Feminism, Harry Potter and Letícia Dias

Meet one the founders of Frente Feminista Casperiana Lisandra and Journalism senior.

Name: Letícia Dias

Major: Journalism

Year: 2015

Age: 21

Hometown: Recife

Sign: Scorpion

Status: Single

Hobbies: reading and cooking

You are one of the founders of Frente Feminista Lisandra, the feminist group of Cásper. Could you tell us how it started?In the second semester of 2012, my second year at Cásper, I wrote an article for Esquinas magazine (which is all produced by Cásper’s students) about modern feminism. It was the beginning of the Sluts Parade here in São Paulo and a lot of feminist groups started to appear. During that time, I met Beatriz Cano, who was at the same year as me at college, but taking classes at night. She was already a militant in her city and helped me a lot with the article. We started wondering why Cásper didn’t have a feminist group, since we have a majority of women studying here. At the time, the administration of the Academic Center organized the1st Woman and Media Week. At the end of each day, me, Bia, Priscila Kessering and Talita Esteves met to discuss about the subjects of the Week. One day, between two classes, we decided we should create a Feminist Group in Cásper. We arranged all the details and celebrated the first open meeting on April, 2013.

How are the meetings organized?We decided at first to discuss about Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and other books, but we always ended up discussing everyday problems. So we decided to change and make the reunions more theme-based, we created a Facebook page for discussion and set up a action group, of which I’m part of.

How was your first contact with feminism?It was through the internet. I was (still am) a huge fan of Harry Potter, liked Meg Cabot’s books, animes, mangas, comic books, all of this. I’m from Recife (a city in the northeast of Brazil) and used to study in a small school, where I didn’t have friends to talk about these things. People didn’t like the same stuff as me. So I started to join forums and communities online and made a lot of virtual friends. Most of them were older than me and approached feminism first. They were the first ones to tell me about feminism.

What did they tell you?At first, it was a very premature feminism. I started thinking the basic, like you are not what you wear, the blame is not on the victim. But it was only when I went to England, when I was 16 years old, that I realized what feminism truly means. I could choose some of the subjects I would take during the year, so I chose English Literature. My teacher was a feminist of the second wave, graduated at University of Cambridge. She used to say she would never obey any men. The first book we studied was Pride and Prejudice, so she made a lot of comparisons with our reality.  

Did she talk about feminist theory?After that, we studied Otelo and had to write a small article about it. I decided to write about the woman in it, so she handed me a lot of books. She taught me a lot of feminist theory, and I was very impressed by it. At the same time, I created my Tumblr, and there was a lot of discussion about it in there. So I went back to Recife knowing a lot about feminism, but only started the militancy here in São Paulo.

Besides your teacher, which women have led you towards militancy?A friend of mine, called Júlia. I met her because I used to (still do) write Harry Potter fanfiction. We started to talk and I followed her blog. She discovered feminism before me, she is three years older. She was my reference, everything she said, I used to believe. She and my teacher, together with a lot of other woman, helped me being a militant.

What was the greatest change in you after discovering feminism?The thing it has changed in me the most was stop competing with other girls as I used to do. When I was little, I used to play Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh and other games that were “meant for boys”. So I used to take kind of and advantage of it, feeling good because I was different from the other girls. Everyone has already gone through this, even the most amazing feminists. Only if you have grown in an open-minded family, but most of us deconstruct ourselves everyday.

How do you act with a woman that reproduces chauvinism?Woman should not blame other woman when they reproduce chauvinism. They don’t even know what they are doing. I try to help them realize what is a patriarchal society, even when I know I’ll end up listening to a lot of crap. We have to remember that these girls say things that we all said at some point of our lives, and we’ve changed because of feminism.