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Women On Women’s Rights: With Juliana Britto

Posted: July 4, 2012

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Feminist. Humanist. Advocate for women’s rights. Meet women around the world who blog on women’s rights – even if they call themselves different names.

Juliana Britto Schwartz is a Latin American and Latino Studies major, who adds that by night, she is a Latina feminist blogger and activist. She writes at Juliana Britto about reproductive health justice, race, immigration and women’s rights in the U.S. and Latin America, with a focus on Brazil.

How did your interest in women’s lives and feminism begin? Was there a particular moment/period in your life when you started identifying as a feminist?

I became interested in feminism in high school. I was always involved in social justice, and was somewhat well-known, almost infamous for it. At some point, I felt like I started to develop a bit of a reputation as that annoying girl who is always trying to be PC, and the more that I ran into this, the more I realized how much my gender had to do with it. People listened much more to the young men who were doing this work than they listened to me. That’s when I started to begin working to debunk the traditional stereotype about feminists as obnoxious man-haters. And for the record, there is a feminist club at my old high school now.

What according to you, are the major challenges/issues that impact women in your country today?

As someone with a foot in two worlds (my mother is Brazilian, my father is U.S. American) I think I have a somewhat global view of feminism. I’ve read just as much about the sexualization of the mulata in Brazil as I have about the glass ceiling in the States. However, I think that within both those worlds, reproductive health access and justice are THE most pressing issues. Living in Brazil, I heard as many discussions about access to safe abortions as I have in the U.S., and I think the right to have control over our bodies is the most basic, yet so disputed.

Why do you blog (about these issues)? What does it give you? What do you feel it gives others?

I write as a way of organizing and collecting my thoughts and opinions in one place. Over time, my blog has developed, evolved a bit and I often use it as a tool for activism, spreading the word on issues that I find important. I also love the networking opportunities that blogging can drop in your lap. I’m excited to collaborate more as I continue blogging.

Do you face criticism (online/offline) for your views? How do you deal with it?

Every once in a while you get an obnoxious comment. I do my best to differentiate between someone who is just trying to provoke me, and someone who wants to have a legitimate dialogue. I respond to the latter, but not the former.

Are there any of your own blogposts that you are especially proud of/happy for having written?

Let’s see. I was particularly honoured to conduct this interview with Dxonne, a fulni-ô woman in the interior of Brazil, and I was fascinated when researching for this post about the Private Immigrant Detention Industry in the U.S. I think one of my most popular posts has been my Manifesto to That Guy on the Street.

Your favourite feminist blogs?

Right now, I’m loving Virginia Sole-Smith’s blog Beauty Schooled, looking at the beauty industry in the U.S. In Portuguese, I like reading about feminism in Brazil over at Blogueiras Feministas, as well as keeping up on Brazilian abortion politics at Aborto em Debate.

Previous Interviews In The Women On Women’s Rights Series:

Shifani Reffai (Sri Lanka)

Athambile Masola (South Africa)

Deborah Russell (New Zealand)

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