Fifty Feminist Mantras With Amelia Hruby
Flying all the way from Chicago, Amelia Hruby infuses her creativity and feminist agenda through teaching students, DJing a radio show called “Girl Power Hour”, creating zines, and recently publishing her first book Fifty Feminist Mantras. On March 4th, she is hosting her event “Fifty Feminist Mantras: Embodied Mantra Workshop” to inspire and help channel your inner feminine/ feminist practice. To get to know her better, at New Women Space we decided to ask her several questions about her inspirations, writing process, and thoughts on gender equity.
- Age and hometown?
26, originally from North Carolina
2. How long have you been living in your current city?
living in Chicago for 4.5 years
I’m working on my PhD (in philosophy), teaching, writing, and organizing (mostly) events in Chicago.
2. How did you begin your project?
My book, Fifty Feminist Mantras, began in late 2016 as a weekly instagram/blog series that I called #FeministMantraMonday. Every Monday, I would post a new mantra with a few words explaining how it could guild feminist reflection and action throughout the week. After posting those for almost a year, I realized that I wanted to compile them in a non-digital space, so I began editing the mantras for a book that I self-published in November 2017.
3. What kind of effects have you seen in your community through your work?
The biggest compliment, to me, is when someone approaches me and tells me that my work has made them more comfortable and confident in calling themself a feminist. I love bringing women, gnc/nb folks and allies together to learn more about themselves, their gendered experiences, and their feminisms. Watching that happen for people gives me real joy.
4. How can other people get involved?
There are so many ways to become more involved in feminist work, and I think it’s a very personal and political decision where you invest your energy in feminist movements. People can join the community around my work by buying my book or finding others using the mantras at #fiftyfeministmantras. They can also get involved in person by attending one my my feminist creative consciousness gatherings in Chicago (or at NWS in Brooklyn!).
5. Where do you see the progress in gender equity?
I think that some of the most fruitful progress comes in personal relationships. I deeply appreciate the folks that are building mass movements (they’re so important for political change!), but I do my best work at the one-to-one or one-to-few level. I think a lot of positive change could happen toward gender equity if we all worked on building more feminist personal relationships with our friend, families, and immediate communities.
6. Why do you think it’s important to have a space for gender non conforming individuals?
I think it’s important for members of all marginalized communities to have unique spaces (and spaces in common) to celebrate themselves and each other and to share experiences.
7. Was was the “a-ha” moment that sparked the beginning of your book?
For better or worse, my first feminist awakening happened within the academy through classes, texts, and institutions. At the same time I was taking those classes, however, feminism was really having a huge moment in US culture (cue Beyoncé), and I was seeing the word “feminist” everywhere. I think my book project began as a way for me to create a conversation between what I was reading and what I was seeing. I wanted to bring what I had learned in school to bear on the pop culture I was consuming in a way that was informative and approachable.
8. How long did it take for you to write the book from start to finish?
Because I had been writing the mantras for a year when I started the book (often spending 1–3 hours a week on each mantra), it really only took a few weeks to compile and edit into a manuscript.
9. What is your experience with publishing process?
I have a long history with zine-making and a DIY ethos in my work, so self-publishing the book felt like a natural (and affordable) choice for me. To choose a self-publishing platform (I use CreateSpace), I listened to a number of interviews with women who have self-published books that I admire and tried to follow their lead. The platforms make it very easy to set up your text, upload a cover image (a close friend designed mine), and print your book very quickly. I do wish that I had thought more about distribution when I was starting. Since publishing on CreateSpace I’ve learned that many indie bookstores won’t stock CreateSpace books because it’s an Amazon affiliate company. It’s definitely been a learning process in that regard.
10. Do you have a go-to daily feminist mantra?
My two overarching mantras for this year are “embody” and “experiment.” In 2018 I’m trying to focus more on developing the intuitive powers that reside in my body (rather than the intellectual power of my mind), so I’ve been developing a number of embodiment practices like meditation, yoga, daily walking, etc. As a result, I’ve had a lot of new impulses and ideas, and I have also been pushing myself not to be afraid to put them out into the world and “experiment” with what works. Engaging these new practices and sharing what they yield with the world feels very vulnerable to me, but having the mantras to rely on helps me embrace this vulnerability as power rather than fear.
11. What advice can you give to feminists who struggle voicing their opinion?
I think that developing a feminist voice first begins with developing a voice. The more clear you are on who you are and what you want to say, the better you’ll be able to articulate your thoughts and feelings in feminist spaces and feminist ways. I began developing my voice with a personal journaling practice. Once I practiced speaking to myself, then I worked on speaking to my friends, and from their I developed a more public voice on feminist issues and ideas. My best advice is to remember that voicing a process, amplification builds slowly over time, and you have to be kind to yourself as you step into the soft power of your voice.