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Meet the Hivemind

Liberate Zealot - (Ms. Zealot if you're nasty) I'm a Big City, East Coast gal from the United States.  Also a raging liberal, queer, ex-Catholic who was raised by a liberal ex-Mennonite (Dad) and an agnostic-Catholic (Mom).  I have two brothers, a Future Catholic Priest and a Privileged Hipster Dude, and I'm rather unsure how we're all related.  I became a feminist at the tender age of 7 when I learned that complaining about stereotypes and "women's work" could get me out of chores, and again at 13 when I had the unpleasant realization that not everyone was pro-choice.  I work in education and practice, what I call, Buffet Feminism.  
           This means I follow and practice various types of feminism. I'm a radical feminist in that I believe sexist inequality springs from the Patriarchy and gender roles, stereotypes, and unequal power dynamics.  However, I don't believe Patriarchy is the cause of all inequality. Government sponsored Capitalism (or maybe Capitalism sponsored Government) has caused plenty of inequality too, and so I am also a socialist feminist.  I recognize the importance of legal battles and achievements and so I am a liberal feminist.  I practice intersectionality since I believe women who are trans, queer, poor, disabled, and of color experience sexism and feminism differently than middle-class, straight, white women, and those differences need to be taken into account if we really want to stand with and for all women. 

Sweet Jane St. ClairI was the kid who ended up in the principal’s office from time to time.  Not for throwing food at lunch hour or talking back to teachers.  No, I was the kid who ended up in the principal’s office for punching the face of the bastard who made fun of my friend Cody, who had cerebral palsy.  They never quite knew how to punish me for something like that, so my parents made me spend a long time practicing “my words” and what I should say to people who made fun of Cody even though I wanted to hit them.  Violence is never ok.  Even if I thought it was for Cody’s sake.
            I grew up in a small town in southern Saskatchewan, which I like to call the Texas of Canada.  My father was a police officer and for a long time my mother was a homemaker until I, the youngest of four, made it to middle school.  Then my mom got bored and started her job as a teaching assistant for high schoolers with Learning Disabilities.  I think my mother never really punished me for punching people because she could see the effects of segregated education in her children’s schools.  Kids learn from adults to be hateful.
            I think it comes across pretty clearly that I come from a place of privilege.  While Saskatchewan is a place that is difficult for a girl from a Baptist family to grow into a Queer woman, my skin is far fairer than my Grandfather’s and I’ve always benefited from the privilege of growing up in a nuclear, Christian family in a nuclear Christian world without being Disabled by an ableist society.  I benefit from education and relative wealth.  I benefit from appearing to fit into a normalized role of femininity and white privilege, you know, even though I fuck women.  All of the benefits I grew up with made it very difficult to see beyond the Baptist veil.  I grew up pro-life (anti-choice), homophobic, and racist.  Not homophobic in the way that my parents and I picketed military funerals and not racist in the way that we burned crosses on people’s lawn.  Prejudice need not be so explicit.  It takes years of effort and understanding to decolonize your mind, and that is still a journey I am on.
          I bring up all of these topics – ableism, homophobia, and racism among others – because I don’t think feminism can exist without these intersectionalities.  White woman’s feminism is not the same as the feminism experienced by Disabled women, and we cannot pretend that it is.  The same goes for racial, socioeconomic, immigrant, and religious status and identities.  I am a feminist because I grew up in an antifeminist household; not one that explicitly hated women, but one that assumed that if I didn’t want to grow up, marry a man, submit to him, and have his babies that there was something seriously wrong with me.  Wrong enough to paint crosses on my bedroom and closet doors in holy oil and to try to send me to “pray the gay away” counseling.  I don’t hate my parents.  I just disagree with them, and I always will.  I think that if my parents can teach me at a young age that ableism is wrong, it’s hypocritical to teach me that feminism is wrong.  My posts on this blog will often deal with feminism from a perspective of intersectionality.  My name is Sweet Jane St. Claire, and I am still learning. 

Dainty Chainsaw - I'm a radically intersectional feminist who is emphatically pro-choice. If you don't want an abortion, don't have one; but don't attempt to restrict my reproductive choice. The system in place is failing us – and change is definitely needed. Do I have the answers as to how to accomplish that? No, but I have ideas; if you do, too, let's chat. I believe whole-heartedly in intersectionality: the voices of ALL women need to be heard. My feminism informs my environmentalism, my social justice ideals and my belief that poverty prevention is not only possible, it's necessary. Inclusion and Solidarity are awesome. I'm also sex-positive and believe in (ACTUAL) sex education to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as STIs and address abuse within relationships. Monitor your media; the encouragement and enforcement of traditional gender roles is rampant. Both men and women are awesome; both men and women can occasionally suck beyond the telling. I think Joss Whedon is a genius. Tattoos rock – but has anyone ever asked your permission (i.e., your tattooist, your doctor, etc.) before touching your body? Consent is an interesting issue, for women: our bodies are assumed to be publicly available. Had you noticed? I have a spiritual bent, but I'm adamantly opposed to organized religion. I volunteer on a feminist radio show, am a psychology student and still have yet to figure out how to do without sleep. TL;DR: I'm sassy, opinionated, believe in accountability and responsibility and long for the day when genuine equality (for everyone) is achieved.  

"Well-behaved women rarely make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich 

Damsel in de Tech - I'm a lot of things. Intelligent. Cisgendered. Caucasian. Tattooed. Blonde (maybe not today, but genetically). Thin. Strong. Feminist. Cheesy-movie-lover. Bruce Campbell fanatic. Easily amused. Desktop and Network Support Technician. Diplomatic. Lesbian in practice and bisexual in theory. Partner. Fur-baby momma. Funny. Kind. Compassionate. Vegetarian. Slutwalker. Proud. Stubborn. Sister. Aunt. Daughter. Cousin. Ex-wife. Avid reader. Amazing Cook. Loyal. Middle class. Animal-lover. Nerd. In the second-decade of my 20's. Political. Lactose intolerant.
             These things happen all at once. I'm not one without the others. I can't turn off my gender while at work. I can't turn off my feminism while watching movies. I can't turn off my compassion or politics when grocery shopping. I can't turn off my sexual orientation visiting with family. I can't turn off my white privilege when posting opinions online.
              When I talk about one of these things, the others don't go away. They're always there, even when not addressed directly, so why not incorporate all of them into my posts? That's a rhetorical question. I've already made up my mind. (see: stubborn).

Malanka Sveta Some of you may have noticed my absence.  I had to leave domestic abuse, and this past year and a half has been one of great upheaval and change.  My lovely child is growing and learning every day, and is fascinated by all things fart, poop, or bum related.  I love that about her. I love the way she is so completely unselfconscious about herself and her body.  I aspire to that level of self love and self care.  It is a work in progress, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  May we all achieve self love and care, and learn to truly love and show care for each other.  You have my love.

g33k and destroyI’m a recent University graduate who is trying to figure out my place in the word.  I’m very much enamored with comic books, illustration, video games, D&D, biking, fencing, JRPGs, sewing, crafts, embroidery, leather-work, cooking, guitar, graffiti, activism and many other pursuits.
            There was never a time or place when I decided I was a feminist. It was something that was very natural to me. The first feminist text I ever read was Naomi Wolf’s ‘The Beauty Myth’ which a high school teacher suggested to me. I also remember becoming much more passionate about feminism and human rights in general after taking a high school law studies class. I think it makes a lot of sense that I’m a feminist when I look back at my childhood obsessions; Sailor Moon, Reboot, Chrono Trigger, X-Men, Princess Mononoke, Wonder Woman, Hackers and various other obsessions of mine weren’t just incredibly awesome but they also all portrayed strong, smart, capable and beautiful human beings who happened to be female.
            I identify as a radical feminist in the fact that I view many societal inequalities stemming from patriarchy and gender roles placed on women and men alike. I am pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ rights and sex positive. I am also somewhat famous amongst my friends for having a very bad temper and being unbearably stubborn.

Suk Maklitt - First impressions? Well, I rarely make a favourable first impression - this is the curse of shyness and social anxiety. Aloof. Reserved. Curt. Arrogant. These are all words that people often first associate with me (many have no qualms about informing me and many have substituted one of those ‘r’s for an ‘n’). I’ve never made friends easily.
         So, the real me? As I’m writing under a pseudonym, this could be tricky so I’ll keep it succinct and trivial:  I’m a pessimistic daydreamer; I love ghost stories; British; a constant fidget; I will try to read anywhere – cars, whilst having a bath, walking down the street, even in the dark; when I was younger, I wanted to be a detective and taxidermist (currently, I want to be neither although it could've been fun trying to combine those two careers); I drink at least seven cups of tea a day; I love sketching; I enjoy making lists…; I’m a liar, and I have a terrible sense of humour.
         Less than a year ago, I imagined feminism was an aspect of me that would never need to intersect all the other spheres of my life.  Got that wrong. It’s thanks to my fellow armchair feminists that I’ve embraced my inner activist and, truthfully, I’ve never felt more accepted. Now, I hope this blog can become a place where like-minded individuals can find each other; it makes all the difference to know you aren’t alone.
 Hurrah for friends. /sentiment
                                   In the immortal words of Public Enemy, fight the power. 

Insidious Beast - Short version: angry, young and middle class.

Long version: angry, young, middle class, Dutch/white with a bit of Indonesian sprinkled in, cisgender and heterosexual but very interested in queer and trans issues, blunt and tenacious as all hell, a traveler by heart, kinky, fond of small fat animals, pierced, tattooed and scarred, kind of a foodie, non-monogamous, passionate about books, a cultural anthropologist in background and calling but sadly not in a way that pays the bills yet. Expect bloggings about, among other subjects, daily interactions between men and women, gender in popular media, anthropological musings, travelling, body modification, and the occasional delicious recipe, funny video or snarkfest. You gotta poke fun at the world once in a while/every single day, sometimes the only way I can keep going is by being a snarky asshole. It's even better when you have friends and allies to be a snarky asshole with, so I envision this blog to be a place for people to learn, laugh, rage and discuss together. Onwards to a better, intersectional, inclusive feminism!

Mistress MalcontentAs someone who has been a student of psychology and photography – there is never a time where I’m not intrigued, morbidly curious or amazed by the world and human beings. Feminism has been a part of my life since an incredibly young age – not that I would have ever known the word for it was feminism! I have a vivid memory of being seven, and my great aunt who is a very upper middle-class woman telling me how awful it was that I was “so unladylike!” because I was a tom-boy. As I grew and my tastes developed I found myself drawn to alternative clothing, the arts and generally being more ‘feminine’... which would have kept my great aunt happy enough – only now a different group of people were labeling me. I noticed people around me (friends and school teachers) didn’t seem to have faith in my intelligence anymore because I was deemed as so ‘girly’ and written off. I have always battled against this notion that women are one-dimensional and so in some ways always been an activist. Just over a year ago I found myself involved in real activism and in real feminist debates though – and realised it was where I had always belonged.

Things I love to discuss and always better my understanding on include sex positive approaches, sex education, education in general, mental health, pro-choice, LGBTQ issues, and intersectionality.

Darling Buzzkill - I'm a high-functioning Cinefile born to artists-turned-average parents and raised in a suburb of Chicago.  Population 30,000 - 98% White.  By junior high, I recognized that the lack of diversity was not normal or healthy.  This, coupled with my parents' dusty art projects and unrealized dreams, my discontent grew to a breaking point when I turned twenty and left Little Brother and Little Sister to deal with Mom and Dad's crumbling marriage for the palm trees and adventure of California.

It took me some time to realize that we did not grow up poor.  Despite being on the low-end of the income scale in our town, I was fortunate to have a stay-at-home mom throughout my childhood.  In fact, I quite despised the "rich kids" I grew up with, most with two working parents, but I suppose recognizing your own privilege is something that can only happen when you have seen the rest of the world, or at least somewhere else that isn't a cookie-cutter community that keeps anyone who does not fit the mold out.

While there were defining moments in my adolescence that had prepared me for the awakening that feminism offered, it was in California where I truly began to identify as a feminist.  As a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence and overall suckiness at the hands of men, I tend to gravitate toward radical feminism with strong opinions of Patriarchy and am probably on some sort of Government list for having ordered so many copies of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto (which speaks to me as wonderfully satirical, and in vein, powerful) in my lifetime. (Need one?)  That said, I also walk the liberal feminist line and ultimately believe in equality for all.

After 14 years, I am still living in California and working as a documentary filmmaker.  I recognize that the most important thing anyone can do is share their stories, experiences and awakenings with others and the strength that it takes to do this is immeasurable.  I find tremendous power in anyone willing to continue on the journey that leads toward a better place for women (which will be a better place for everyone) and hope to provide that power to others who have their own stories to tell.

Violet ParadoxI grew up in a hot and dusty country town in the north-west of Western Australia.  I had three brothers, two of them with whom I used to tram around our little neighbourhood on our bikes, riding through the spinifex on little dirt paths that had been ground into the earth from many bikes before us, down the empty cyclone ditches and up the other side (that was such good fun!)  I would kick footy's, and soccer balls with them and we would play endless rounds of french cricket in the backyard.  So it was a surprise to me one day,  at about nine years of age, when a group of my girl friends and myself decided we wanted to go out on the school oval to play a game of soccer with the boys (who were all for it), that our paths were blocked by the teachers on duty. They made us go back to the netball courts to play with no reason other than, 'girls were not allowed to play on the oval with the boys'.  We were pretty outraged.  One of my friends, (who rode motorbikes in the local motor-cross in her spare time) had even suited up with spiked boots and football shorts for the occasion.  But we were nine year old girls and no one was going to listen to us.  That was kind of the beginning of my realisation that there were situations where I was going to be treated differently and things I was going to be discouraged or  banned outright from doing simply because I was female.  I remember that day, complaining to my friends that those boys were no different to my brothers and I wasn't scared of them!

Over the years I have been bullied and harassed in the workplace, subjected to sexist, gendered questions at job interviews, have been touched inappropriately and treated badly by medical practitioners, slut-shamed  many times and have been gaslighted and mansplained so much I would regularly explode with angry frustration and then be told I was over emotional and hysterical!!  The sad thing is, many of these situations were things that I hadn't really thought of as out of the ordinary.  I know they made me feel bad at the time, but somehow I felt that it was my fault, that there was something wrong with me.  Since meeting up with the Hivemind, I have started to see and understand things about myself and my experiences that I have never realised before.  I am not crazy, over emotional or hysterical.  But I am angry.  Angry that for so many years of my life, I have doubted myself, my feelings and my opinions.   Well, not any more.

EudaimonatrixDespite what Aristotle thought about girls, I'm a political animal before I'm anything else. My first great love was Kim Campbell - the first female Prime Minister of Canada came to power at the tender age of elementary school for me, and I remember being equal parts stoked and perplexed by her sudden rise, rough ride, and abrupt exit. It wasn't until I got a little older, a little clearer on my own politics, and a little more acquainted with what an old boys' club actually is before I came terms with the idea that I was enamoured with feminism and its gifts as I was with Prime Minister Campbell.
(Note: Prime Minister Campbell and I don't agree on much - but give a kid a break. I still couldn't point out Canada on a map at that point.)

Born and raised in Western Canada, I'm an unwilling-turned-enthusiastic passenger on the good ship feminism(s). I was taught (and believed) that anyone can get anywhere if they work hard. Period. Then came the year my parents got divorced, and the acrimony and invective that got hurled at my mother and her daughters for destroying a perfectly good (if abusive) family, and then I got involved in electoral politics, and discovered that, in many circles, my boobs get as much attention as my words. One day late in university, I woke up and realized that this "feminism" thing had infected everything I do - movies, work, yelling at people at bars, the way I evaluate whether or not a video game is awesome. So now, I'm feminism-positive, and that's just the way it's going to be.
Game on.

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