ALYXANDRA CAROLUS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REAL LIVES -

‘“Wo­ke­ness” is what I use to de­scribe how my think­ing has changed since learn­ing about in­ter­sec­tional fem­i­nism [the idea that pat­terns of op­pres­sion, for in­stance racism, sex­ism and ho­mo­pho­bia, are in­ter­con­nected]. I was prone to prob­lem­atic be­hav­iour be­fore – from mak­ing ter­ri­ble com­ments about other women’s bod­ies to slut sham­ing. Grow­ing up, I strug­gled with my body. I ob­sessed over stay­ing a cer­tain si e, and ate de­struc­tively. So when I be­lit­tled an­other woman’s “ aws”, it gave me a dis­trac­tion from my own. In com­ing to terms with my is­sues, and learn­ing about the #body­pos­i­tive move­ment [where bod­ies of all shapes are cel­e­brated], I be­gan to wake up. My turn­ing point came when I joined Rhodes Uni­ver­sity’s an­nual Silent Protest op­pos­ing gen­der-based vi­o­lence in 2010. Sud­denly, I could ar­tic­u­late what I stood for. Wo­ke­ness makes me ques­tion ev­ery­thing. I try to in­ter­ro­gate the way I think, and the lan­guage I use. I’ve lost some friend­ships be­cause I can’t en­ter­tain wil­ful ig­no­rance any more. On the other hand, I’ve made in­cred­i­ble new friends through so­cial me­dia.’ @hey_a­lyx

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