Rebecca Walker
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REBECCA WALKER: FEMINIST-ACTIVIST
© GirlsCanDo.com, 2000


     
 

About Rebecca Walker

Rebecca Walker is the editor of an anthology of writings by young feminists called to be real. (Anchor Books). She started the Third Wave Foundation which awards grants to individuals , projects and organizations for initiatives supporting women and girls.

The Interview

GCD: Was there a particular experience that "made" you be a feminist/activist?

RW: When I was in the tenth grade I was walking home from school one day and I saw a man beating up a woman on the street. It was such a turning point for me. I wrote an article about it that was put in my school paper. At the time, I was going to a mostly white private school, and I felt pretty isolated. But after writing that a lot of people came up to me and said how moving it was, and how they had seen similar things. I began to understand how speaking out about an experience can create a kind of community around an issue, and create relationships that might not otherwise exist. From that, I went on to found the Minority Advisory Council at my school and later became school president. But it was that first incident that made me feel like there really is power in talking about problems and in working with other people around issues. That was the beginning of me being an activist.

GCD: What are some of the skills that make you a good leader?

RW: I think about trying to have integrity.

GCD: What about young women who say they are not feminists?

RW: What I have seen in many young women and men is that they believe intuitively in the principles of feminism, but there is a resistance to the label. In the book to be real, I wanted to explore what that resistance was about - to give people the room to define feminism in a way that would make them feel more comfortable with it. But I would say that instead of knee-jerk resisting the feminist label, try to engage and articulate why you have that resistance. Then do the hard work of adding your voice to this thing called feminism, instead of retreating from it. It's one of the most important social movements of our time.

GCD: Do you have any advice for young women about "being a feminist"?

RW: Cultivate your awareness, keep trying to learn more and trust your instincts. If you instinctively feel like something is wrong or unjust, you're probably right. Just talking about those things with friends is a good first step. After that, there are many different ways that you can respond. You can write about it. You can talk to teachers about it. You can form an informal reading group to explore the issues. You can form a protest group to raise awareness about the issues. You have to find the way that feels comfortable to you.

 

 

Rebecca Walker - All Rights Reserved 2007. http://www.rebeccawalker.com - Rebecca @ MySpace