The Scoop on Sexy Feminism
Hear from the woman who’s making feminism SEXY!
Modern feminists aren’t the typical gender-bashing women; they are sexy, confident, and evolving despite how the media may alter people’s perception of them. Numerous authors, including Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, support today’s feminist movement and the growth of equality-driven women. Urbanette sat down with Jennifer to talk about her book Sexy Feminism and how young women can be successful feminists despite what the media projects.
Urbanette Magazine: How did you get the idea for Sexy Feminism?
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong: Well, my co-writer and I started a website called Sirens way back in 2006. Then around 2010, we realized that what we really had was a feminist site, so we changed the name to SexyFeminist.com. From there, we knew we wanted to write a book that brought together our favorite parts of the site — namely, a lot of the same lifestyle elements that women’s magazines covered, but from a feminist perspective. That is, mainly: makeup, sex, relationships, and dieting.
Urbanette: I wish every magazine would adopt that perspective! Tell me a little about how feminism has changed due to today’s culture and society…
Jennifer: What’s so interesting is that I think our goals have changed even in the short time since we wrote the book. We still have tons of work to do, but I’m really encouraged by how many more young women are really embracing the label of Feminist. It might seem frivolous to some to worry about whether Beyonce or Taylor Swift is a feminist, but they have a huge impact on young women.
Part of why we called it “Sexy Feminism” was that there was — and still is, to some extent — this persistent image of feminism as unappealing to young women. The whole ‘femi-nazi’ kind of image really persists, namely because anti-feminists (and the men who are in charge of creating and curating mainstream media, films and advertising) keep pushing it.
We wanted to talk about the ways feminism can truly improve the lives of all women and specifically the lives of women who ‘practice’ feminism every day.
Urbanette: That is a great way to think of feminism, as opposed to something that is very extreme or looked down upon…
Jennifer: Exactly. Obviously a lot of feminist issues are not exactly ‘fun,’ but some of them can be. One of our big goals was to kind-of get young women hooked by making them aware and helping them realize why they should identify with the label, and then get them interested in pursuing the bigger issues as well.
Urbanette: It’s so important to have younger women involved since they will be confronting feminist issues throughout their lives… plus, they can shape the way feminism is perceived, and establish ways of finding success in their lives as well.
Jennifer: We also tend to go through this with every generation of women; each age group has to make it their own because they face different issues. Feminism often doesn’t feel as vital after the initial ’70s wave because they accomplished so much. We’re still fighting a lot of the same battles, like pay equity, but each group has its own issues — now things are so much more about, say, media literacy.