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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Di Sanza

Bleed Geeks: Interview

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Name, pronouns, career/job title?

Erin, uses she/her and they/them pronouns; Contact Manager by day, Bleed Geeks Co-Owner at all other times.

How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) impacted your life thus far?

I was raised by and among feminists, so it was a natural trajectory for me. My rural surroundings were not supportive, but my family always has been. I walked as a child next to my sisters’ stroller in the first March for Women’s Lives, carpooled to D.C. as a college student for the second, and attending the first Women’s March as a mother with my son. Looking back, it’s been a trip.

How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) specifically impacted your career?

Career wise, I’ve found conflict between feminism and what’s expected of professional women, especially in the office context. I think that now, we have less of a glass ceiling and more of a cursed mirror, constraining how we can look and act, promising equal advancement if we can only meet double, if not impossible, standards. The current “right sort of person for the job” is not inclusive. I think we need to break down cultural and gender norms to allow all types of people to thrive at work.

How has the political and social climate of social justice changed throughout your lifetime?

Intersectionality has made a huge difference as its come to the forefront. I think it’s trusted so strongly because it’s truly revolutionary. It calls on prior to respect all identities, challenges, and all walks of life. It’s also not entirely a new concept, but as many things, a new word for an ideal that was present, but hard to express. When I explained the term to the 60-70 year old white feminists who raised me, they were all “YES. That, that is crucial, and should be kept in mind.” The movements are maturing, in my opinion, due to this accountability. Responsibility to each other is so much of what maturity is.

Please describe your political and/ or social activism:

Our most recent big activism effort was our drive to encourage voting this post November, using the pictures we shot the November prior. The photos were taken in front of the capitol building, as the Crystal Gems holding protests signs of character quotes. We wanted to show these epic heroes fighting the everyday flights that we all face. Each election is a fight for ourselves, our freedom, and our planet. We all have to show up.

We also did an awareness campaign and giveaway. We put money into circulating it to get out the vote.

Presenting menstruation as an ungendered process has been of primary importance to us as a brand from the very beginning. It was the very first thing we agreed on. We wanted to make the menstrual supplies about WHO we are and what we care about, not our biology. Gender marketing was something we wanted to get away from as much as the plastic. They're both not part of what we want in our future. We have also added bags, and pocket squares to our offerings, it’s helped us center a goal of not just self acceptance and care, but empowerment. Empowerment to not waste money on disposable plastic, empowerment to be comfortable through our cycles, and empowerment to take control of the waste we produce in our daily lives. Empowering people to feel better about their impact on the planet, and about themselves is why I do this everyday.

Name, pronouns, career/job title?

Hi, i’m Erica, the other half of Bleed Geeks. I’m afab they/the,. I also present mostly female so I am not upset by she/her and I’ll take sire any day. I work in QA at Zenimax, and work on elder scrolls online mostly.

How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) impacted your life thus far?

I’ve been lucky enough to know awesome people who treat people like people, so I’ve become used to being treated like an equal person by my friends, partners, and chosen family.

How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) specifically impacted your career?

Work wise, as a brown single parent with a uterus, I’ve got a seven year old. My current job is the only job I’ve been able to have for over a year since I’ve had my kiddo.

This is the first place where I haven't had to fight the stigma and assumptions that come with being a single, brown, afab parent.

I’ve lost every previous job (five of them) due to missing more than one day of work in a row because my child was sick. It definitely wears on you.

My previous 12 years as a woman in IT means that I’ve dealt with a great deal. I’m at a point now where I am out of fucks and I advocate for others and myself on a constant regular basis. If there is a story but not a voice from another perspective I ask why, and I usually don’t accept the first - or third for that matter - answer. I intentionally start conversations and bring up issues that aren't seen from places of privilege and sometimes I get results, which is brilliant.

I am fortunate to work at a place, now, that lets me ask questions and challenge assumptions, and it is freeing. Because there are awesome things that can happen that way, but not if everyone stays quiet.

At my day job, we also get a lot of opportunities when talking to people at cons to learn more about how reusable items can help in ways that we hadn't thought of. For instance, a lot of people that are on the autism spectrum are very texture focused, some textures and fabrics can irritate them a lot, and things like tagless t-shirts mean more to them than to people who are less bothered by it.

It had never occurred to me how incredibly uncomfortable disposables could be for people with sensory sensitivities until we met the mother of a person, who ordered one, and then ordered several more, as it was the first things she had found for her child that didn't make their period even more uncomfortable. That kind of knowledge, and being able to make a difference but also being forced to constantly look at things through a perspective we hadn't considered has been incredibly valuable and humbling.

In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing women today?

I will say that, within the cloth pad community the one thing that really bothered me, besides the nonstop gendering, was the fact that a whole lot of them are called “Mama Cloths.” It’s pretty gross and very dismissive of women who do have a utero=us and don’t want children, can’t of haven't had them. I really hate the implication within that name, that having a uterus somehow equates to motherhood.

Final thoughts?

We are decently diverse, as two people can be, but there are many underrepresented groups of people in the world, and talking to them about something so personal and unique is incredibly amazing.

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