Kari Larsen: Interview
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Name, pronouns, career/job title?
Kari, she/her/hers, high school senior and barista
How has being a woman impacted your life thus far?
It’s definitely made me aware of how much more careful I have to be with my actions, especially at social gatherings and times when I’m alone. It has also helped me realize just how far our country has to go to stop gender discrimination, as I hear it frequently even if it’s not directed at me.
How has being a women specifically impacted your career?
As a barista, I haven’t been impacted too much, however in past jobs, there were men (customers and employees) who would make me uncomfortable with how “flirty” or “touchy” they were. Luckily, I’m at a better job now and that has not happened!
In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing women today?
Definitely gaining equal rights in politics and the workplace, but also just breaking long-held stigmas that men and women are taught growing up (i.e. what women can/can’t be, do, or say, as well as the “boys will be boys” saying that ensures women are supposed to constantly just fear for their safety and men who act immaturely or threatening don’t have to change).
In your opinion, what are the most prominent challenges facing underrepresented groups as a whole today? (i.e. racial minorities, those with physical and cognitive disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, etc.)
Again, equality is the most prominent challenge. Even when women do gain time in the spotlight and have the chance to speak up about issues, too often it is a white, cisgendered women. Without these underrepresented groups speaking their mind, we create a world in which only the white, middle class, and straight woman can truly feel “equal”.
How has the political and social climate of social justice changed throughout your lifetime?
It has definitely made progress, like gay marriage, and with the recent elections, more women in congress. In addition, I’ve seen more younger people taking action to fight for what they believe in instead of letting older political figures or adults in general control what happens in our country.
What is of your utmost priority in terms of social justice and/ or politics currently?
I have a lot of ideas of what needs to change, but I would say one of the major priorities would be gun control. It affects too many people and takes innocent lives at much too high a rate to go unnoticed. Gun laws must be made stricter and assault rifles have no place in homes.
Please describe your political and/ or social activism:
I am president of a sexual assault awareness club that fights to end rape culture in our school and community, and am also a member of women’s club which covers feminist issues. I have gone with women’s club to talk to local congress members and make them aware of women’s issues, as well as, through my club, organize many fundraisers to donate funds to the Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.
What do you encourage others to take part in, in order to make their communities more socially and politically inclusive?
Do however much you can. I struggle seeing many of my peers attending weekend protests as I work every weekend and sometimes feel that I’m not a “true activist”. But the reality is that as long as you have an opinion and you’re doing something to help, you are an activism. I encourage attending activism clubs or starting them if your school has none, and contacting your representatives to make them aware of issues in your community. The more awareness you are able to bring to problems, the more likely they will be solved and communities can become more inclusive.
Any final thoughts?
These are really important questions, thank you for asking them and asking me!