You Are a Feminist and That’s Okay: A Response to “I’m Not a Feminist and That’s Okay”

On March 14 an essay was published on by Amanda Sankey entitled “I Am Not a Feminist and That’s Okay.” I encourage you to go read it—not only because it will provide you with context for the conversation that I’m about to have but also because Amanda is a bright and talented writer and deserves to have her work seen. As a fellow writer and a Feminist, I work to encourage other women to do the work that they love and get credit for it. So go over there, click that link and give her some page views.

Continue reading “You Are a Feminist and That’s Okay: A Response to “I’m Not a Feminist and That’s Okay””

Page 70: Feminist Friday Feat. Cammie

This is part of a long series of posts which will be known as Feminist Fridays. Because individuality is at the heart of feminism, I’m going to open up this space to a different person each week to share with us a little portion of their unique journey.
Catch up with previous Feminist Friday posts here.

I met Cammie in a bar, maybe 4 or 5 years ago. She was outgoing and quick to offer a handshake and a smile and a conversation. She knew who I was because she had recognized me from Facebook. I did not know who she was but I wanted to know her and be friends with her right away. As with most people that I consider some of my closest friends, I held that friend crush silently for a long, long time and never saw her again. Until a few months ago. And I’ll never let her go, now.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, Cammie!
My name is Cammie. I’m from Hutchinson, KS. I’m married to a great guy name Mike. We have a 1 year old genius named Roosevelt. I work in the mental health field. Being outside is what helps me feel relaxed and happy.

How long have you known that you were a feminist? Did/ do you have any misgivings about adopting that label?

I have always been a feminist. I think my mother would agree that I’ve always been counter-culture, and I was never one to settle for “that’s the way it is.” In grade school, I was an advocate by talking too much in class. In high school, I was an advocate by experimenting with drugs and pop punk, in college I was an advocate by studying social movements and becoming an ally to myself. And also by, yes, finally adopting the label of FEMINIST. I love the term because I love the movement. I believe in the movement. I have no shame about labeling myself a feminist.

So if you’ve always been a feminist–which I think is awesome–is there anything that your mom did to kind of nurture it? I wonder how you just had that natural inclination that, at least in this part of the country, seems really hard to come by.

My mother didn’t know what to do with me I don’t think. My mom was a single mother for the majority of my childhood. Her and my dad’s divorce was tumultuous, and, looking back, that must’ve really formed a lot of my identity and my independent nature. The role that my mother played in my life by nature of being a child of divorce really asked her to show her children what it was like to be independent and just really tough. I also think, though, that my mom was really scared that I was a little too out there. I think she probably did a lot to reign me in. You’d have to ask her I guess. But after all, I think she’s proud of me and who I’ve become. She’s still a little scared of me, though.

Can you think of a situation that really stood out as a defining moment regarding feminism in your life?

The most radically feminist moment of my life so far has been giving birth to my son, Roosevelt. The birth symbolized the physical beginning of the feminist process of parenting. I can talk waaaayyy more about that.


Dude, yes! Talk to me more and more and more about parenting! I love seeing the way you parent. Is there anything that you’re being very intentional about with Roosevelt? And on the other side of the coin, I wonder if there is anything that you’ve noticed in the way you parent that wasn’t necessarily a part of the plan but seems to be doing well for you and your husband?

I am being pretty intentional in being myself. We both want our son to believe in justice and to use his privilege to create more equality. My husband is really involved with the labor union movement; I think it’s really important to him to use that as a teaching tool for our son. It’s his advocacy. For me, my paid work and my volunteer work are both teaching tools. They are conversation builders, and they are opportunities to show our son what it means to be an ally in your own community. I can also say that having a kid really forces us to put our money where our mouths are, so to speak. The way that Mike and I interact really needs to be equitable because Roosevelt is watching. We aren’t always great at it, but we are working on it, and that’s really important.

Hmm… I guess my answer to the second half of your question is that literally nothing about parenting is the way I thought it would be. Everything is a surprise. Everything is shocking. And it’s all great.


What does Feminism look like in your practical, day-to-day life?

Feminism works in my life by being the lens through which I see the world. Some people have religion, some people have politics, I have feminism. It colors the choices I make. It informs my decisions. It answers my parenting questions. It teaches me about what kind of partner I want to be to my husband. I make the wrong decisions a lot, but I know that feminism is the answer to who I am and who I want to be.

I love the way that you said, “I know that feminism is the answer to who I am and who I want to be.” So, who do you want to be?

I just wanna be me, man! But seriously. I don’t know. I wanna be a good person who cares about people and works intentionally on making things better for people. Feminism is my vehicle. And the thing that I love about feminism is that it’s so much more than recognizing sexism. It’s about recognizing the impact of all kinds of privilege. And working intentionally on dismantling that. Unpacking it. Digging out the disgusting ways that imperialist-white supremacist-classist-patriarchy (Bell Hooks; look her up if you are looking for a great introduction to feminist thought) works in our lives.


I love the way that you say it is “so much more than recognizing sexism. It’s about recognizing the impact of all kinds of privilege.” I’ve heard anti-feminists say that Feminism is just an organized group of complainers who don’t want to work hard for things in life. But, to me, Feminism has never ever been about pointing out what I don’t have, but taking notice of the privilege and the voice that I do have and finding a way to use it in a way that betters as many people as possible.

Do you want to tell us a little about how feminism plays a role in your professional life? Yeah, I’d love to talk about that because I’m really lucky in that my feminism is more or less welcomed in my line of work. I currently work for a community mental health center in a program that addresses the connections between mental and physical health for individuals that live with severe and persistent mental illness. That’s a lot of words.
What I tell people in conversation is that my job is to make sure people are as healthy as they can be. The program is a Medicaid service called Health Home. (What’s unfortunate is that this program will be discontinued, effective June 30 of this year. What our society typically fails to realize is that prevention is such an important part of treatment. A mentor of mine in college would always say, “we can’t keep just mopping up the blood,” and that is so true. Anyway. I digress.)

I’m encouraged in the mental health field to work on treating the whole person. We provide client-centered treatment. We provide trauma-informed treatment. We provide culturally-relevant treatment. And if we can’t do those things, we refer them to a place that honors who they are. Having an ethical foundation in feminism is part of what makes me good at my job. It’s not like I go around telling all the people I work with that I’m recommending this or that because it’s just and will create a more equitable, safe world. It silently informs my choices at work.

Cammie was also recently asked to be on the Women’s Studies Career Panel at K-State this Spring! Which is so cool.

The KSU thing is great. I’m excited about it. It’s a presentation provided by the KSU Women’s Studies department for students who are or potentially want to major/minor in Women’s Studies. I majored in it. One of my professors that kind of mentored me throughout college sent me an email asking what I was up to professionally these days. I responded telling her about my work (paid and unpaid work (thanks, WOMST, for being a community that cares about the unpaid work)) and she quickly asked if I’d be interested in sitting on the panel. The point of the whole thing is to give students a look into what kind of future they’ll have with the discipline. Which can be a rich one. Parents worried your children are wasting their education away: take heed.

If you could say one thing about feminism to a large group of people, what would you choose to say?

Feminism is for everyone! Also I’d real quick be like, you are awesome and worthwhile…feminism agrees!



Everyone—thank you for reading!
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts or would like to be interviewed yourself, either include them in the comments section or email me: libby(at)


Page 68: Feminist Friday Feat. Kat

This is part of a long series of posts which will be known as Feminist Fridays. Because individuality is at the heart of feminism, I’m going to open up this space to different people each week to share with us a little portion of their unique journey.

So, I (Libby) moved to this little-ish town in the middle of Kansas nearly seven years ago. I didn’t have any friends in this town. I only knew my brother, my sister-in-law, and my neighbor (now my husband, actually). And for about a year these were all the friends that I had. Which was wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But I had a need for community. And boy did I go to the wellspring for it.

Kat is the first friend that I made on purpose in this town and through her, my life has grown this whole entire garden of friendships and relationships and experiences that I would never know if I hadn’t gathered all of my courage one day and sent her a Facebook message that, essentially, said, “You’rereallyprettyandcoolandsofunnyontheinternet. Do you want to be my friend????” And then for some reason she was like, “You don’t seem terrifying. Yeah ok!” And I’m grateful for her every day.

And you will be, too.


Do you want to tell the people a little about yourself, Kat? Katherine G. Hurl lives in McPherson, Kansas with her two dogs. She is currently in training for her dream job of  ‘Queen of the World’ which she hopes to see come to fruition in her lifetime (even though she would settle for it being awarded posthumously). Beautiful. Thank you for that.

How long have you identified as a feminist? Not very long at all. I feel like I am the tiniest of all baby feminists! I started leaning towards feminism about a year ago and it’s grown even more so in the last 6 months.

Can you think of a situation in your life that really stood out as a defining moment regarding feminism in your life? As far as a “defining moment” goes, there are SO MANY. My journey towards feminism began early last year after a long relationship came to particularly nasty end. My self-esteem was already low but the end of that relationship really broke me down to nothing. I started reading quotes by strong women (especially Amy Poehler because she could make me laugh) and it got me PUMPED UP. I started to realize my worth. I’d never seen it presented in such a way and it really opened my eyes to all the injustices I’d either been subjected to or had subjected my own self to for so long. I had accepted so much of it as “just the way things are” when I should’ve been standing up for myself and other women. The one quote that hit me between the eyes the most was one that said something to the effect of “You’re not being sensitive- he’s just being an asshole.” I think I literally got off my couch and swung my fists in the air. 😛 My whole life I’d been branded “too sensitive” and told just to be quiet and not to make waves. Now I just want to roar all over the place.

What makes you roar? So many topics. I don’t like men telling women what to do. I don’t like members of a religion telling other members of other religions what to do. I don’t like women telling other women what to do, and I CERTAINLY object to law makers trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with my own reproductive system or (more recently) trying to tell me what to wear, even. I object to the idea that if I go to a party in a miniskirt, I’m “asking for it” or have less to offer in a conversation or IQ test. The system is jacked up and we need to stand up and make sure future generations stand this racist and sexist system on its head.

Going back to “I don’t like women telling other women what to do”, I hate that we’re so ingrained to see other women as the enemy. I hate that jealousy is such an overwhelming feeling. We blame the “other woman” or “side chick” when men or our own psyches are setting us up against each other. It’s easier to hate on other women than to blame the men we “love” for being assholes. What’s up with that?
Oh man, you make me want to throw out a round of applause! I wish that translated well to text.

image4 What does Feminism look like in your practical, day-to-day life? Well, since finally getting a grasp on my self worth, I met a wonderful man and he has changed my day-to-day life in so many ways. It sounds cheesy but I truly would not be in this relationship if I had not gone on this journey. He gives me the room to truly be myself and a soft place to land when and if I need it. He never puts me down–which is life changing for me.

I’m still a work in progress. I stand up for myself more (especially at work) and I don’t put myself down nearly as much. I’m still working on my self-deprecating sense of humor- it’s pretty much ingrained into my being at this point.  And I’m learning how to say the word “no”. “NO!!” Can you imagine? Me ever saying no? I find myself not apologizing for my opinions. So MUCH of my life has been me presenting my opinion and tacking “…is that ok?” on the end.  I do not need the validation of others for I find validation in the love and the spirit God has given me. I just sat on it for so long that I didn’t even know it was there.

I love what you had to say here. Particularly the way that you said that your relationship wouldn’t exist without having done so much work on yourself and not the other way around. A lot of times we’re told, “Get in a good relationship and everything will fall into place!” But I’m not hearing you say that’s your story. That is definitely what we are fed. That’s what the movies say, so it must be true!! (nope) That was not my story at all. I knew I was a mess and needed to change before what I really NEEDED could walk into my life. I had to get over my hurt and hating men and my “I can do this on my own” attitude. Yes, I CAN do it on my own but it’s amazing to have someone in my life who WANTS to help me. It’s been a learning experience to LET him help me.


This is Kat and her nephew, Max. They are beautiful twins.

Let’s not skip over “finally getting a grasp on my self-worth” by any means. I know that involved a lot of work–it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. What does self-care look like for you? Self-care involves a lot of slowing down and saying “no” for me. I’m such a people pleaser and I let my perception of myself get wrapped up in my ability to take care of others expectations. If someone was disappointed in me, I would agree with them and hate myself instead of telling them to take charge of their own feelings and expectations. I have to make sure I’m a priority, which is hard for me because I have been so ingrained with “don’t be selfish!” when in reality, self-care and selfishness are two completely different things. Trust me, it’s better for EVERYONE in the long run if I take time for myself. Sometimes I literally just lay on my bed or floor and stare at my ceiling fans and pray for God to remind me of what really matters or to help me prioritize things. Just taking a few minutes to breathe or meditate can do WONDERS for me. I am valuable. I am a child of God. I am not what others think of me. (Look in the mirror and repeat that several times. I dare you to not get pumped up.) Yes! Hold on one sec I just want to say this a little bit louder for the people in the back, “self-care and selfishness are two completely different things“!

If you could say one thing about this topic to a large group of people, what would you choose to say? Feminism is not a dirty word. It’s not offensive and we shouldn’t be scared to label ourselves as feminists. Stop being ignorant and look up the definition of “feminism” in the dictionary. No one should find anything even remotely offensive there. We’re not asking to be raised above men and we’re not asking for men to lower themselves. We’re asking to be treated as equals. Men and women have different strengths, yes, but no strength is better than another. They’re all valuable and WE’RE all valuable.


What’s on your Treat Yourself list? Pizza. Lots of pizza. Pedicures. A nice glass of moscato and a bubble bath. A warm, fuzzy robe. Quiet dogs. Movie theater popcorn. Going to the movies is one of my very favorite things to do. Especially at the Warren when you can push a button and people bring you whatever you want. I am a simple girl of simple wants.


Everyone—thank you for reading!
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts or would like to be interviewed yourself, either include them in the comments section or email me: libby(at)