LAURA

Q:  Where/when do you feel most self-identified?

A:  Usually when I know I'm going out to have fun - like at a bar or concert hall.  I can physically feel the difference between my everyday self and my "I want you to recognize my gender" self when I walk into a room. 

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  Yes.  Everyday.  I can't even walk down the street without. 

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  Finding the strength to not shame yourself or others - even though the idea of being a woman that doesn't want to compete with other women is a radical notion.

 

NICOLE

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

 A:  Gender discrimination happens every day and I have been both the victim and beneficiary of it in the past.  There are certain allowances I was given (i.e. the upper hand in a pool match) because people underestimate my skills in certain areas (girls can't do math! Oh yes they can). 

In the past 16 years since my breasts appeared, catcalling and street harassment have been nearly an every day occurrence.  I remember once when I was 11 or 12 years old, I decided to walk to the TJ Maxx near my house in Ohio (about 10-15 blocks away) and no less than 7 drivers shouted lewd comments at me as I walked, ranging in explicitness.  The most benign was "Hey baby, where you headed?" and, as I recall, the worst was "I'm gonna grab you, hold you down and make you sit on my face!"  Needless to say, as soon as the breasts appeared and I shot up to my 5'9" height at the age of 10, I began dressing in baggy, more masculine clothes or zany, quirky patterns that would confuse the male population rather than entice.  However, I love people. I love meeting new people, learning their life stories and hang ups.  When I'm in a bar, I want to meet and talk to everyone.  This often gets taken as 'I want to sleep with you because I'm talking to you.'  This assumption, above all else right now, bugs me.  If I were a guy, there wouldn't be a problem. (Perhaps another reason I tend to dress and act in more traditionally masculine ways).

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - "

A:  Roar and then cover it up by pretending it was a cough.  JUST KIDDING.  I am woman, hear me hold forth. 

 

SHEILAH

Q:  Where/when do you feel most self-identified?

A:  I feel most self-identified when I bring someone joy; when I make an audience laugh hard.  Having a great night at a club as a stand-up comic is exhilarating, empowering and validating... it's like getting a kiss from God that you're on the right path.  In general helping someone to solve a problem, sharing helpful resources, making referrals, encouraging others, that's when and where I feel most self-identified.

Q:  Can you share your thoughts on body image?

A:  A (perfect) body image is an illusion.  I'm into having a healthy body, not creating a body illusion and for me the best way to have a healthy body is to develop a healthy mind.  Yes I'm off-centered when I eat crap and skip workouts, but I balance it with spiritual practices and emotional wellness.  Being skinny doesn't make you healthy or safe and being overweight doesn't make you unhealthy if you practice a fit/wellness ritual.  There are women that society considers overweight because they don't wear a size 2 or 6, but these are some of the healthiest women.  A healthy self-esteem, a positive mindset is what creates a healthy body image (if one exists).

Q:  Define courage.

A:  To me courage is an inner strength, a blind faith that forces you to take action against all odds and make what you want to happen, happen.

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  "A Making it Happen Captain of my own ship!"  That's what it means to me to be a woman in 2015.  I'm an empowered, forward-thinking risk taker, a faith-based, spiritual fun/people loving, creative woman who wants to make a large positive impact in the lives of everyone I encounter by sharing my gifts, talents and God's love.

 

KRISTINA

Q:  Can you share your thoughts on body image?

A:  When I think "body image" I already get annoyed at the term.  In my opinion there needs to be a shift to something more along the lines of "body feeling" or "body listening" - because instead of it being about what I look like, it should be about how I'm feeling inside my body.  Do I have energy?  Am I sick often?  Where do I have pain?  And then go from there and take actions to FEEL good and strong and agile and functional, not look good.  Anyway, looking good will be a direct result of feeling good and listening to what your body needs.  You will glow from the inside out!

It can be hard to let myself focus on this as an actor because a lot of the business is about how you look and looking a certain way.  In retrospect, I am so thankful to my mom's reactions to my body image issues when I was in high school.  I would constantly come up to her and say "Mooooooom, my legs are sooooooo faaaat!!  My thighs are so biiiig!" and she wouldn't placate me or tell me I was wrong or give me any way to immediately FIX my legs (which I was obviously extremely frustrated about at the time).  She would just say "Yes, you don't have the skinniest thighs."  She really didn't let me dwell in this feeling of inadequacy due to appearance.  I love her so much for that.

And I have come to love the way I look and to recognize that my energy from within is really what makes everything on the outside sparkle, not the girth of my legs.  In a yoga class recently, the teacher said such an inspiring thing that I wrote it down and when I become too involved or worried or fretful about the way I look I read it to remind myself: "Find immense gratitude for the incredible vessel that walks you through life."  It really is an incredible vessel! 

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  It's clear that societally and statistically, we are in fewer leading career positions and that in many countries in the world, women have fewer rights.  I have been catcalled MANY times, which makes me extremely comfortable - it must be because men feel like they are entitled to making lude comments to us in public, even when it is extremely disgusting and disrespectful.  I have been a witness of people making rape jokes.

 

KATIE

Q:  As a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A:  Either an actress or a pediatrician

Q:  Where/when do you feel most self-identified?

A:  As a woman, I feel the most self- identified amongst my really close female friends.  It is in our camaraderie and our often highly personal discussions that I am able to hone in on my own perspective and values.

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  For me, being a woman in 2015 is about discovery.  I'm in the privileged position of having the ability to explore the world around me, investigate what it is I want in life, and pursue it.

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - "

A:  I am woman, hear me, and listen. 

 

ANNIE

Q:  Where/when do you feel most like yourself?

A:  I feel most like myself when I am alone at night in my apartment when nobody else is home.  I feel most like myself when I in the night markets in Taiwan.  

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  EVERY DAY.   And being Chinese, racial discrimination gets thrown in there as well.  I used to feel safe in New York, but after having been followed home and physically harassed numerous times in the past year, I don't feel safe anymore.

Q:  Define courage.

A:  Courage is being afraid of something and doing it anyway.

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - "

A:  I am woman, hear me.  I don't think there needs to be anything additional to that.

 

DAYLE

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  All the time, in little ways.  Things that eventually add up.  Something small that really upset me was one time a male friend of mine refused to walk through the door that I held open for him, because he grew up believing that men hold the doors for women and not the other way around.  So I refused to let go of the door til he walked through it, and I kept holding it open.  He refused to walk through it for about 15 minutes.  It bothered me significantly.  I don't mind men holding doors open, because it's a considerate thing to do.  I also think women can hold open doors.

Or I never learned how to mow the lawn because my brother did it.  In high school theatre, the boys were put on set building crew and the girls on costume crew.  Frankly, any time I walk by a magazine rack.  In my world, gender discrimination isn't written in big, bold letters.  It's the fine print disclaimer at the bottom of the television commercial.

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  Women in 2015 navigate a world in which boundaries are shifting; causing both joy and strife.  There is a greater awareness of the world's inequalities.  Being a woman today is a continuation of the struggle for autonomy for all individuals.

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - "

A:  I am woman, hear me. 

 

SARAH

Q:  Talk to me about female friends/friendship, and what role they play in your life.

A:  For me, female friendships are complex and challenging - when I was younger that translated into a lot of hurt feelings (I still wonder why girls can be so cruel to one another, and if we ever really recover from that).  But as I've matured, I really value what the most important women in my life have taught and pushed me to do.  I have enormous respect for them - they are all women who stand up for themselves, ask difficult questions, work hard for what they want, and have supported me with generous encouragement, and at time some much needed tough love.

Q:  As a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A:  When I was little, I changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up at least once a day.  Some of the things I considered were Artist, Marine Biologist, Story Teller, Writer, Singer, James Galway, Lawyer and Not A Bride.

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  Being a woman in 2015 means being passionately curious about yourself, and taking ownership of the freedom to follow where that curiosity leads you.

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - "

A:  Hear me.  Just hear me.

 

HOLLY

Q:  Where/when do you feel most self-identified?

A:  I wasn't sure how to approach this one at first.  I'd say I'm a very self-actualized person and have over the years made a commitment to myself to not "act" for other people in daily life.  So I guess I'm quite comfortable with myself and as a woman.

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  I get hit on on the street, as if being a woman gives men license to comment on my appearance.  It's a little obnoxious.

Q: Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015

A:  I'm able (when I give myself permission) to do anything.  To me, I am the only one that stands in my own way.

 

CALAINE

Q:  As a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A:  I had a plan. I would become a master pianist and violinist as well as a rock star rock climber and with those skills travel the world.  I would then get my degrees and become an Astronomer and travel the stars and then when I landed I would become President of the United States.

Q:  Have you ever been a target of gender discrimination or harassment?

A:  My first job I was hired because of my boobs and blatantly told so.  Later on my boss tried to do more than just look at my boobs and when I told people they told me it was because I was "too nice."  I was 15.  And then walking down the street - my deal is always as long as they don't follow me or grab they can yell whatever they want but I understand that is an extreme pov.  But as someone who has been followed and grabbed at, being yelled at, just ain't that serious.

Q:  Describe what it means (to you) to be a woman in 2015.

A:  It means whatever you want it to mean.  That's what's so exciting about now.  WE really do have the ability to change the conversation, to effect change, to do US, to BE us.

Q:  Finish this sentence:  "I am woman, hear me - ”

A:  I am woman, here me ROAR.