Women Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Zahira Kelly

Women Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Zahira Kelly

With more than 23 thousand followers on Twitter, you’re probably already familiar with this week’s #WCWZahira Kelly, more commonly known online as The Bad Dominicana.

MORE: Woman Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Reagan Gomez

The Afro-Latina sociocultural critic uses art, words and social networks to ensure that the long-erased narratives of women of color are heard.

Ahead, find out how and why Zahira works to crush the patriarchy.

What does feminism mean to you?

It’s a lot of unnamed things in women who would never claim such a label. I see feminism as an innate need to be free and take matters into your own hands, not predicated by how much access you've had to proper feminist texts. It may be your mother teaching you to be a luchadora, or It could be your tia or abuela marrying four different times in an era where divorce could excommunicate you from respectable society. 

You said that you find feminism in people who don’t identify with the label, or don’t know what it is at all. Can you expand on that, relating it to Dominican women?

I see feminism in dominicanas every day. They just don't call it that. We are the most educated yet poorest sector in the Dominican Republic as women. Dominican women have informal businesses set up in nearly every household. We are self-starting women by nature, like I believe all humans to be. That tells you how much we've strived to counter imbalance while still obviously living in a very misogynist society. In fact, I’d say our not reading feminist texts only makes our innate feminism even more stark against the machista landscape. 

There’s currently a lot of discussion among average women about femicide, as we suffer some of the highest rates globally. But there's still reluctance to note class and color in relation to which women are being murdered and deemed disposable (hint: they're usually darker and poorer, which also ties into the current anti-Haitian issues). So we have things to work out, much like anywhere else. 

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