In “real life,” though, I only have a few close friends with whom I can chat about serious feminist issues. And so, I suppose the Internet has made it easier for me to network with likeminded feminists and, in that way, maybe it has created a sort of “second personality.” (Oh, boy. Should I be worried, now?!) It’s given me an outlet to ask questions, confront problems, and engage in a form of activism that isn’t available to me in the “real world,” thereby creating a secondary outlet for a different “identity” to flourish. -Carly Hope Finseth
Carly Hope Finseth and I continued our interview. Enjoy!
A Blog Without a Bicycle: I think that your statement that each individual defines feminism in a unique and personal way is right on. You gave examples of how women might come to define feminism for themselves, but I’m wondering what you think about the role of men in the feminist movement. Do you think that men can be feminists? What role do you think they should play within the feminist movement?
Carly Hope Finseth: Wow – another great question! Yes, I absolutely think – no, I know – that men can be feminists. Hey, I’m married to one. ☺ But really… men can be some of the biggest supporters of and influences for the feminist movement – and they’re becoming more and more vocal about it, even in mainstream society. Take former NFL star Don McPherson, for example. He’s been speaking up at lectures around the country about his position on gender stereotypes and expectations. One of my favorite quotes from him is: “We don’t raise boys to be men. We raise boys not to be women or gay men… I think we do men a disservice if we tell them you are less of a man if you care about gender issues.” For me, that viewpoint is dead-on – and it needs to be said more. I mean, what an impact a “man’s man” has on the rest of society when he comes out and talks about identifying as a feminist!
Just like women, men create their own definition of feminism based on their own personal experiences. Some men, of course, (just like some women) don’t buy into the idea of feminism – and others don’t even recognize it is a valid societal issue. Yet in my experience, there are many men who see the world through the eyes of their sisters and mothers, wives and daughters, and who want to make a difference. I’m not one of those feminists who think that men are the problem or “the enemy.” (In fact, I think that we as women are oftentimes our own worst enemies, but that’s another story for another time.) Ultimately, I think that men are often overlooked in the feminist movement – and that’s too bad, as they can be some of the cause’s strongest allies. Because, think about it: Without the support of both genders – of everyone – how can we possibly achieve even a semblance of equality?
A Blog Without a Bicycle: In discussing online activism, you mentioned that your “online identity.” What exactly do you mean by this? Do you conceptualize your online identity as being different than or separate from you offline identity?
Carly Hope Finseth: Hmm… Let’s see. Honestly, I’m not sure why I used that term. I suppose what I meant by referring to an “online identity” is that there are certain aspects (a lot of aspects, really) of my online activities that I view as business oriented – especially those things I do for Empowerment4Women – and sometimes it’s hard to separate the two (business from personal). This isn’t to say that I’m a different person online than I am in person – although, like a lot of people (writers, especially) I probably go a bit above and beyond in terms of my personality online than I do in person. In “real life” I’m actually a bit of an introvert. I like staying in and enjoy my alone time. I enjoy reading, writing, editing, and, well, thinking about things… Online, however, I’ve found that I have a bit more freedom in terms of the relationships I create and build upon – such as what happens within the blogging community. I can go online and “chat” about my day, my feelings, my thoughts, with the world – or, with whoever is listening. I can easily get online, delve into one of my favorite blogs, and join a discussion on a feminist topic that is important and relevant to me – and it doesn’t take much time to do so. I know online that there are places where I can get information – and share information – and I can do it almost instantaneously, and then just as quickly receive responses from a smattering of different people with a thousand different viewpoints. In “real life,” though, I only have a few close friends with whom I can chat about serious feminist issues. And so, I suppose the Internet has made it easier for me to network with likeminded feminists and, in that way, maybe it has created a sort of “second personality.” (Oh, boy. Should I be worried, now?!) It’s given me an outlet to ask questions, confront problems, and engage in a form of activism that isn’t available to me in the “real world,” thereby creating a secondary outlet for a different “identity” to flourish.
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