Come Meet The Faces of the Feminist Movement

Faces of the Feminist Movement

It’s 2019 and society still doesn’t understand Feminism. The stigma placed on the movement has made some, even me, hesitate to admit that they too are a feminist. I wanted to try and bridge this gap by finding the faces of feminism. Some of these individuals I know well and others I hope I get to know better. At the very least I hope this helps people realize there are real faces in the movement. So here they are. The Faces of Feminism.

Courtney L.
22 years old
Atlanta, GA
Student and Photographer

faces of the Feminist movement

What about the feminist movement and ideals drew you in?
CL: The strength to stand up against the oppressors and the sense of community that comes along with being a feminist.

Who are these oppressors in your opinion?
CL: The oppressors are the ones who silence women. Ones that have a particular power. Sort of a certain group but we shouldn’t generalize. It’s more individual.

Who is your feminist icon and why:
CL: Definitely Beyoncé. Especially after watching her Netflix special this morning. As a woman of color, and seeing the effort Beyoncé puts in to make sure young black girls can relate to what they see on stage is so important. Beyoncé exerts so much strength with all that she’s been through. And as a woman of color, I appreciate how she always places moments of black history in her performances. It’s a teaching moment for us black girls.

Feminism today still has a negative stigma. Even with intersectional feminism on the rise. Why do you think that is?
CL: I think because people don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman. Our triumphs. Our struggles. It’s still a taboo topic which doesn’t make sense, especially after the Women’s March. People just don’t want to talk about the injustices. They only want to talk about the people experiencing the injustices, but in a negative way, because no one wants to admit that they are wrong.

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This is where my headspace is right now—working with strong female creatives, speaking openly about our minds and our bodies. My girl @emeraldarguelles is the first to be featured in my PHOT 470 project titles “Her Red Hands.” HRH is an exploration of identity through interviews and photographs sharing the stories of women’s experiences with menstruation. @emeraldarguelles is the strongest girl I know. She’s open. She’s honest. She’s raw. I photographed her intimately and we laughed. And for this am forever grateful to call her one of my best friends. She’s a badass artist killing it right now with some video work, so check her out. || filmphotographic #vsco #apfmagazine#zonestreet #fivesixmag #deathb4digital#photofilmy #magnumphotos#sideroadmagazine #leica #leicam6#filmisnotdead #filmisalive#boxspeedfeature #ifyouleave #35mm#streethoney #NYCSPC #MySPC#filmphotography #minitar1onthemove  #instreetcollective #staybrokeshootfilm  #kodaklosers #life_is_street#makemeseemag #filmphotographic#back2thebase #everybodyfilm#analoganonymous #therawsociety

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Do you think there’s something more we as feminists can or should do to combat this stigma?
CL: Well I think the only thing we can do is raise awareness. It’s a choice to listen but at least we’ve said something.

What actions can anyone who identifies as a feminist take to support the movement and help each other?
CL: If you’re an artist, support your feminist friend’s work. I’m an artist and I can really only speak from the point of view of an artist. Going to their exhibitions, possibly buying prints if you can or really just starting a conversation. I mean the greatest gift to me is just saying you looked at my website or you like my prints. That means everything. Outside of art, just being openly supportive on social media. Giving open praise and saying that today you love these feminists in your life. Just be open with love.

They only want to talk about the people experiencing the injustices, but in a negative way, because no one wants to admit that they are wrong.

Was there ever a lightbulb moment where you sat back and actually acknowledged you were a feminist because of your ideas or have you always consciously known?
CL: When I created a photography project highlighting only women and it was about periods, menstruation, and the taboo around them. When I dove into the injustices women face, that’s when I realized that the issues I faced are the ones that all women face.

Savanah Y.
22 years old
Phoenix, AZ
Social media specialist


faces of the feminist movement

What about the feminist movement and ideals drew you in?
SY: When I was 16 or 17 I started noticing a lot of double standards between men and women. Like men could sleep with a large amount of women and be praised for it. But women were demonized if they slept with a lot of men. That made me want to learn more about feminism. It also made sense to me that men and women should be on a level playing field, but the more research I did the less our society seemed to function that way and it made me want to speak up about it.

Who is your feminist icon and why?
SY: The first person that comes to mind is Gloria Steinem! I minored in women & gender studies and in one of my classes we read the article she wrote about going undercover as a bunny in the Playboy clubs and I thought that was so badass. She’s someone I really look up to as a writer and a feminist!

Feminism today still has a negative stigma even with intersectional feminism on the rise. Why do you think that is?
SY: I think feminism can still have a negative connotation because a lot of people have a hard time confronting their privilege in society. Guys who say “not all men” have basically become a meme at this point, but it really comes from men who don’t want to listen and acknowledge that they have an automatic advantage simply by being a white man. The same goes for women who are against feminism. It can be easy to say, “Well I personally haven’t faced any difficulties based on my gender, so it can’t be that bad.” But that just oversimplifies the problem and hides a lot of different perspectives. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get people to change their perception of the world so misconceptions about feminism keep surviving.

What actions do you think we can take to support the movement and the ideals we believe in:
SY: There’s a variety of ways that you can get involved! Even donating a small amount to Planned Parenthood or another organization that has a feminist platform can make a difference. There’s also a ton of local organizations out there that host different events/fundraisers/ rallies. So really finding ways to get involved is as easy as searching for events on Facebook. And obviously voting for candidates who support women is important too!

I think feminism can still have a negative connotation because a lot of people have a hard time confronting their privilege in society.

Was there ever a lightbulb moment were you sat back and actually acknowledged you were a feminist or have you always consciously known?
SY: I think I always just knew I was a feminist, I was just ‘afraid’ of the label because of the misconceptions that come with it. I basically was just thinking like a typical self-conscious teenager and was worried about what other people would think if they knew I identified with that term. The thing that actually helped change my mind about that was when Beyoncé released ***Flawless with an except from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” speech. I though she explained the movement so well and was fully prepared to use it as talking points if anyone ever asked about why I was a feminist!

Sabrina L.
25 years old
Phoenix, Arizona

faces of the feminist movement

What about the feminist movement and ideals drew you in?
SL: I grew up religious and it was hard to accept the things that they would say. Or very hard not to question the dynamics or the roles and how the women is supposed to be portrayed. Growing up with my body image issues or not feeling loved enough from my family and all the abuse, it was more so trying to find love in myself. I guess I identified as feminist before I found yoga but at that moment in my life I really found peace and joy and love of who I am as a person. I just never wanted anyone else to ever feel like they’re not loved or to not love who they are.

I feel like everyone is beautiful and everyone has that opportunity to grow and be beautiful. I felt like the world and especially within our government or the older generations there’s a ‘type’ or a ‘way’. Only one way to be and I think that that’s a little bullshit. That just confines you and if someone is confined or someone feels like they can’t be their true selves then someone has power over you.

It’s not necessarily men telling women it’s women telling women. I feel like that stemmed from one thing and by being a feminist you’re standing up and saying you don’t have to be or follow these things. You’re allowed to be more feminine as a male or more masculine as a female. I just feel like that so wrong of someone to tell someone else no because, “I was told this was the right way” when there’s no such thing as the right way.

Who’s your feminist icon and why?
SL: I love Jane Fonda. I think she’s everyone’s favorite. Also all the women in my life like my friends. Women that I barely know but who are mothers and not mothers but are just as powerful. They have really guided my life. I think that women are very powerful and beautiful. They’re my role models.

Why do you think the feminist movement has a negative stigma?
SL: I feel like most people are told that being a feminist is wrong. There’s always this negative connotation so you’re thinking “Wow, I can’t tell someone I’m a feminist.” Especially with people always bringing up extremists. There’s always going to be those extreme people but there’s bigger movements. I always say this, a lot of times people need to be shocked into seeing the truth. People don’t like to be shocked and they don’t like change.

“I’m a feminist and I’m damn proud to be one.”

What can we do to support the movement and equality?
SL:I think being a feminist is like a dirty secret. It’s so sad that people don’t see it that way. People don’t want to say outright “Hey, I’m a feminist” but deep down they know what is right or how they feel but they’re so scared into thinking they can’t be that person. There are people who will support this and love you through it. Me stating I’m a feminist or going out and helping women and men and catering to people who need love or strength to stand up, I think that’s a lot. Just being apart of the movement. I think what was the most powerful was doing marches.

Was there ever a lightbulb moment to were you realized you were a feminist and came to terms with it? 
SL:Yes. I don’t really like telling this story but I was with my ex-boyfriend at the same time I got into the beauty industry.  I was arguing with this girl saying there wasn’t enough color ranges or if there was, it was very expensive. That whole thing was like “Wow I never really thought about that.”

Then I had a conversation with my grandfather about my ex-boyfriend and the ‘what if’ of me getting pregnant and being left with two babies but I’m at fault. Or I’m not going to be enough for somebody else. I was like “What the hell?” That has nothing to do with my character. It has nothing to do with any of the circumstances. With the abortion law in New York, this was kind of insane. People are dying because of abortions or being able to speak about having abortions. People would put bombs in abortion clinics or hospitals and people died because from this.

This was the lightbulb moment. We need more people to say “I’m a feminist and I’m damn proud to be one.”

The amount of inspiration I felt when speaking with these three women was incredible. These are just three faces of the feminist movement. There are many, many more doing incredible work across the world.

Let’s try to do the same and remember being a feminist is nothing to be ashamed of.