Feminista Jones is a writer and activist known for her dynamic social media influence with the development of social media campaigns, but above all things she is known for her honesty and love for empowering women. Feminista Jones and I had a conversation about the role social media plays in a woman’s life today and what it takes to get through transformational periods in life — a break-up, loss of a job, etc in a social media driven society.
What does it mean to be a woman in today’s social media era?
Feminsta Jones: Being a woman today, means constantly thinking about how deeply you are influenced by things around you. Wondering is this really you, or are you simply reflecting everything that is around you. Women are constantly wondering… Am I being authentic? Am I being myself? Do I even know who myself is?
If this is myself, maybe I should still question it because society says that this is not right and I shouldn’t be this way. Even though we [women] are making a lot of strides, and there has been a lot of growth and progress for women. I think it also means exposing yourself to some harsh realities… And trying to figure out how you keep going on anyhow.
Who Am I? Really…How much of who I believe I am is influenced by the things around me? And, am I able to function in a society that relegates me for 2nd, 3rd or 4th class?
… I think that this is something we [women] are constantly thinking about.
Navigating Through the Process
KT: What does that look like for you? What is your process for finding yourself beyond what may influence you? There are a lot of women out there that go through this [trying to define/find their self beyond what may influence them] daily. Some are able to get through that and some are not. So, what is your process for navigating through your transformational period?
FJ: I am currently embarking on this new journey in life, again what am I going to do with my life right now? …Which is terrifying and also kind of exhilarating. In that, I don’t know what is going to happen next…
For me, it looks like retreating… I am not on social media as much anymore, at least right now, just because I don’t want anyone’s input. Even exposing yourself to people means that they are going to give you unsolicited feedback… I don’t want to be triggered by it… I need time to myself. I have kind of retreated from that and I need time to myself — thinking and writing. Writing down my thoughts, and writing down some of my plans.
Last year I did a lot of traveling for work, but this year I want to do more of the traveling personally. I have done a lot of solo trips, and my son was like you have to stop going places alone. Because, every time you come back you make this major decision that effects your whole life. [We both had to stop and laugh at that one!]
[bctt tweet=”Transformation is about being real and honest about exactly where I am… @feministajones” username=””]
Engaging in conversations and conferences like this [Blavity Conference], and giving speeches and being able to speak my truth… And that transformation is about being real and honest about exactly where I am, and that is something that I have not been doing because it makes you really vulnerable to attack. As a black woman, in online spaces, people feel the need to attack you no matter what. I got to a point where I don’t need this. I don’t need to deal with this. I don’t need to share what is going on. I don’t need to give my thoughts as they come to my head like I use to. I don’t need to do any of that, because I am not going to give anyone the opportunity to hurt me or influence my process.
KT: How long does the process last for you?
FJ: Normally, I try to rush the process. I try to say, “your fine, keep going, just keep going.” …So, I said I need to live each day in this moment, and really absorb this. Not wallow, and not get trapped in these things, but allowing myself to experience that variety of emotions — whether it is elation, optimism, or anger, or if it frustrations, or hurt. Whatever it is, I am allowing myself to feel it for as long as it takes.
It may take a few months, it may take a couple of years, I don’t know. But, what I do know is I can still function. I can still work through things. I can get another job if I want. I can enter another relationship if I want. I lost like 15 pounds, so now I can shop again if I want. These are all the things that I know I can do… While I am allowing myself to process all of the changes that are happening… I try to give myself at least a season to work through it and do the best that I can in that regard.
For more of Feminsta Jones’ insight, make sure you check her out during the Blavity EmpowerHer Conference on May 21st in New York. You can also follow her on her blog, feministajones.com. Make sure you stay tuned for part 2 of our conversation on the blog next week!