombie loving, horse-girl weirdness.

 

“To look back on my life without too many regrets; to know I lived.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Amy Pond from Doctor Who. She’s so fucking kick-ass and so whole a character. She gets to go on crazy adventures, kick seriously alien ass, love two guys at once, hang out with the Doctor and live in the Tardis. Plus, it also doesn’t hurt she has the best hair.

What is your biggest life goal?
To look back on my life without too many regrets; to know I lived. Oh, and to maybe write a book of poetry.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
In the abstract, having that feeling that I’m becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be.

In a more concrete way, personally, pushing myself through my Masters degree – which I hated. It forced me to learn about my limits, and undergo some very real, very personal discoveries. If anything it was an education in myself as much as an education in Comparative Politics. It still surprises me that I actually finished it. How many people can say they have a Masters’ Degree by 22?

What is your favourite quote?
I tried to narrow it down to one, but I always seem to come back to this excerpt from Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions about our shared existence:

“… without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of others, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

There’s also nothing like a good one-liner: Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. – Churchill

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Everything you experience is building you into the person you need to be. So be proud of yourself, be proud of that person, because you are the sum of your lived experiences, and you’re only going to get better, stronger, and fantastic.

What does feminism mean to you?
The beauty of feminism is in its variability. It can mean so many things to so many people. So I’ll tell my story, my feminism. I’ve self-identified as a feminist for years, but since leaving school, leaving my safe bubble of equality and like-minded friends is when I finally had to face what it truly meant to experience that drag of the patriarchy.

This past winter, as part of my internship, we traveled to Ottawa to meet with the usual suspects: politicians, lobbyists, journalists, and the like. So much of that week involved sitting in rooms, filled with privileged (white) men, being talked down to, being told how difficult it is for women in government, being told how nice it was to see women interested in politics – as if interest in politics was some hobby I had.

It’s not as if we hadn’t met with any women during that week – we met with several strong, very successful women. But for the most part, it was the same over again. They didn’t want to talk about being a woman – fair enough – but no one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: that extra pressure, that insecurity that comes creeping in the back of your mind when you’re sitting at a table surrounded by men. That insidious voice that tells you you don’t know what you’re talking about, that your opinion doesn’t matter, that you don’t belong.

Then we met with Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East.

I will say, no matter how silly it sounds, she fucking got it. She laid it all out. She gave me words for what I was feeling. That feeling of powerlessness, of self-doubt, of insecurity. She spoke at length of how so many women self-select out of jobs of power. We feel unqualified. Women tend to resist applying for high-powered jobs unless they feel completely qualified. We self-select out. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough to make change. This is when it shifted. In those moments when I feel insecure, unsure of my voice, I think back to that idea, that I am limiting myself, limiting my voice. This is feminism. It is the ability to think, to feel, and to be equal.

I need feminism because at the end of the day, no matter how empowered I feel, no matter how accepted I feel, and no matter how equal I feel, there are moments when I catch myself second-guessing my place in the world, my place at the table, my voice, my power, my presence. Feminism gives me hope, it gives me a place, it is what gives me the power to tell myself “yes you do belong”.

Fierce Females: Natalie

Fierce Females: Ashley


Ashley

What is it that empowers you most?
I feel highly empowered when watching the fruits of your labour come into fruition

What is it that you love most about yourself?
The thing I really love about myself, would have to be my sense of humor…I think I’m really fucking funny.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I’m dancing.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I don’t really like this question. I mean there are people I admire, and would like to emulate, and learn from. But I don’t have one single person that is my “go to” for a role model. It would be a mixture of Oprah for her insight, Marilyn Monroe for her captivating and intoxicating beauty, Maya Angelou for her wisdom and Kate Moss for the fashion flair muse.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Refer to previous.

 

“Being a dreamer is one of the best thing god has instilled in you.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
If I could be a fictional character it would be Samantha from Bewitched. I love a good witch and plus with a wiggle of the nose, I could have anything I wanted.

What is your biggest life goal?
Biggest life goal. Traveling

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Opening hush hush closet, and getting my driver’s license for the 2nd time

What is your favourite quote?
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch . You have to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Being a dreamer is one of the best thing god has instilled in you. Keep dreaming and keep believing. And that boys are dumb and they always come back :)

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means being a badass bitch getting things done for herself, by herself.

Ashley is the owner of Hush Hush Closet in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Connect with Ashley: Website, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram

Fierce Females: Ashley

Fierce Females: Crystal

Crystal

What is it that empowers you most?
I’ve reached a never before seen level of not giving a shit. Some say that makes me careless, aloof or reckless. How I see it is that when I’m feeling stressed or pressured at work, in my personal life, or if I simply miss the land of the jets – I have the superhuman sense to see what’s important to me. Not caring about all the little squabbles gives me more power for the real fights.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I’ll never miss an opportunity to see the humour in some messed up situations. I could quit a job, have a bad break-up or be on my last penny. If by some circumstance someone sets me up for a joke in there I have to run with it, however inappropriate it may be. A lot of stories that are painful now are hilarious later.

Most of the time I only joke about myself or people close to me. Strangers don’t like it when you laugh at their misery.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Cat eyes, a feminine dress, a pair of stomping boots and a leather bomber jacket. It’s just comfortable.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have anti-role models. I don’t think anyone inspired me to become who I am, and the person I’m still striving to be. But there’s a few people who I never want to become, and others who I know I need to do better than.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Dawna Friesen, a homegrown Winnipeg woman who travelled the world telling stories and now sits at the desk at Global National. Dawna told me about how she pumped gas while in college.

 

“Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.”

 

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Wonder Woman. She’s a warrior with origins in Greek mythology, and yes, she entered the man’s world to fight for peace, justice and love. She deflects bullets and anyone caught in her golden lasso is bound to tell the truth. I’d say there’s a list of people I’d like to catch in that.

Also, I’d love to kick ass and then come home to my other life and say, “My afternoon was uneventful, how was your day honey?”

What is your biggest life goal?
To televise the revolution.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

What is your favourite quote?
There’s a line from the chorus in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon:

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

The best lessons are the most painful ones. You’ve learned something from whatever it is that hurt you and kept you up at night. I got it tattooed on my torso about four years ago. I’m also sleeping better.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.

What does feminism mean to you?
I’m still trying to find out. Lately, it’s meant fighting for what I deserve and not being apologetic about it.

I recently had to explain, “I’m sorry but I’m not going to turn into an old white man overnight.” I shouldn’t be sorry for not having that ability.

Crystal is a Radio Reporter, Freelance Videographer, Non-profit Communications, Documentary Filmmaker and waitress in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Connect with Crystal: Twitter

Fierce Females: Crystal