By Claudia Vitarelli
We got dangerous, invited a group of kickass women to gather around a table… and the Feminism in Flux dinner was born. Here, we’re featuring personal stories from our attendees.
Alex Gottlieb of Penguin Random House, 31 years old, Iranian-American.
When did you first realize you were a feminist?
I'm not sure. I'm always rediscovering and redefining what being a feminist is, so it's a constant process of continuing to question what that word means for myself. I think I was born a feminist, but am still in the process of becoming the feminist I want to be.
What are some nuances within the feminist movement that you’ve come to understand in the last year?
Intersectionality! Fortunately, I live in New York and have been lucky enough to have access to group discussions (such as the W&W dinner, bless!) and debates over intersectionality and how it's viewed across different groups or individuals. These discussions have helped me define my own goals within as well as outside the movement, because understanding intersectionality is a necessity in understanding all social struggles.
If you could tell one group one thing about feminism who would it be and what would you say?
I would reach out to our teen youth because, at the risk of sounding like a slogan soundboard, they are our future. I would reach out particularly to the male youth, and encourage them to take the next step in what I think is missing from the conversation: men. I would tell them that they have an opportunity to change the way future generations view feminism. Simply by talking about it, they have the power to erase the stigma that this conversation begins and ends with women. Equality is something that everyone should fight for, and if we can raise up the voices of our youth to demand that equality (together, as one), we will see steadfast change.
What would you tell your 10-year-old self about what it means to be a woman?
The same thing I was raised on: it means POWER — but with an addendum, IT DON'T COME EASY.
What is one wish you have for women, or for the feminist movement, in the coming year?
I believe in the airplane safety guidelines "Secure your safety mask before assisting others" and I think it applies to the feminist movement. We can't possibly take care of one another if we don't take care of ourselves. I mean that less in the vein of self-care and more so in the sense that feminism is like a child — we are caring for it year after year, watching it grow, and now it's talking, forming coherent sentences. How will we shape the way it thinks? The way it moves? How it interacts? We need to be present and mindful of our internal workings before we make strides with the external. I think conversations like these are a leap in the right direction.