This blog page features answers from CAROLYN RADLO, who has screened with AXWFF. We thank her for taking the time to answer these questions.
As AXWFF has featured many films by women and a few by men, perhaps our concern is “feminism” and we welcome your participation in this conversation.
Q- What does feminism mean to you? what do you think feminism is about? Do you consider yourself a feminist & why?
CAROLYN RADLO: Feminism is a humanist stance that puts the accent on women because in so far as humans are equal, nowhere are women actually treated as such. Feminism rose at a time when the overt inequality was tiresome for European-American women and some individuals began to voice their discontent. It was only a hundred years ago that women in the USA got the right to vote. Despite the changes to our laws (anti-descrimination labor laws, the right to vote) there is still deep-seated attitudes that haven’t changed about the value of women in our society, not to mention in the world beyond Europe and North America.
I am a feminist, and feel strongly that it is a proactive and a positive stance for anyone to take, no matter ones gender. All people who value freedom and justice for all people are feminists.
I am surprised that there are women today who are confused about feminism. Women who have benefitted from the changes in our society and laws brought on by women speaking up. This notion that there is something “unfeminine” about being respected as an equal to men is strange to me. This is a confusion of femininity and equality. Femininity is more about style of gesture and appearance than about rights to power, wealth, self-direction, health and safety, the givens of a good life.
Q- What do you want to see in the world/ society at large? (are “women’s rights” tied to human rights?)
CAROLYN RADLO: There are no human rights that are not women’s rights. In an ideal world all women would feel safe, would be safe. All women would have the right to vote, the right to choose a mate, to choose to have or not have children. All women would have freedom of movement, would have access to education and health care, would be free from harm, familial or otherwise. In an ideal world respect would be offered to children and taught to children no matter their gender or orientation so that they grow into self-respecting and other-respecting adults.
Q- Do you want to mention any issues that are important to you now?
CAROLYN RADLO: Education, education, education.
Education abroad, at home, equal education, better education, more education.
Men need to be educated so they can think clearly, so that when they are faced with sharing power they are not afraid to do so.
Americans need better education. We have a strangely anti-intellectual culture. High School graduates ought to be able to think critically, let alone know their history or maybe speak another language.
Q- What is missing in the conversations now?–how can we talk across differences?
CAROLYN RADLO: Actual poverty and the feeling of there not being enough to go around are both intimately tied to discrimination. And I don’t just mean “we need to get the economy growing.” Consumer-capitalist market economy is due for a down-shift and that makes people scared. But the terrible poverty in much of the world is very hard ground to grow a healthy happy equal culture.
Q- How do you see yourself or your work (both “every day living” and “artistic ventures”)?
CAROLYN RADLO: I feel tired and I experience the weariness of a lot of other people – worn down by what seem to be insurmountable societal ills. The civil war in our congress is tiresome. The stupidity of kowtowing to corporate interests in the face of climate change is so huge it is exhausting to think about. There’s so much money and so little money. I think the art world could get feistier. I would like that. I would like to be feistier myself. A feisty feminist! Given what’s going down in State legislatures regarding women’s right to choose, I have to be.
AUGUST 2013 ***************