Name, pronouns, career/job title?
Chelsea VonChaz, She/Her/Hers, CEO Executive, and founder of Happy Period.
How has being a feminist / (if applicable woman) impacted your life thus far?
I personally do not identify as a feminist. This is not necessarily because I disagree with certain aspects of the ideology, and more so that I no longer see it as a movement. I think that the label can get in the way of actual political and social progress. The divisions within the feminist ideology can actually further separate women of all cultures, colors, and backgrounds. I do - at the end of the day - respect people who identify as feminists, as long as we are all working towards the betterment of underrepresented groups in our society.
I personally identify as a black woman who works in advocacy. Advocating for the rights of others has always been something that I felt was a crucial aspect to my personality. It was less about recognizing the injustices our government perpetuates, and more an urge to help others. Since I was young, I have been helping others in whatever way possible, and that has been the motivation that drives me towards self-improvement and gratitude.
Of course being a black woman has impacted me in terms of misrepresentation, but I try not to focus on the negative aspects of my experience, and recognize the privileges that I have, and use them for good.
In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing women today?
In summary, women and other underrepresented groups are divided as communities. Black and white women are turning against each other, and divisions within other ‘minority’ groups are very prevalent.
I think in order to fix these divisions, we need to replace what the white man created. The ‘white man’ created these divisions to make the ‘minorities’ feel like actual minorities. In actuality, the supposed minorities have become the majority, but are not being treated as such.
We need to look past these divisions, and work towards mending these horrible divisions that have only been perpetuated by our oppressors.
How has the political and social climate of social justice changed throughout your lifetime?
There has definitely been a great deal of political and social change throughout my lifetime. More rights for people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community have been implemented, but I also think that our social ideologies towards underrepresented groups have altered a ton! I like to say that the white man ideals that have always been the pillars of our laws, politics and ideals are beginning to disintegrate - but we still have a long way to go.
What is of your utmost priority in terms of social justice and/ or politics currently?
I think instead of trying to fight the system, we first have to address the internal divisions within the social justice community. We should look towards treating each other with respect, dignity, and acceptance. Until every white and black woman can look at each other and understand different experiences, we will make little social or political progress.
Please describe your political and/ or social activism:
Please visit the Happy Period Instagram and Website and you can learn all about menstrual equity and accessible menstrual products.
Here is the website: http://hashtaghappyperiod.org/
What do you encourage others to take part in, in order to make their communities more socially and politically inclusive?
It is up to you to make a stand. Talk to your legislators; start a campaign; call others out when they are being problematic or ignorant. Most importantly, don’t wait for others to give you permission to make a difference.