Sunday, October 14, 2007
Flint: MELODEE, KRYSTAL, CRYSTAL
The Flint women I met yesterday were BAD-ASS. There was Melodee (in the photo, below and left), a 27-year-old born and bred in Flint, coming from a long line of auto workers (“At Thanksgiving, my family thanks God and the union!”). There was Krystal (below and right), mid-twenties, who had just come back from traveling in Venezuela alone, much to the shock of the other women travelers she met along the way (most of whom had boyfriends in tow). And Crystal, 25, a woman born in Chicago but living in Flint for a while, has a master’s in public admin, working at Umich-Flint, and supporting her partner while he earns his Bachelor degree. Each are living their lives in defiance of rules, embracing the sheer desperation of Flint and wanting to make it different. Melodee is perfectly happy being completely broke in Flint as long as she can change the way people are thinking. Crystal (in the photo, below), coming from Chicago, sees the city as a place she can make an impact in, rather than be an insignificant speck in some bigger city.
All three answered yes to whether they were feminists, no questions asked. And to them, feminism wasn’t an academic concept, it was a political one, an obvious choice. Melodee called herself a “born-again feminist”—a word that turned her off when she was little, because her mom would stand up for herself in public, which was "totally embarrassing...I thought, 'If that's a feminist, I don't want to be one.' " But one day, she claimed the word as her own when she realized in 7th grade science class that girls were just as smart as boys. She's been down with the word "feminist" ever since.