Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nashville, Day 2: RACHEL

We have coffee in a hipster part of Nashville with Rachel, the 24-year-old art and design director at American Songwriter magazine. Like Lauren, she grew up in Memphis, and she and her two sisters were raised by Southern Baptist parents. “My parents are conservative, but always gave us freedom with how we approached our talents. I grew up with the arts,” Rachel says. She came to Nashville “to do music—I was fascinated with how the DIY independent music scene was going in Nashville,” but wound up getting a business degree and eventually got interested in design.

Rachel would consider herself a feminist, but “subtlely. It’s in my nature to feel empowered as a female. I always feel like I have to prove myself, even in the independent music scene, which I see as kind of a brotherhood.” Rachel describes herself as “quiet shaker.” She cites her parents as unlikely contributors to her progressive way of thinking. “My parents are both religious people, but they’re all about freedom of speech. My mom grew up in the hippie culture in Austin, but describes that time in her life as ‘before she found her faith.’” Regardless, she and her two older sisters “honed in” on their parents’ liberal past rather than their more traditional lifestyle later on.

Religion does play a role in Rachel’s life—“it’s a very quiet factor, but I treasure it.” The church she goes to “embraces the concepts of love between races and types of people,” and goes against the stereotype of close-minded Christianity. She thinks her anti-right-wing stance, and the fact that she is pro-choice, is “even more powerful because I am a Christian. It surprises people. I also get excited when I meet people who are both faithful and artists—because I sometimes feel like an outcast in either group.” Rachel feels much more adamant than Lauren about the importance of separation between church and state, and gets frustrated that the right-wing agenda uses the name of Christ.

Rachel is hopeful for the future of young women, and is eager for them to be included in what she calls the “creative class.” “I get encouraged when I find that needle in a haystack—a woman who is pursuing the male-dominated world of music or art. I think it’s getting better. People are finally allowing people to think for themselves and, little by little, boundaries are vanishing.”


Check out what Rachel wrote on November 19th on her livejournal about our little chat!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So great Nona and Emma went south for interviews. Rachel and young women like her bring a groundedness to feminism. Back in the day of what is called (not to my liking) "second-wave feminism," and being from rural Oklahoma, I went south to organize out of New Orleans, the Southern Women's Liberation Movement.