BONUS E18: A Compilation of Storytellers

Section: Podcast introduction

Overdub: Hello, welcome to The Story of Woman, the podcast exploring what a man-made world looks like when we see it through her eyes. Woman's perspective is missing from our understanding of the world. This podcast is on a mission to change that. I’m your host, Anna Stoecklein Lau and each episode I'll be speaking with an author about the implications of her absence - how we got here, what still needs to be changed, and how telling her story will improve everyone's next chapter.

Section: Episode level introduction

Anna: Hello, and welcome back. Thank you so much for being here. We've got a special episode for you today. This isn't an interview conversation, but instead it's a compilation of answers to a couple of the recurring questions that I ask at the end of most interviews. What does feminism mean to you? And what is the story of woman to you?

I love asking these questions and hearing different opinions and perspectives on them because we know that the word feminism means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some seeing it as equality, others as the thing that is going to be the destruction of the nuclear family, and in turn the world, you know, the type.

And that is why I love asking this question. This word still carries so much baggage, but language is vital for change and I'm sick of feminism getting a bad rap. Even if it's getting better, we aren't there yet. So what I would really love, in addition to this episode and just putting all of these wonderful voices and answers together, is to hear from you all, what does feminism mean to you? What is the story of woman to you? Woman being the collective group of female identifying people both past and present. So if you feel so inclined, send me your answers on social media or through the website. Or even better, send me a voice note with what you think, because if I get enough of those, I could compile them together to create another episode similar to this one, but with all of your voices. I wanna hear how people, women, men, non-binary people, everyone from around the world answer these questions. And I wanna add all of those answers into the narrative so that we can keep shifting the perception of feminism and of women. I would also love to hear from you about what authors books and topics you would like to hear next.

I know my episode releases have been coming out a bit slower over the summer, but I've got a lot more coming your way, this fall and winter. So to give you a little sneak peek, I will be speaking with authors who have written about gender inequality in the workplace, about trauma and how our bodies store it, about gendered emotions, you know, those pesky things that control women, but have no impact whatsoever on men. I'll also be speaking to an author who wrote about how moms make the best advocates along with some practical tips for getting started as one. And I'll also be talking to an author about her book on sex, and yet another pervasive gap between women and men: the pleasure gap.

So a lot of great conversations ahead, but please do reach out. Let me know what books are you reading? What authors would you like to hear from? What topics do you think that I should cover? I'd love to hear it. And as always, if you like what you hear and you wanna help, which as a one woman operation with a full-time job, I would greatly appreciate. There are a few things that you can do. The story of woman is now on Patreon, which will give you access to bonus content as well as ad free episodes. And all of that goes toward production costs. Or simply share it with a friend. Recommendations are always the best way of spreading the word about podcasts, so I really couldn't do it without.

But that's enough for now. Please do get in touch. If you have feedback or ideas or want to collaborate, you know, the idea for this episode actually came through from a listener. So shout out to Vanessa for this idea. I love hearing from you all. So please don't be shy. But for now, enjoy these marvellous sound bites from some of woman's greatest storytellers.

Section: Episode

[00:00:00] Anna: What does feminism mean to you?

[00:00:02] Mary Ann Sieghart: Just everybody being treated equally. I don't want women to get a leg up above men. I don't want female domination. I just want us all to be treated equally as individuals.

[00:00:12] Farida D.: Feminism, isn't just equality or equity, but also healing.

[00:00:16] Gina Rippon: Feminism is about, I think it's about equality and equity. The term obviously has got it tied just to issues for women. But I think overall, feminism is a particular branch of a very much needed fight for equality of opportunity and equity of outcome.

[00:00:37] Virginia Mendez: Feminism is real equality of opportunity and space for everyone to be their best selves in whatever aspect. So big shout out of intersectional feminist. If it's not intersectional we're doing it wrong. So just create a system and a society where everybody is celebrated and invited to be their true best self.

[00:01:01] Asha Dahya: Equality, all equality.

[00:01:03] Elinor Cleghorn: Feminism means to me, respect and dignity and justice for all people. And, you know, feminism, isn't something that, of course, benefits only women. Feminism is a way of respecting the diversity of identity and personhood and humanity that, to me, should begin from a position of care and inclusion of raising up individual and collective voices. and prioritizing people who've been historically marginalized and, proceeding with a strength and a conscious sense that being silenced is part of this sort of patriarchal social order. So that's what I feel. I feel like it's a joining together. It's a collective, collaborative voicing of humanness.

[00:02:00] Leslie Kern: Well, I'm going to borrow a bit from Bell Hooks and say that that, to me, it means a ongoing intersectional movement toward the end of gender and other hierarchies.

[00:02:13] Anna: Feminism is equality. It's about creating a world where everyone is free to be who they want to be, whatever identity they choose, however many identities they wanna choose and all of those arbitrary rules and hierarchies that come with gender and race and all of our other made up classifications are gone. And a full diversity of humanity is seen not just as natural, but as beautiful. And no one's trying to change that and to make us all the same as one another.

[00:02:49] Krystale Littlejohn: I love this question. So for me, feminism is about locating gender inequality at the intersection of other axes of power and oppression. So I know that that's kind of a lot, right, but it's about to ensure that everybody has the right to live freely. And recognizing that when we thinking about intersectionality, right, being black, queer woman is going to lead to having a specific set of experiences and a specific set of needs. in order to make sure that feminism itself is meeting its promise, right. We have to make sure that we're always thinking in terms of how gender intersects with these other axes of inequality.

[00:03:29] Lucy Leonelli: To me, feminism is equality. It's the default. It blows my mind as anything other than feminism. It's just the way that the world should be.

[00:03:42] Koa Beck: I interpret feminism as being a response to being a marginalized gender. So that can really cut across all kinds of things. And I think it's worth mentioning that that can cut across things that I don't believe in, including white feminism.

[00:04:02] Anna: Yeah.

[00:04:02] Katrina Majkut: Feminism has been this amazing gift that has helped me understand the world in which I live, because growing up, I didn't necessarily understand all the unfair things that were happening to me and I didn't know how to navigate them. And when I started researching and diving into feminism and using it in my professional life, I finally gained those tools and understanding about what was happening around me and how to manage them.

I think before I had all that, my responses to a lot of unfairnesses would be very emotional because I just didn't know how to manage them. And feminism has been that guiding light to me that has really made a difference, in how I get people to treat me well and how I set my own boundaries and how I defend myself, how I find strength in myself.

[00:04:55] Katrine Marçal: I think it's the radical notion that you know, woman are are, are humans.

[00:05:02] Anna: What is the story of woman to you?

[00:05:04] Paula Stone Williams: The story of woman is a story of creation.

[00:05:07] Katrine Marçal: I think the story of woman is the great untold thing that will save us. I do think that almost all the things that we have categorized for different reasons as feminine and therefore excluded from things like, for example, economics, bringing them back in, bringing that story back in, is where the solution to almost all of our problems will come from.

[00:05:30] Virginia Mendez: The story of woman is reclaiming the vision of the world that belongs to us in a different way. Like, it's just telling our side of the story and the feelings and reclaiming a world that made us a side character and see how we can say it from our point of view.

[00:05:52] Elinor Cleghorn: The story of women is the story of who has been exempted from dominant narratives. Absolutely it is. the story of women is an extraordinary story that sits beneath what we're all told is history with a capital "H" right? So I've presented in Unwell Women, this really, this history of how male physicians across the centuries have pathologized women's bodies and minds. But Underneath that, women will always caring for bodies for theirs, for the bodies of other people. They were always learning. They were always processing information. But it's that stuff that hasn't ever been sanctioned as knowledge. So to me, the story of women are those untold stories, those hidden stories, the things that have not been in the past considered proper knowledge. Everything that sits underneath these dominant practices. And it's wonderful. And there's so much there to be told and discovered.

[00:06:51] Lucy Leonelli: To me, The Story of Woman is a story of overcoming. For me throughout my life, there are things I've had to overcome, physically and mentally and for every time I have had to overcome it's made me, you know, more beaten up, but a little wiser, a little braver, a little stronger. And I hope that that's also the story of women is we'll continue to evolve and overcome. And this kind of ideal end state for me is obviously equality, perfect equality, and, for us to be wiser and stronger and braver as a result of having to get there.

[00:07:27] Anna: The story of woman to me, is an incredible story of resilience and achievement. You know, I think women have not only contended with having to overcome, but they have thrived in this world that has relentlessly oppressed and silenced them. Women have not just adapted to those realities and gotten by, but against all odds, they have made monumental contributions to the world while at the same time, closing the gap between themselves and their oppressors. So I see the story of woman as a source of endless inspiration and really a playbook for how we can continue to evolve from here.

[00:08:13] Krystale Littlejohn: The story of woman to me really a tale of gender expansiveness, right? Where we reflect on multiple experiences and positionalities in relation to the identity and we make space, right. We make space for the history, for the feelings, the different kinds of feelings that people might have about the word and the identity. And most importantly, that we also think about the evolving possibilities, right? For a woman, in the future. What does that look like? What does it mean? How can we work together to create a more just future? So it's about history. It's about the present and it's about the future all really centering an emphasis on the multiple experiences of womanhood and that the identity of being a woman.

[00:09:03] Mary Ann Sieghart: Ooh, multifarious. I mean, we're just all really different aren't we? And I don't think we should be lumped together the way we so often are.

[00:09:13] Koa Beck: I think the story of woman is not just relegated or mandated to the term woman. I think that the story of woman is actually a story of marginalized genders broadly. And I think there have been many and continue to be many who are one unfairly, really shoe horned into two genders. So that's one, t ier, And then on top of that are made to really follow these scripts and mandates, that are meant to control them and to suppress them. So that would be the story for me.

[00:09:54] Gina Rippon: Story of a group of people who've been ignored, treated as invisible, interruptable uh, incompetent. The four I's, if you like. Um, for no good reason. Yeah. A group of people who've been unfairly treated.

[00:10:10] Katrina Majkut: I hope the story of woman is more triumph and tragedy. I think at this moment, we're still going through a lot of tribulations. So maybe you can't have the triumph without the tragedy. That's the sad part of the story. Because I still think we're working on a lot. We have a long way to go, but I'm hopeful.

[00:10:31] Leslie Kern: I would say it's a story of struggle and perseverance, but also kind of collective wisdom and care.

[00:10:39] Farida D.: The things we are afraid to feel, to speak, our story is in the silence I think. Every silence has a story.

[00:10:48] Asha Dahya: I think the story of woman is still unfolding. I think it's not a singular journey and we are all on it together. And each of us has the power to write parts of that journey.

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