Julia Korbik (Germany, 1988) is a journalist and a writer. She is the author of Stand Up! Feminism for beginners and veterans (2014) and Oh, Simone! (2017), that just two months before its release has already published its second edition. This is how Julia sees the world, through her “purple glasses”.
We have got used to listen to markedly feminist discourses among the women receiving a price, like Frances McDormand in the Oscars ceremony last Sunday, Oprah Winfrey in the Golden Globes in January. Because after a convulsed 2017, when the feminist cause had its more visible moment with the #MeToo movement, to put an end to sexual harassment against women, and this new year is filling the feminist pockets with hope.
2018 has just started, and the fight for equality is already on everyone’s lips. And that’s wonderful. “The problem is so present and so urgent that we can’t ignore it anymore,” Julia says. She, who has dedicated her career to pop culture and politics, always with a feminist angle, addressed in her first book Stand Up! Feminism for beginners and veterans the idea of showing a “more understandable” feminism. “There is this conviction today that inequality is something from the past and, therefore, feminists can stop complaining, and that’s not true! We just need to have a look at the Gender Pay Gap, still in the agenda today.” Julia refers to the different salaries men and women still get paid for the same work and that in the European Union exceeds on average the 16% (in Germany, it reaches 21%) and that it’s still a warhorse issue in the feminist fight.
“There is this conviction today that inequality is something from the past and, therefore, feminists can stop complaining”
During her TEDx Talk in 2016, the author spoke about “why feminism still matters” and how her vision of the world changed once she found her “purple glasses”. And that was thanks to Simone de Beauvoir, the big French feminist philosopher from the Xxth century, who she found by chance. Bevoir published in 1949 the work that consecrated her, The second sex, in which she included her famous “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” It was in her work that Julia found the answers to the questions she had always been asking to herself. She never understood, for example, why that compliment a teacher made to her when she was a child saying she could do push-ups “as well as a boy would” sounded so weird to her, or why there wasn’t even one woman in the list of authors she was given in school to make a presentation. Beauvoir helped her putting on for the first time her purple glasses, and she has never taken them off.
Today, when asked if the world still needs feminism, Julia uses a clarifying example. “There’s this quote from the British journalist Helen Lewis saying that the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism themselves,” she assures. And we don’t need to meditate for too long to know them both right. Because we all know what they are talking about: all those comments blaming on the victims of harassment or aggression, the ones victimizing men (like the famous and unfortunate #NotAllMen), the ones trying to explain what feminism is or how it should be (having or not an idea on it), followed by a long etcetera.
Some are already talking about a forth wave of feminism, but is it really? The author of Oh, Simone! fears that this discussion, so present today in all areas, is diluted until it disappears, as it has already happened on other occasions and with other causes. But she is still optimistic: “It’s women that we’re listening to now, our experiences and our points of view. So I would say this fight for equality and freedom will continue in 2018.”
And, hopefully, many more people will finally find their own “purple glasses”.