October 17, 2016
How old are you?
And where are you from originally?
The Bronx, New York.
How long have you been in New Orleans?
Since 2008. I came down here for school. I went to Loyola.
Growing up, do you remember being told or taught anything regarding the behavioral expectations for being a female?
I feel like my family has always been supportive and they never really put restrictions on anything. From the outside world, I feel like you had your friends in school or someone in authority telling you things like, “Oh that’s not very ladylike for you to do that,” or “You look like a boy today.” No I don’t. I look comfortable. I saw it with people in authority and the media show you glimpses into that.
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
It’s the way that you approach and talk and behave around women that puts them at a level that is lower than yours just because you have a different reproductive system. It’s looking at and treating women in a way that makes them seem lesser or inferior.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
It doesn’t make me feel good at all. But then I also can see fear and immaturity and a lack of knowledge when men treat women in a way that says we can’t do this or we’re weaker or this isn’t something that we’re capable of. I feel like it’s an insecurity for them. I don’t like it but I also find strength in it. I don’t take offense to it all the time because it shows ignorance to put women in that box and not realize how much we’re actually capable of.
Can you recall any specific occasions that may have stuck with you when you’ve had a sexist experience against you?
I recently assisted with sound engineering at a festival and I felt like I was being treated in a sexist way because I couldn’t possibly know how to do x,y, or z. I was extending myself for help and they blatantly weren’t taking me up on my offer because I’m a woman. “No, it’s cool. We got this.” I have met a female sound engineer down here and she’s awesome. She knows what she’s doing and the fact that she’s been able to get past that whole thing is awesome because my experience made me feel like I didn’t belong. It’s a lot of things but I definitely feel like the way I was treated was because I’m a woman. The thought in their minds of, “Oh, she’s not strong enough,” or “She doesn’t know,” or “No, you can stay over here and do this other work,” or “How about you do this? How about you talk to the artist?” And I’m saying, “No, I’m open to learning and helping. That’s why I’m here. We’re all in this together and I would like to feel like I’m a part of the team.” And unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It was definitely sexist.
Are there any particular stereotypes of women or of men that just drive you insane?
I hate that one that says we are too emotional. “You’re crazy.” And that that is something that women are told throughout their lives by men or other women. You’re crazy, that’s crazy, stop being crazy. Just being you have some feelings or have some sort of emotion. Emotion is something that is normal. When you express yourself, that is used against you in a way and it’s seen as a sign of weakness. For you to cry, for you to be angry about something, even the human behavior of holding onto anger or sadness is normal. Unfortunately for men, they are raised in ways that withhold their emotions because they must be manly and strong. You hold in your emotions because women are the criers, they’re the ones that feel and have all these opinions about things or get angry because of this or that. That’s something that I’ve never liked. Strength is found in all those feelings and emotions and I wish that people saw strength in the way that women feel and express themselves and didn’t look at it like a weakness or as them being crazy. It’s frustrating. It would benefit all parties if we looked at it in a different light and saw the strength in being open with your feelings and emotions.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
There’s a feminist and women empowerment movement that’s happening at the moment. It’s great and it’s awesome and I’m glad people with that platform and a broad audience of different races and ages and nationalities are giving it the attention. You doing this project: you’re really shedding light on things and topics that are usually taboo in the conversation and in the media. It’s a great thing that’s happening.