words by: carmen dual
"What would happen if women were to run free; to have the psychological safety to go & reach their furthest strangeness, their furthest potential?" -KG
For the month of November, we hosted our third official speaker (!), Kiran Gandhi aka Madame Gandhi, in our flagship store in Los Angeles. We were so stoked to have her come and speak on sexism and feminism in our modern culture- especially considering our recent presidential election.
Off top, Kiran is extremely well educated - she holds a double major from Georgetown University in Mathematics and Political Science, and a minor in Women's Studies. Upon graduation she landed a job at Interscope Records as the first-ever Digital Analyst which combined her passion for mathematics and music.
In a serendipitous turn of events, Kiran began touring internationally as a drummer with Grammy-nominated artist M.I.A. In that same year, Kiran began Harvard's M.B.A program and she juggled playing international gigs and flying back to Boston in time for class. Can you imagine?! Ultimately, her goal is bridge her education and musical talents to re-imagine a music industry that is healthier for women and girls around the world. In other words, she's a rockstar.
In 2015 she gained a lot of attention at the London Marathon by running on her period with no pad or tampon. This wasn't planned! For her own comfort she chose the day of to bleed free. By doing so she sparked a global conversation about period stigma and also paved the way for her being an activist on improving women's access to affordable and safe menstrual care.
During her visit here at the M.E. headquarters, Kiran discussed how women are socialized to make other people- mostly men, more comfortable at their own expense. This is embedded deep within our culture through marketing, media & daily interactions. Even the expression, "don't be a pussy," implies that vaginas are weak, when in fact they are the most strong, resilient features of the human body.
We talked about how, so many times, women aren't vocal when we feel a way about something. Instead of being encouraged to be forward, direct or blunt we second guess ourselves in fear of rejection by coming off as "bossy," "crazy," or even "bitchy." We fail to stand up to the status quo when stereotypes and sexist rhetoric is perpetuated. What we really should be asking ourselves is how can saying what we truly feel, ever be a negative thing? The easiest way to oppress is to create stigma. This is why we have to reclaim our femininity and instinctual capabilities as our own, and to not be molded by standards that are not from us. There is no need to prove yourself for being what you already are!
At the end of the day, female traits are not celebrated how they should, and in this way, feminism applies to all of us. What makes women so magical is our unquantifiable qualities; intuition, trust, love and nurturing values. It is important to understand that, our qualities should not only be equal and linear in relation to the masculine but also trusted within a "progressive" civilization that relies on data, facts and outdated traditions. We should never be comfortable in boxes, and begin to re-imagine ourselves in the power that makes us uniquely feminine.
It goes without saying that as individuals, we will have silent and sometimes lonely victories, but please understand the importance of reaffirming and supporting one another. Unifying- male and female- black, white, purple or green, for this generation and beyond- is more important than ever. We all bear the responsibility of fighting a battle that declares to be celebrated in all of our unique glory- and not just the parts that benefit the white-male dominated society in which we live.