Welcome back to another Feature Friday Activist style! I had the opportunity to talk to the amazing woman behind GuerrillaFeminism! Not only is she a strong female voice in the social media world she also speaks out for those who suffer from mental illness, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and so much more!
I have been following your Instagram accounts Lachristagreco and GuerrillaFeminism for a few weeks now and I wanted to promote you and your message to my followers. I found you through SlayThePatriarchy’s article “6 Feminists and Activists You Should Watch in 2018” and have been thoroughly impressed. You are honest, raw, and real. I want to personally thank you for being such a powerful voice in this crazy world we’re living in.
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m an almost-32-year-old woman living and being an activist in Madison, Wisconsin. I have my M.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies and am in school currently for MLIS. I teach trauma-informed and adaptive yoga. I write, read, and curate.
- What prompted you to start GuerrillaFeminism?
I started GF in 2011–a year after graduating from my M.A. program. I missed talking about feminism and activism every day with my classmates and peers, so I felt the pull to do something outside of my regular 9-5 job. GF initially started as feminist performance art–utilizing street-activist campaigning to post and flyer feminist images all over the city, and watch while the public chose to interact (or not) with said images.
- How did you come up with the name GuerrillaFeminism?
I considered my street activism to be a “surprise attack” on the mainstream culture. “Guerrilla” is aggressive, strong, and also an homage to the feminist art group, Guerrilla Girls.
- What does it mean to you to be an activist?
Activism is about movement–whether that be with our bodies, minds, etc. To be an activist means to be in perpetual motion–to mobilize for social change–to disrupt the status quo–to make the most privileged uncomfortable.
- Am I wrong in guessing you’re a feminist but you’re also for the equality of all lives?
I’m a feminist, for sure. I’m not sure what you mean by “equality for all lives”–as this sounds a bit “all lives matter”-y to me. More than equality, my feminism is equity and liberation.
- You are a feminist but do you also advocate for other people such as people of color and the LGBTQ community?
Yes, of course! That’s what feminism is all about.
- What personal experiences drew you to feminism or activism?
I was raised by a queer feminist mother who greatly shaped my initial entrance into feminism and activism. She took me to my first gay pride march when I was 6-years-old. I remember the energy of the crowd–the energy of my mother–the energy of activism.
- I read on your site that you’ve received death threats, rape threats, and verbal abuse for your work as an activist. How does that affect you?
Death/rape threats always give me pause, but I’m also, for better or for worse, incredibly desensitized to them at this point. I’ve received so many that I don’t often take them seriously, which is probably not good. I think the desensitization is also an act of self-preservation and a coping mechanism. Some days, it can really affect me; others, not so much.
- Do those threats every make you reconsider what you’re doing?
Initially, yes. But not for a long time. I receive far too many kind messages encouraging me to keep going to quit over some shitty troll. I’m very lucky to have the support system I have.
- What do you feel is your biggest focus?
My biggest focus within feminist activism is finding new and improved ways to utilize my privileges to hold space for and amplify more marginalized communities.
- If there was one feminist or activist resource that you wish everyone would read or view what would it be?
Tough question. I read so much feminist theory in school, but that stuff is largely inaccessible to many people. I could say bell hooks’ “Feminism is For Everybody”, but I could also say feminists on Tumblr (I learned more about feminism on Tumblr than I did in my Master’s program!)
- While doing my background research I also learned you and your best friend have a podcast where you “work to destigmatize mental illness.” Can you tell me about that?
Yes! It’s called “Dames with Demons.” It started out of one of many conversations Anju and I had about our anxiety disorders. There aren’t a lot of podcasts about mental illness from a feminist perspective. One of the things we talked about early on is how alone we both felt when first getting diagnosed. Even now, dealing mental illness can feel really lonely and isolating. We wanted to have a public conversation about these issues for others to feel less alone and to normalize these experiences.
- Mental illness is what drove me to start my own blog and continue reaching out to other men and women who also suffer from illnesses that are considered taboo, have you seen any progress through your work and podcasts to shed some light on these issues and make them less taboo?
The progress I see often comes in the form of private messages or emails. Reading heartfelt thanks from people I’ve never met in person and might never meet in person is incredible.
- Is there anyone right now who inspires you, or prods you to action?
So many people, to be honest. People like Kimberle Crenshaw, Winona LaDuke, Alicia Garza, Kathleen Hanna. There are so many incredible, badass women out there doing amazing work. They inspire me always.
- If you could change one thing about this world, what would it be?
Overthrow the kyriarchy 🙂