For the series THE POWER OF YOUTH, Italian WAVE Youth Ambassadors Antonella Crichigno (first generation) and Ginevra Candidi (second generation) decided to meet up and discuss what it means to be a feminist and why we need youth activism.
Q: When did you become a feminist and what does it mean to you?
A: When somebody asks me this question, I always like to use a semi-quote from Simone De Beauvior “One is not born but rather becomes a feminist”. Although I recognise the importance of some labels that have been used in the past to obtain civil and human rights, I don’t like them that much. However, the word feminist is the only label I’ve always worn on my sleeves. I really can’t say when I understood I was a feminist, but it was probably during my first or second year of university that I used the F word for the first time. I was with some friends talking about our future and something just clicked in my mind; I wanted to dedicate my life to fight the patriarchy and preserve and implement women’s rights. Since then my ultimate goal has been to smash this system and advocate for women’s rights in the most intersectional and inclusive way. Feminism means equality among people, it means equity, non violence, it means being free of not being afraid of this world we inhabit, it means believing that men are not a lost cause and that “boys wont’ be just boys” for all their lives. We all should be feminist, regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, age or type of oppression experienced and think about Feminism as an act of love.
G: Feminism is a difficult word to use in our society: Sometimes it is wrongly associated with the idea that women are more important than men; sometimes it is seen as a definition suitable only for women. However, to me, feminism simply means believing that every human being should be treated equally. It is important that feminism is intersectional because discrimination is not a single and separate issue but a system that affects everyone in different ways. I would define myself as a feminist in progress. It took me some time to realize how many things were wrong and unjust in our society but now I feel I became more aware of a part of the issue women face everyday. I am getting angrier and angrier but also more motivated to change what I am seeing. I have a lot to learn and to understand: becoming a feminist is a never-ending journey and I am enjoying the ride.
Q: What do you believe to be the role of young people in fighting the injustice(s) we face everyday?
G: I am happy to see that young people are taking a stand to fight sexism and inequalities. I look around and I see a lot of young girls and boys who no longer accept the roles society gave them and who are starting to change the conversation within their groups and outside. I believe we are living in a very fast-paced world where change will happen eventually and we’ll be treated not only as equals but also with the justice and respect we deserve.
A: I very much agree with what Ginevra just said. It is important for me to see that boys, girls and everyone in between, are taking action against this sick system we live in (aka the patriarchy). The role of the youth when fighting injustice and discrimination is to speak up: we need to advocate for certain issues and to educate younger people making them see and understand what we are fighting for but, above it all, why we are doing it. Young people not only are our future, they are our present and will lead the wave of change!
Q: Do you see any generational difference when taking action towards the issue of gender equality (Millenials & Generation Z v. past generations)?
A: When considering the messages delivered I don’t see much difference between what the past generations had to say and what we are fighting for now. It is clear that, as Ginevra said before, we need to see feminism as an evolving but continuous journey; nowadays, new issues have been introduced into the discourse alongside the so-called original ones, making it more intersectional than ever. I believe that the biggest difference we can observe here, concerns the tools used to deliver the message: we are the social networks generation; we create visual contents to address the issue. We communicate in a different but more efficient way; let’s think about the Fridays for Future movement… it all started on the net. Social media and networks are the biggest tool youth activists have right now; we can reach people all over the world, we can advocate and lobby for those issues that the Press industry leaves out of its pages, we can address policy-makers, we can start movements and schedule protests or demonstrations; we can make our voice heard, so let’s speak up!
G: Younger generations are willing to observe sexism, toss it out, reject it and resist it. I feel I am part of something bigger with noble goals and I couldn’t be prouder. Young people will save the world: watch it for yourself.
Authors: 1st and 2nd WAVE Youth Ambassadors from Italy, Antonella Crichigno & Ginevra Candidi