Saturday, January 5, 2008

New York City: PIA

Pia: 25, raised in Crown Heights, dancer, choreographer, dance studio manager, afterschool teacher. Wouldn't consider herself a feminist.

"The first step to getting racial equality in an American patriarchal society is getting some perks for your men, and then hoping that your men are going to turn around and try to get some perks for you. I feel like that's why a lot of Black women don't label themselves as feminists...they'll label themselves under racial activists and then bring in women's issues as a second-tier thing. We are grappling with a whole different set of issues that just come first--I'm always reminded that I'm Black before being reminded that I'm a woman."

(Photo by Sadye Vassil)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New York City: MEHIKO

Mehiko: 23, one of the few non-Hasidic Williamsburg natives, born in Japan, law student at CUNY Law School, feminist.

"I would definitely like to see more girls involved in sports. I just think that athletics is a really important part of growing up, and I think it instills values you can't get anywhere else...Even now, you still get your boy a little football for Christmas and your girl a Barbie doll. I know some parents make a conscious decision not to do that. But I want it to be something that's unconscious...I want girls to want to do sports. It helps with body image later on, too, because you see your body as a tool rather than just an object of desire."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Jessica: 23, lifelong Brooklynite, stay-at-home-mom to Olivia, her 4-year-old daughter, aspiring illustrator or interior designer, feminist.

“Since I have a daughter, I’m really aware of the media and how it degrades women. It starts from a really young age. Like those Bratz Dolls—Olivia doesn’t have any of those, thank god—but they look like strippers. Even if you don’t watch TV, just walking down the street people are judging women everywhere. I don’t ever want my daughter scrutinizing herself or comparing herself to the way women are ‘supposed’ to look. [laughs] Part of me wishes that mothers would get involved in an anti-Bratz campaign or something.”

Monday, December 31, 2007

New York City: ERICA

Erica Jong (above, in her East side home): New Yorker, novelist, poet, media personality, pioneer of the sexual revolution, Second Wave feminist.

On young women, sex, and role models:

"I think young teenagers all need an older woman--maybe not our mother, since we are all rebelling against her at that age--who she trusts, with whom she can sort these things out. I had someone like that to talk to about promiscuity and my feelings about love and sex. Maybe every woman ought to have a mentor. Mentoring is the new feminism. I really believe that the next stage of feminism is going to be older women and younger women working together."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New York City: KATHLEEN

Kathleen Hanna (left, in her SoHo neighborhood): activist, teacher, musician, feminist; early Riot Grrrl upstarter, singer/songwriter in Viva Kneivel, Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, Le Tigre.

On her falling out with Riot Grrrl:

“A lot of the cool people left, including myself…It's a problem on its own to look at anything as your savior, its this kind of Christian capitalist way of looking at things. But when the thing that’s totally saving your life is now choking you to death, the language that saved your life is being used to murder you, it's really incredibly painful…I haven’t moved away from feminism, and I haven’t become softer and "nicer feminist" style or something, I’ve just really gotten bored of myself and want to look towards other people...It’s the arrogance of youth that made anything happen. I am glad I opened my mouth even though I didn’t fully know what I was saying…I had all the knowledge [about feminism] I needed because I lived it, and that’s the part of it that stands the test of time, but there is another part which is arrogant and not feeding into a positive sense of continuum.”