Feminist Conversations is a regular series at Feminists for Choice. We spotlight activists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Luci Westphal is a documentary filmmaker whose latest film, “All’s Well and Fair,” can be viewed here.
1. When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
I’m not sure when exactly the word feminist entered in my vocabulary. I was raised in Germany, which I consider a rather progressive country when it comes to gender roles; and my mother has been a great role model as long as I can remember. So I was raised to believe that women are equal to men.
But if I’d have to pinpoint a specific event of becoming frustrated with gender inequality, I’d say it was reading the novel “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, when I was maybe 12. Even though it might seem a trivial semi-historic fantasy novel, it was really eye-opening to me. For the first time I realized that some things are only “The Truth” because those in charge tell you so. It’s when I “lost my religion” because I realized that Christianity wasn’t the original religion in my country – it had come with the invaders from the South, it suddenly appeared man-made. And I realized that most of our legends and histories are told from the perspective of men. Bradley decided to tell the King Arthur myth from the perspective of a woman – and it changed the story drastically. Of course I’m aware that both versions are fictional.
So I think this is when I first became frustrated with the inequality of who was in charge of telling the stories and how they were being told and felt the urge to speak out about women’s perspectives and rights.
2. What does feminism mean to you? [Read more...]