All it took was a life changing election, a homemade sign, "Not My President," and the guts to walk downtown with it around her neck for a friendship to form and the SF Women's Group to come to life.
This group of "nasty women" was Co-Founded by one of our good friends Sara and a stranger turned sister in arms Vera. As feminists we've had our faith rocked a number of times lately. As well as felt the need to call out to our fellow sisters for love and support. The SF Women's Group has helped to heed the call of the community of women that live in San Francisco and we're so excited to be able to feature them.
WHAT DOES BEING A FEMINIST MEAN TO YOU?
Quick answer: It means you believe women can do anything in this world.
Long answer: It means, you believe, “women’s rights are human rights,” to quote Hillary Clinton. Feminism means the same thing to me as it always has. What’s changed for me in the last year, is my vision of the world, and understanding that feminism is necessary.
YOU'RE APART OF THE SF WOMEN'S GROUP, WHAT IS THAT?
San Francisco Women’s Group is exactly as it sounds. It’s a group for people that identify themselves as female, in the Bay Area. Our mission is to unify women and serve San Francisco’s female community through leadership, education and celebration of the feminine spirit.
WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE SF WOMEN'S GROUP?
I co-founded San Francisco Women’s Group with my co-founder Vera, in hopes of creating a place for women to come together, learn and tackle what it means to be a feminist in today’s world. For me personally, San Francisco Women’s group is my attempt to create a resource for girl’s in the Bay Area to meet other women in their community and have an outlet to make an impact. Whatever your passion or desire for society may be, I want women to feel like SF Women’s Group gives them the power, and female network to go out and create change. If that means educating yourself, finding people to volunteer with, fundraising for a cause, whatever. As I tell group members every meeting–this isn’t mine or Vera’s group–this is your group. It can be as big or small as we make.
WHEN DID YOU START CALLING YOURSELF A FEMINIST?
You know. I’ve always been aware of how insanely lucky we are to be women in the United States. My dad immigrated from Iran, so I have the perspective of female family members who didn’t have the same cultural rights, as I had growing up in California. What transformed my life was the moment I heard Donald Trump giving his acceptance speech for President of the United States. In that moment, the fluffy robe that was my perceived notion of gender equality was ripped off my body, leaving me naked on a windy San Francisco in street.
I was shocked because America elected not to give a damn about women. Trump’s win told me that no matter how hard you work as an individual and how qualified you are, you’re still a woman. That win made me get up, and get out.
I made a sign that said “Not My President” the morning after I watched his acceptance speech. I wore it around my neck, put on my sunglasses and walked down Market Street to work. I cried most of the way. But here I was, making myself super uncomfortable with this weird ass sign because I just didn’t know why but that is what was going to make me feel ok about going about my day. People saluted me from across the street, others crossed paths with a fist bump, and an old woman hugged me and said, “amen sister.”
I then proceeded to post an Instagram picture of myself from that morning, with my awkward, self-made protest sign. That moment, action and photo is what started San Francisco Women’s Group. A stranger, named Vera DMed me, saying, “Hey. My name’s Vera. This is weird, and we don’t know each other, but I think we’d have a lot to talk about.”
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WOMEN GET AND STAY CONNECTED BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
Women all need to step outside of themselves. Social media has had this incredibly isolating effect on people, as evidenced by all this fake news garbage. It also lets people hide behind photos of whatever they want to portray themselves as. I’m not saying this is wrong, but it shuts us off from what’s actually happening and keeps us from having conversations with one another. So get out, and meet other women in your neighborhood. Challenge yourself to make a new friend or do something once a week that makes you socially uncomfortable.
I formed SF Women’s Group with a stranger, Vera, who I met on social media. Our group and all it’s accomplished in under a year, is only around because both of us were willing to make ourselves a little uncomfortable and meet up for coffee at a nursery.
This poem by my favorite Poet, Rumi, and has really served as my reason why it’s important for women (and men) to maintain and welcome connections with one another:
The Guest House
"This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival...
...Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond."
WHAT ARE SOME TOPICS YOU FEEL WOMEN NEED TO BE PARTICIPATING IN MORE TODAY?
The biggest topic: Women need to concern themselves with the current fight about healthcare. This directly impacts everyone’s health–but especially women. The current administration deems pregnancy as a “pre-existing” condition. Access to birth control will no longer be covered by federal funding and the right to choose an abortion is under siege. The ultimate goal is to take away our right to choose, period. These things directly impact women of all ages in this country and are beyond the republican v democrat debate. Women everywhere need to educate themselves, and understand why women’s healthcare is so heavily politicized. It’s a way, throughout history, to control us.
Women also need to learn more about feminism and why it’s necessary. This is something I’ve been exploring personally. One book that’s had an incredible effect on me is by San Francisco author Rebecca Solnit, called Men Explain Things to Me.