Olive Grrrls is an enlightening collection of stories about life as an Italian American woman. Though not fiction, it gives great insight into life as an Italian American. There are many stories that Italian Women can relate to as well as stories you can really learn from. I am thrilled to be able to talk to Lachrista and discuss literature and feminism.
We think of feminism as this 20th century movement but really it goes back much further. In your opinion is there a lot that we can learn from these women’s stories?
Lachrista: Yes, definitely! There is so much we can learn from women and feminism that goes decades back! It’s important for us too, as we move forward, look back at how things were done before us–not in order to replicate them–in order to learn from what maybe didn’t work so well, and what did. We can then use this information to further our current movement.
Olive Girrls, is such a great collection of stories of women’s experiences in the Italian American community. Would you say that Italian women have their own style of feminism?
Lachrista: I think that women of different ethnicities, cultures, and races do have their own unique feminism. Italian American feminism is different than Latina feminism, etc, etc. We all may believe, on a base level, in the same thing, but the addition of our culture and/or ethnicity creates another, distinct level of our feminism, and how we negotiate with the world.
I love the concept of Guerrilla Feminism. How can that relate to historical fiction or the general media at large?
Lachrista: Guerrilla Feminism utilizes feminist concepts from decades ago (consciousness-raising) as well more current. We are thankful to feminists before us, but we do believe that many 2nd wavers were extremely hurtful to women of color. This is something we don’t want to perpetuate. We recognize it, and go against it. We move forward as an inclusive entity.
When I started focusing my writing on Italian women, I took a survey of every single Italian American woman i knew asking them if they had another Italian American women or just another Italian woman in history that they admired. Sadly, none of them had a woman they could name. For those of us just starting to research our shared collective history who would you recommend?
Lachrista: Hey! I wrote a piece on my blog called, “10 Italian Feminists You Should Know”–here: http://lachristagreco.com/lachrista-greco-1/2012/03/23/10-italian-feminists-you-should-know