Serena Freewomyn is one hell of a strong, kick-ass feminist. She is the founder and editor of FeministsForChoice.com and also happens to be one of my favorite people on the planet who inspires me on a daily basis. Read on for a Q&A with Serena!
Q: You are the founder & editor of the popular feminist blog, FeministsForChoice.com. What was your impetus for founding the site, and has it lived up to your expectations?
SF: I started the site in 2009 because I wanted to do something about my feminist/pro-choice beliefs. My book group had been reading several books about reproductive rights, including Gloria Feldt’s The War on Choice, and Dr. Susan Wicklund’s This Common Secret. After reading those books, I knew I couldn’t just sit on my ass. I became a clinic escort and launched a blog in order to become more active. The website has become a great outlet for me personally – and it has been an awesome way to meet feminist activists from around the world. I love that our writing team has evolved several times and that I’ve connected with some really amazing feminists as a result.
Q: What does choice mean to you, personally?
SF: Choice is about how you view your body. Choice is about making healthcare decisions that are in line with your personal beliefs. This is about much more than abortion and birth control. For example, I was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. I told my doctor that I would not pursue chemotherapy or radiation, and that I only wanted to pursue naturopathic treatment. I am a Wiccan, and this is all part of my belief that the universe created plants and herbs for a reason. I accept everyone else’s right to choose the healthcare decisions that are best for them, but ultimately my body is my choice. I choose not to have children. I choose not to use birth control. I choose not to have brain surgery. And I choose to keep defending my right to make these decisions, even (and especially) if it makes my doctors uncomfortable.
Q: Given social media’s ubiquitous nature, do you think online activism has replaced — or will eventually replace — good ol’ fashioned on-the-ground activism?
SF: I think social media supplements older forms of activism, but I do not think it replaces it. The Walk for Choice is a good example. Arizona’s walks were only organized through online methods. As a result, the turnout was very small. We still need to flyer, we still need to talk to people out in the real world. Twitter and Facebook are great tools, but they don’t replace the need to actually connect with people in real life.
Q: What is the #1 piece of advice you have for other feminist bloggers?
SF: Don’t give up. The comments on blogs have dwindled over the last three years – people are chatting on social media instead. Don’t use the comments section as a measure of your success. And if you need to write – do it. Get it off your chest, regardless of the outcome.
Q: Who are your feminist role models?
SF: Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony . . . I LOVE the suffragists. I also owe a big debt of gratitude to my Women’s Studies professors, particularly Mary Rothschild, Karen Leong, and Michelle McGibbney. They changed my life for the better.