Guerrilla Feminist Focus: Soraya Chemaly
Welcome to our weekly column, Guerrilla Feminist Focus, where we feature one badass Guerrilla Feminist!
Name: Soraya Chemaly
I’m always writing and usually thinking about ways to bring like-minded activist feminists together.
2. What are you passionate about? Why?
I’m passionate about making the world a fairer, safer place.
— #TooFemale (@schemaly) June 18, 2016
3. What activist efforts are you involved in? What causes do you support?
I advocate for better understandings of the relationships between free speech and violence, between gender and norms – in politics, media, tech, education.
4. What do you like most about doing activist work on social media platforms? Why?
What I like best is the ability to work globally with amazing people. Some of the best and most successful projects I’ve work on have involved people who have never met working in good faith to accomplish their objectives.
Everyone here is using the same public bathrooms and WE ARE ALL OK #StateOfWomen
— #TooFemale (@schemaly) June 14, 2016
5. What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by teenagers who understand – gender and racial stereotypes, tolerance, empathy, compromise, dignity – what most adults seem not to.
6. Since activist burnout is a very real thing, how do you practice self-care?
LOL, good question, one I wish I’d thought of before throwing myself into this work. I compartmentalize my social media time, for starters, because it can be grueling and intense and invasive. I also try to make time to read/watch movie or TV, usually something funny/. It’s hard to be consuming and processing a lot of horribleness and then switch over to consuming it as entertainment. Having said that, however, I’m a complete sucker for hyperviolent action films. Go figure.
Homophobia & fragile masculinity aren't tied to any one religion. Neither's gun violence in America. #Orlando shooting follows old pattern.
— #TooFemale (@schemaly) June 12, 2016
7. Do you have any advice for those wanting to engage in activism (either online or offline)?
First, as you pointed out, make sure you take care of yourself, because compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and post traumatic stress can creep up on people doing this work. Second, pick your battles and be strategic. Not every fight is worth fighting. Third, find your people because having friends who understand what you are doing, and have a sense of humour, is essential.
8. Where can people follow you online?
[Watch Soraya’s TEDx Talk here]