Sunday, October 14, 2007

Flint: MELODEE, KRYSTAL, CRYSTAL

The famous Flint arch

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.



--Nona

Discussion Questions:
Question 1
Question 2

2 comments:

Melodee said...

Mel is the "born again" feminist - when you review the interview, you'll be able to hear that in my self-righteous tone. Like a smoker who quit, and then lectures anyone who lights up in their presence. I've tried to tone it down, and be a diplomat. That is no fun. Mostly self-righteous about class, wearing childhood poverty like a badge of honor, though I now make 50k a year. Go figure.

You'll also hear the Chicago accent in Crystal's voice. She was not born in Flint, but you were right to catch on that Flint is in her blood.

Who is next? I am dying to hear what America's women are doing...

GIRLdrive said...

Sorry about the mix-up! Yeah, "born-again" feminists are more self-aware in general...and usually more zealous (much like the Christian version). And you're right--being a diplomat gets you nowhere.