By: Aakanksha and Annalise
Aakanksha (she/her, @aakankshaaaa) (250) (Co-Founder and Campaign Director)
Growing up in India we never really discussed “feminism” per say. My parents never treated me and my brother differently because of our genders. We were both encouraged to pursue our passions just like our parents did with their careers. It was instilled in us from a young age that it doesn’t matter what a person’s career is, what they look like or which socio-economic group they belong to because every human being is worthy of respect, dignity and deserves equal access to all opportunities.
I believe that if only one section of the population is uplifted at the cost of the other, that’s privilege. This privilege has existed for centuries, and there is no way we will ever achieve gender equality or equity if we continue to nurture that privilege rather than call it out. Feminism is not about men losing power or women wanting to control the world. My feminism is embracing the idea that everyone should have equal rights and opportunities irrespective of their gender, one where everyone is at the same table uplifting each other without putting someone else down. It’s one of the main reasons I co-founded It’s Not A Compliment. We need to start calling out behaviours that have been normalised and become so deeply entrenched such as street harassment to bring us one step closer to achieving gender equality.
Annelise (she/her, @anneliselecordier) (Co-Founder; Head of Communications and Policy)
In a way I’ve always believed in the principles of feminism, even before I could fully grasp what that meant. Growing up, my parents never placed any sort of limitations on what I could do or tried to differentiate between the things that my brother and I could pursue. My mum in particular always instilled in me the importance of financial independence and not letting others’ expectations of me stand in the way of what I wanted to achieve. As a kid, the idea of gender equality seemed like a given – so much so that I never understood why anyone would reject the label of ‘feminist’. It’s one that I’ve always fully embraced and has shaped so
much of my life since then. It became the focus of my academic studies, influenced the work that I’ve done and led to the start of It’s Not A Compliment – our anti-street harassment campaign.
My feminism isn’t one that simply tries to achieve equality with men. Within our current system, aiming to simply ‘break the glass ceiling’ would mean accepting the unjust structures that only allow some to rise while others continue to be left behind. My feminism is an intersectional one that can conceive of a radically different system – one that values and
makes room for different ways of being and actively works to dismantle our current structures of power to pave the way for a truly inclusive, justice-based system.
ABOUT IT’S NOT A COMPLIMENT
We are an independent grass-roots campaign in Melbourne, Australia that seeks to raise awareness around what constitutes harassment towards members from a range of marginalised communities in an attempt to raise awareness and shift attitudes around the acceptability of such behaviour. This is a highly inclusive campaign, with the ultimate goal being to make public spaces feel safer for all members of the community.
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