In celebration of National Women’s History Month, (because y’all know I love it) I interviewed my very best friend, and passionate history buff, Brianna Kadlec. Even though she has wrongly chosen to be a Minnesota Gopher instead of a DePaul Blue Demon, we will forgive her because she is basically an expert on women’s history (or she’s getting there).
Name: Brianna Kadlec
Major: Double Major in Politic Science and History, with a focus in Women’s American History
Hometown: Owatonna, Minnesota
Ideal pet: Probably a wombat… I feel like that would be fun.
Top place to visit someday: Ireland
Current Netflix obsession: I recently watched Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra and it was honestly one of the funniest things I’ve watched in a long time.
National Women’s History Month:
You’re a history major, why? What do you like about history?
History in general is really important when looking towards the future; there is always something to learn from it. I especially think that women’s history is important because they have been systematically removed from it, and the ways that women have contributed to society have been deemed unimportant by the male gaze. So, I think it is important to share women’s stories because their contributions have been instrumental to where we are today. We need to focus on women because their contributions have gone unrecognized, especially women of color, in American history. I also feel that the general public doesn’t understand this because they haven’t been taught any of this information, so I think it is important to integrate women back into the narrative.
What is your opinion on National Women’s History Month?
It is so important! I appreciate all of the months that are dedicated to any marginalized groups because those groups have been erased from history to only feature white men. Since the birth of the United States, women have been prominent in the creation of this country and since then, therefore, to ignore that and remove them from history is inaccurate and offensive.. History classes should focus on all histories, not just the history of white men, or white women.
What is your response to criticism that says National Women’s History Month isn’t inclusive enough?
I think that perspective is valid, especially in the way that women’s movements have functioned in the past. Many of those movements were not inclusive and to ignore that is inaccurate and an injustice to women of color and trans women. Their contributions have been essential to our country and to ignore those histories is just as much of a dishonor as ignoring the history of white women. For an example, in the suffrage movement of the 20s, Alice Paul, and other organizers, told black women that in order to gain support from southern women, black women couldn’t be included and needed to form their own movement. Therefore, I think it’s important to note that women of color have been forced to assert their womanhood and personhood among white women and have been fighting for their right to be a apart of the movement, and we need to recognize that.
How are you choosing to celebrate?
Well… I definitely love to wear my abundance of feminist clothing! I also am an RA at the University of Minnesota and I decorated a bulletin board that features a woman in history everyday this month. I have also been talking about it a lot, I mean, I talk about history a lot as it is because I love history, obviously, but I have been trying to be extra aware of it in conversation. I have especially been trying to raise more awareness on marginalized women in history.
Do you have a favorite woman in history?
Oh boy… no? It would be difficult for me to pick just one… that would be like a parent picking their favorite child. All of these woman are important to me and have contributed so much to our society. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. However, I have learned about Mary McLeod Bethune recently and I find her really interesting. She was the only black woman present at the founding of the United Nations and was appointed as a national advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.