Kayan wishes all of our supporters a Peaceful and Happy New Year 2012! With the start of a new year we would like to launch a new series for our blog: ♀Portraits. Our aim is to collect feminists’ individual ideas and perceptions of their feminism and introduce them to our followers and readers interested in or curious about feminism. We hope to be able to bring you closer to Kayan’s staff this way and to inspire you with our personal narratives.
Reem Zoabi-Abu Ishak Community Organising Coordinator at Kayan
“I must say I am still trying to explore the concept of feminism. There was never a point when I could say now I am a feminist. I remember that I was greeted by all my friends with ‘aah, here comes the feminist’ and there was something about it (…) I never identified myself as ‘I am a feminist’. I lived a certain way of life and when I came to Kayan it was only then when I started working intensively with women that I also started to think about these things and ‘connect the dots’. So for me, due to this experience, I think it came naturally. It is not something I woke up to one day thinking ‘now I want to be a feminist’. It was more some kind of natural phenomenon. It grew naturally. Today it seems weird because I cannot imagine any woman not to be a feminist unless she is (…) I don’t know (… ) kind of (… ) I don’t know (…) (laughs). Of course it is a process and it is still ongoing. I remember when I had an interview with my organisation and the interviewer said ‘I want you to know that we are considered radical’. We were sitting in a coffee shop and I thought ‘oh my God, am I supposed to burn my bra now?’ And I thought about it for a few days. We finally talked about everything and today I think it is important and crucial for us that if you want this to work and the women to benefit from us we need to be radical. What is radical about it? I think ‘radical’ means not being content with equal rights only. Because it is not about equal rights or opportunities. It is about the whole structure. About how society works as a whole. And radical feminism, as you know, doesn’t want half of the cake for us to be equal. We want the whole cake. We want to see and evaluate all of the elements and maybe create another recipe. A different recipe maybe after an evaluation of each and every component. If you want to have equal rights what you say is ‘this community is working and I want half of it or equal rights within it’. I don’t want that. I want to define the rights because they were defined in patriarchal ways. And that is not radical. It makes a lot of sense. It can’t be any other way.”