Last December we interviewed Lauren Bastide and talked about yoga and meditation, as well as her new project: a podcast dedicated to women: La Poudre.
Since then, Lauren received Pénélope Bagieu, Houda Benyamina, Rebecca Zlotowski, Leïla Slimani, among others, and recorded a special episode during Women's March in Washington. It is out today and is called "La Marche". For the 2017 International Day of Women's rights, we asked her to talk about this trip and the women she met.
Inside/Out: People talk a lot about the definition of the "feminist" concept. What does it mean for you today?
Lauren Bastide: A feminist supports rights egality between women and men. It is as simple as that.
I/O: You were part of the March in Washington, what do you feel when you are surrounded with 500 000 other women?
L: It was an extremely powerful moment. I felt it all along. A huge hope as well. The idea that all those persons around me were supporting the cause of feminism, but also climate change, the fight against all forms of racism, or discriminations regarding gender, sexual orientation, religion, handicaps. When I think about it it makes me shiver.
I/O: In the United States, the march was also tinted of anti-Trump ideas. Can you remind us of the main demands?
L: They were varied, all the ones I talked about before, but also some related to science rights, freedom of the press. It proves that the feminist banner can shelter all the fights for equality.
I/O: How do you think that the American concept of "empowerment" made things change in France?
L: The simple use of the word empowerment in the common language - or in the activist one - in France had a huge influence. Some people here say "empouvoirement"! It is pretty ugly but it shows the difficulty that we have to translate this word says a lot about the difficulty that French culture has to deal with this concept. For me, this proud feminism, positive, that carries all identities, is very rejuvenating for the French feminist movement.
I/O: As usual, the talent of American people for taglines and their natural capacities to market marketer their messages was obvious. What were your favourite slogans from the march?
L: The on I liked the most was in a spontaneous demonstration, that poped up the day Trump was invested, in the streets of Washington, the day before the march. People were chanted "My Body My Choice, My Body My Choice, My Body My Choice", and then the message became "Black Lives Matter". For me it was a materialisation of the intersectional activism. And this moment is in the podcast episode.
I/O: What was your favourite meeting? Why?
L: I was very moved by my meeting with Ashley McCray, a Lakota woman from Oklahoma, an activist against the pipeline and the fracking that destroy the Indian land, around Standing Rock. She makes me understand the colonial oppression that native Americans have been through for almost five centuries. Her testimonial is also in the episode. The day after I visited the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, and I learned more about this tragedy.
I/O: We hear a lot of conversations on intersectionality, and we realize that feminist voices, here like in the US, are still not on the same page. You interviewed Kimberlé Crenshaw, how does she see things today?
L: My meeting with Kimberlé Crenshaw in a philosopher's café in Washington where she was giving a talk was the climax of my trip! She told me that she was afraid that people would simplify the very essence of the intersectionality concept to something very basic. That people should just count the different groups represented, when they have to articulate a feminism fight toward the intersectional thought. She also fears Marine Le Pen's victory in France.
I/O: What were the main lessons, teachings you bring back from this trip?
L: The main lesson was that the feminist activism must be inclusive, united, to get the necessary power to fight against the dark forces that are threatening our democracies.
I/O: With La Poudre, Les 52, Cheek magazine or the newsletter Les Glorieuses, we see more and more organisations dedicated to feminism in France. What was the triggering event, to your opinion?
L: It is the junction of two movements. On one side, a new generation who show a lot of engagement on this question, maybe because their parents were more aware, but also because internet and social networks that allow them to share, gather, and fight with people who share the same ideas. On the other side, because real threats toward the rights women conquered on the second half of the last century, like the right to abort, are increasing.
I/O: We are in the middle of the presidential campaign in France and women rights are not really in the center of the programs. Do you think that the future of women is still a political question?
L: Yes, definitely. But there are many ways of doing politics. Demonstrations, activism, communications are a few exemple.
I/O: What are the values that gather women today?
L: I would love to know the answer! I think that for feminists and for women in general, it is easier to unite for a fight against something. Ironically, Trump's obvious sexism allowed this alliance.
I/O: Women athletes speak up to condemns the disparities between women and me, and the way they are treated (compared to their masculin counterparts, treated in a sexist way, less paid...) and it made them much more humane to the public's eyes. How activism can empower women today?
L: Every militant activism start here: to express what you feel. Say "no, this way of doing things, this way of talking, these structures hampers me." Expressing it is the toughest part, the rest follows. I think that the courage these athletes show is remarkable!
I/O: Do you have magazines, podcasts, sites you would like to share with our readers?
L: In French: Cheek magazine, the newsletter Les Glorieuses, the newsletter Quoi de Meuf, in english: Bust Magazine, the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told you, the podcast The Daily to keep an eye on American news, the Movie "Ouvrir la Voix" by Amandine Gay, the movie "Divines" by Houda Benyamina, "Vagina" by Naomi Woolf, "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit.