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Emily Holliday: An Unapologetic Feminist

Emily Holliday, a junior English major from Tulsa, is unapologetically a feminist. 

The story of her road to feminism began with her mom and dad, both former soldiers in the Marine Corps.

“I grew up with a crazy awesome mom,” Emily says. “She was a mechanic, and she never let anything stop her. There was literally nothing she couldn’t do. I never saw her relying on men or asking them to do things for her. Having that kind of influence was awesome.”

While her mom was busy raising four daughters, Emily’s dad was also a big influence on the development of her feminist values.

“My dad also raised me and my sister to be self sufficient,” Emily recalls. “My dad identifies as a feminist, and I never got the impression that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.”

During her first semester at OSU, Emily took an English composition class that involved a lot of group discussion. Emily and another girl in the class from California found themselves as the only two who consistently stood up for feminist values. They were both floored by how misogynistic many of the men in the class were, and that’s when she realized she identified as a feminist.

Since that class, Emily has become more active in feminist activism and events. Emily went to see The Vagina Monologues production at OSU later that year and describes watching the play as “the most amazing, groundbreaking thing.”  Emily has now been in the cast of The Vagina Monologues at OSU for the past two years.

“With The Vagina Monologues I can stand up there and say absolutely anything and everything without having to argue with someone,” Emily explains. “This was a way I could put my foot down.”

Emily often shares posts on social media about issues she feels strongly about and thinks social media is the perfect way to get feedback on your opinions, have time to consider your response and be prepared to have the conversations in real life.

“I realized that you can’t change someone’s mind if they don’t want it changed,” Emily says. “It can be extremely difficult and disappointing, and I’ve been in that position with family, friends and coworkers. Sometimes you end up agreeing in the end, sometimes it’s a truce and sometimes you have to say your piece and walk away.”

Emily’s bit of advice is to understand that you can’t put more of yourself into the conversation than the other person is getting out of it: you’ll wear yourself thin that way.

Finally, she says that you still have to respect the other person, even if they’re being “willfully ignorant”, and for those that are close to you that you still have to love them. In the meantime, Emily will remain active with feminist events and organizations and continue to learn more about herself along the way.

Emily and a friend prepare to be in a video addressing domestic violence.

I'm a first-year grad student at Oklahoma State University. I am involved with communication studies and gender issues. I'm a dog-person, not a cat-person, but only because I'm allergic to cats. I enjoy documentaries on Netflix and my favorite food is every food.
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