Occupation: Student and amateur vlogger
Current Location: North Texas
Birth Location: England
How do you define feminism?
Feminism, to me, is a very broad term for people striving for social, political, and financial equality across all of humanity with a particular focus on how gender effects this. Because the movement has been around so long and has so many different perspectives, identifying as part of the third wave of feminism is important to me. I guess I might even call Sarah Palin a feminist...but I'd definitely have to call her a first wave feminist.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
Probably when I was about 18. I think I saw The Vagina Monologues when I was 17, and I started to become comfortable with the word. Then in college I joined UNT's Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and my life changed forever!
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
When I was younger, I saw feminism as a party I wasn't invited to. Feminist friends I had at the time made me feel a little alienated, which, in hindsight, I think was a result of none of us knowing where men's roles fit into feminist activism. I later realized that the problems I'd had with my gender identity and sexuality all my life was from a distinct lack of feminism in my everyday. I rectified things accordingly.
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
No, it doesn't seem to bother people, because, I think, it tends to surprise them and throw them off. I don't fit their ideas of what a feminist is (female, lesbian, man-hating, anti-porn, angry), and I think that helps people keep an open mind when I talk about it.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I think technology is changing very quickly at this point in our history, and has the potential to eventually balance out the gender playing field completely. In the grand scheme of human history, only now are physical gender boundaries starting to break down seriously (i.e. reproduction, choice, gender transitioning, etc.), and I'm excited to see where that leads us. Of course, feminist activists will still be needed to guide our use of that technology. All activists have to pay lots of attention right now and make sure we discuss all the new questions as they come. There's no black and white answer to anything, and that's why the dialogue needs to be maintained, especially as things change.
Ritchard is best known on the web for his youtube vlog, as well as a variety of other artistic expressions which can be seen on his website, ritchardaludlow.com.
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