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Episode 014: Menstrual Activism & How Feminist Thinking Becomes Feminist Doing with Chris Bobel

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Chris Bobel is a scholar of social movements, an author and a professor specializing in the intersection of feminist theory and menstrual health activism. She lectures on Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, served as president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and has helmed a wide range of groundbreaking literary works pertaining to the menstrual movement.

In this episode, Chris shares deep insights from her 20 year career in menstrual health advocacy and research – like how studying the body can provide a window into social hierarchies and norms; the consequences of corporate industry exploiting period shame to sell products; and how the “pad promotion” approach to menstrual health issues – driven by misogyny and capitalism – does a disservice to menstruators. She also dives into two of her most noteworthy books, the beginnings of her career in social movement scholarship and much more!

Notable Quotes

“Studying the body is a window into hierarchies and marginalization and just generally the values that shape our everyday realities.”

“The body is…a messy place. It’s a place of contradiction. The body itself is a site of power and pleasure and potential and peril. And so when you dig into understanding what we say about bodies, how we manage our bodies, whose value whose bodies we value more than others, I really think we can unpack how the world works in a lot of ways.”

“The language of menstruation is really bound by the vocabulary of sexism, and the grammar of capitalism. And what I mean by that is, we think about menstruation as a woman’s problem to fix, it’s her burden and it’s her responsibility. Because it’s rooted in this idea, this misogyny, of hating women and disrespecting their bodies, and how their bodies perform. And the grammar of capitalism, which is: the body is a problem to be solved in consumer culture.”

Highlights:

  • How studying the body can give us insights into power, privilege and how the world works
  • What it means to be a scholar of social movements
  • How she came to combine feminist activism with menstrual health research
  • How deeply menstrual stigma, secrecy and “the necessity of silence” are embedded in our cultural fabric – and how product marketers reinforce and capitalize on that shame to sell period products
  • What inspired her book New Blood, which explores the menstrual activist movement in the global south – and key difference she’s found in low/middle vs high income countries
  • The role of The Palgrave Handbook for Menstruation Studies as a helpful resource for all people in the MHH field
  • The role of silence in perpetuating violence
  • The consequences of media and society viewing menstruation through a narrow, capitalistic and misogynistic lens

Connect:

Email: chris.bobel@umb.edu

Twitter: @ChrisBobel

Resources:

Palgrave Handbook for Critical Menstruation Studies

Scholarly Anthology (Be Press)

Bio:

Chris Bobel is Professor and past-Chair of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, USA. She finds the body, especially the body on the margins, a rich site where social norms, cultural anxieties and political agendas come to life. As a scholar of social movements, she is curious about how feminist thinking becomes feminist doing at the most intimate and immediate levels. At the intersection of these interests lies menstrual activism with a research and advocacy focus that has sustained Chris’s interest for nearly 20 years.

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Transcript:

Jessica Wiliams  0:02
Welcome to the Days for Girls Podcast, a show about breaking barriers for women and girls around the world. I’m your host, Jessica Wiliams, Chief Communications Officer at Days for Girls International. At Days for Girls, we believe in a world where periods are never a problem. We are on a mission to shatter the stigma and limitations associated with menstruation by increasing access to sustainable period products and menstrual health education for all people with periods.

Today’s guest is Chris Bobel. Chris is Professor and past-Chair of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Chris finds the body, especially the body on the margins, a rich site where social norms, cultural anxieties and political agendas come to life. As a scholar of social movements, she is curious about how feminist thinking becomes feminist doing, at the most intimate and immediate levels. At the intersection of these interests lies menstrual activism, with a research and advocacy focus that has sustained at Chris’s interest for nearly 20 years.

She is the author of many books – most recently, The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South. She is also co-editor of three books, most recently, of the open source and field defining Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, which to date has been downloaded over 656,000 times. She is at work on a new ethnographic project, exploring contemporary activism inspired by grief and trauma. I could have talked to Chris for hours. So I’m really excited to share this conversation with you. Now let’s go on to the show. The first place I want to start our conversation with is about a viewpoint on the body and your perspective of the body. You say in your bio, that you believe the body is a rich site where social norms, cultural anxieties, and political agendas come to life. And I think that that’s so fascinating. So can you take me deeper into that?

Chris Bobel  2:15
Sure. I love that question. I’ll put it this way. I think when we study the norms that define, you know, a good body, what makes an attractive body, what makes a respectable body, we open up the real possibilities to understand how power and privilege work. In other words, studying the body is a window into hierarchies, and marginalization and just generally the values that shape our everyday realities, whether we’re central because we enjoy power and privilege, or we’re marginal, because we don’t. I think the body is like I say, in that bio, a really rich site, it’s a, it’s a messy place. It’s a place of contradiction. The body itself is a site of power and pleasure and potential and peril. And so when you dig into understanding, you know, what we say about bodies, how we manage our bodies, whose value whose bodies we value more than others, I really think we can sort of unpack kind of how the world works in a lot of ways.

Jessica Wiliams  3:20
Okay, fascinating. I think that’s a great place to start. And you are a scholar of social movements. Tell me more about that. I’ve never met anyone who described themselves as a scholar of social movements.

Chris Bobel  3:34
Oh, okay. Um, so there’s lots of us – I’m not that special. A scholar of social movements can come from any number of fields. My strongest training as associates is in sociology. But there’s historians, for instance, to study social movements, there are political scientists, there are economists. And of course, there’s gender studies, scholars who themselves by definition are interdisciplinary. And a scholar of social movements is interested in how change works, right. So though people collective change, so they can be small movements that can be large movements, they can be the tactics or strategy within movements. We’re interested in the stuff of social change. And as a feminist, I’m interested in the stuff of feminist inspired social change. So how do feminists sort of translate their theory into practice? How do you how do you think critically about a social issue and translate that into a specific set of strategies to affect change – to move the needle on something, be it, you know, in the legislature or in the policy realm? Or maybe it’s something more sort of less defined like, you know, the cultural values and systems that we want to push back against because they’re oppressive?

Jessica Wiliams  4:53
Well, it’s interesting because I’ve been I consider myself a feminist and I’ve been working in the feminist space for a while. I even worked at an OB/GYN clinic at one point in my career and it never occurred to me that menstruation could be an aspect of feminists or feminism as a movement. And you have, you’ve managed to combine these two, you’ve got the social movement of feminism and menstrual health. And your work really lies at the intersection of those two. So tell me more about how you arrived there.

Chris Bobel  5:25
Yeah, so it’s a story that reveals how little I had thought about menstruation, like most of us. I mean, that’s the genius of menstrual stigma, is that it not only keeps menstruation out of sight, but it also keeps it out of mind. So I, you know, I’ve been thinking critically about feminism and about, like I said, social change. And I was really interested in breastfeeding and home birth and natural foods consumption. And, you know, moms who live off the grid as a way to build a better, stronger family and a better stronger kid. And I’ve been really thinking a lot about the intersection of like the environmental movement and the women’s movement, never thought about menstruation, never thought about it critically, never thought about it as a feminist issue. Never thought twice about tampons, or pads or access to those things. Didn’t think about corporate menstrual care, didn’t think about using shame to sell as problematic… just was not on my radar at all. And so I had this sort of doubletake, which was when I encountered the issue, the first time in a little workshop at a women’s music festival, frankly, I was fascinated by like, wow, you can think about this through a feminist lens. Wow. And then I thought, and how come I never have? So it was sort of like a double question. Like, I have more – I have so many questions about this. And I have so many questions about the fact that I didn’t think about this before, you know what I mean? So it became a fascination of mine, because I thought, wow, there’s a lot to say here. And the fact that we’re not saying it is itself really fascinating.

Jessica Wiliams  7:06
Yeah, you know, and I’ll be the first to admit that that just had not gotten on my radar. I’m 40 years old. And until Days for Girls came along in my life, I wasn’t aware that this was an issue. And you, you said something about how shame and stigma, like how kind of covert it is… that wasn’t your language. But that’s the interpretation I’m making. Is that it even has an effect on us as women.

Chris Bobel  7:37
Absolutely. In fact, in some ways that has a stronger effect, because we’re tasked with keeping our menstrual realities, hidden, and silent. And so we are the guardians, right? We are the we are the ones responsible for doing the sort of cultural work of keeping this issue, to us the tired cliche under wraps. And so in some ways, women are even harder, and other menstruators are even harder on others. Because we’re all sort of colluding in a way like this is our work. And we have to hold each other to this very high standard of shame, silence and secrecy. Hmm, interesting. And I know I don’t want to dwell here, because we’ve only got 30 minutes, but I feel like you and I could go so many different ways. But I want to go back to something that you said you said, using shame to sell menstrual products. And until now, that never occurred to me that that that was a thing.

If you think about the history of menstrual product advertising, which is, you know, not that old, really, you know, just over 100 years. It’s always pivoted or always sort of rely, I should say, on on the menstrual mandate of: the most important thing is that you keep this hidden. And so it’s absolutely leveraging this idea of menstrual shame, that the most important thing is that nobody knows you’re on your period, right? And so we are going – we, marketers, and you know,  representing our corporations – we’re going to convince you that our product is going to prevent you from leaking, staining and disclosing the fact of your menstrual status. And you will reward us with your purchase, because you’ve put your trust in us that we’re going to help you keep your secret, your dirty little secret.

I mean, in recent years, you know, there have been some innovations, I’d say or some intervention,s that have pushed back against that narrative, which is, the single most important thing is that nobody knows you’re on your period and we will help you with that. But it’s still still sort of subtly in the background and even in a lot of the menstrual activism that’s going on today. It’s always subtly in the background, that the horror of menstrual disclosure is the thing we really cannot abide. Right. So whatever resources we can mobilize to make sure that menstruators will not be revealed as menstruators unless they choose, of course. But most menstruators do not make that choice, because it’s socially constructed as something you should keep to yourself. So, we really can’t seem to detach from this, this necessity of menstrual silence. And the engine of that is menstrual shame. And in corporations, product makers have been brilliant at leveraging that

Jessica Wiliams  10:33
Of course they have, right. The best thing that sells is fear.

Chris Bobel  10:37
Right, the fear appeal, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a fear appeal or more precisely, maybe a shame appeal. Right. And it’s, it’s really effective. I mean, I think we’re all vulnerable to that.

Jessica Wiliams  10:50
Pivoting a little bit. You have written three books, and most recently, a book called The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South., which won an award, and so can you talk to us about why you wanted to focus that book on the global south, and that research on that area of the world?

Chris Bobel  11:13
Sure. So I’ve written a book prior to that called New Blood, which explored the menstrual activist movement, the social movement focused on menstrual health in North America, and when I was done with that book, I thought I was, you know, done with this topic, and I was gonna move on to the next research project, whatever that might be. But as I was wrapping up that analysis, which was really fun to do, and way more interesting and multi-layered than I expected, when I embarked on the project, initially, when I first learned about menstrual activism. Just around that time, I started to notice that there was an interesting sort of related movement happening in on global development agendas, that UN agencies and increasing number of NGOs like Days for Girls were, you know, emerging to address the mental health needs of menstruators, primarily girls in schools, and low and middle income countries. And it looked different, the movement, the work, the agenda, the strategies, the priorities, the discourses look different than they did in North America, where the activism is really centered around challenging the menstrual care industry using shame to sell – as we just talked about –  and  promoting the use of cloth as a low cost and more environmentally sustainable option. And tabeling about menstrual health on college campuses and radical cheerleading, and using menstrual fluid to make art to challenge menstrual stigma, real interesting stuff, real mixed bag of stuff, menarche rituals, that kind of thing.

But in the global south, it was all about getting girls in schools pads, and in some way, and in some places, building sex segregated toilets. So girls could, you know, have a safe and secure and clean place to change their pads? And I was like, what, why are there different priorities in one part of the world and another. And I wasn’t an expert, and still would not consider myself an expert in global development, or human rights, or  really, that whole world was really very, very not in my wheelhouse. But I realized that I wasn’t done talking about medical activism if I didn’t talk about meaning, collect data and analyze and draw some conclusions about it in the global south. And to sort of reckon with who’s saying, what about menstrual health? Who’s doing what about menstrual health? And what are the kind of pros and cons about these approaches, which are really gathering a lot of attention at that time, starting to get funders attentio?. And I just felt like, you know, this needs to be discussed.

Jessica Wiliams  14:15
I love that journey. And I love the way you tell it, it’s great. Now, when I came on it Days for Girls, you had just released, I think the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. And this is an open source book that you can download online. And it was handed to me and you know, said if you have time read this, and I looked it up, but I was like, oh my gosh, this is like a huge body of work and a massive undertaking! And you were the lead editor for this. So tell me help that book came about?

Chris Bobel  14:50
Yeah. So actually, when I was talking to an editor about getting a book contract for the managed body, the one about menstrual health campaigns in the global south. We had this really freewheeling discussion about other book projects, sort of, you know, like, what else is on your mind? What do you want to write Chris? And it was so fun to talk to an editor about that. And she suggested, this was an editor in Palgrave, who ultimately published both the managed body and the handbook. She suggested a handbook and I said, a handbook. Tell me more, I hadn’t thought about doing a handbook. I mean, a handbook is basically a massive edited collection. And I’ve done edited collections, but this is of a scale, you know, never seen before, by me. And so she said, well, handbook is, you know, really, it pulls together the scholarship that defines the field. And it’s a way to sort of articulate the state of the art, what we know and what we don’t know. So it’s become sort of the go-to resource for somebody new to the field, somebody’s curious about the field, somebody like yourself who might be in a new position, and like, what do we know about menstrual health.

And, of course, it’s not definitive, there’s there are 72 chapters, but there could be, you know, 7200 chapters, and we still wouldn’t cover it all. But it sort of maps the contours, and it’s designed to stimulate conversation. It’s not designed to be the final word, it’s actually quite opposite of that. It’s supposed to be like, okay, here we go. Scholars, advocates, activists, you know, podcasters, you know, social media aficionados and influencers. Here’s all that here’s, here’s a starting place for you to think about sort of intersecting issues. And now you can contribute your voice, you can mess it up, you can complicate it, you can challenge it, you can build on it. So I got excited about pulling together sort of the best of the material that we have, some classic summer reprints aer limited number, and most of it is new, original scholarship. And there are some other pieces that are we call practice notes, we have first person narratives, we have an essay that looks at and in prints on some beautiful visual art. We wanted to make it really complex and diverse and genre and to give people lots to chew on. So if you’re a historian, or you’re a science and technology studies person, or you’re, you know, you work on oryou run an NGO in Rwanda, we hope there’ll be something for everybody.

Jessica Wiliams  17:28
I think that there is – I’ve personally looked at this, and  there’s a lot there. So if you’re passionate, you’re listening, you’re passionate about menstrual health, it’s a must read, and what an epic piece of work that is. So one of the things that you’re now working on is exploring contemporary activism, as inspired by grief and trauma, and will that have a menstrual health focus as well?

Chris Bobel  17:58
It actually won’t. Well, it’s too soon to say but the plan is, is does not include a focus on menstrual health. I mean, I’ve been working on menstrual health issues for 20 years. And so I’m ready to shift. Although the sort of general conceptual framework is very consistent for me, I’m always interested in the things we don’t talk about. And try to understand why we don’t talk about them, and who benefits from that silence. So my interest in grief and trauma inspired activism is trying to reckon with how we, culturally speaking, manage when tragedy hits, for instance, think about school shootings, for instance. There is almost a there’s a predictable sort of series of events after the tragedy. And necessarily, there’s the vigil. There’s the call for your thoughts and prayers. And then there’s the, now we must help you know, the community and the impacted families find closure and move on. And I want to trouble that narrative based on what I’m hearing from survivors of tragedy, that they don’t want closure and moving on, they want accountability and they want support to remember their loved one. And remember the conditions that gave rise you know, be it poor gun control, or maybe you know, systemic racism, distracted driving, whatever gives rise, whatever conditions create this traumatic loss. So it’s really in a lot of ways related to my work trying to bring awareness to the work of menstrual stigma. I’m trying to bring awareness to the work of stigma in general, like the things we don’t talk about, why don’t we talk about them? We’re uncomfortable talking about death. We’re uncomfortable talking about loss, and we’re uncomfortable talking about violence at all. Other than in very superficial ways. So I want to kind of push, I want to pick at the superficiality a little bit and see what we can learn. And if we can do better.

Jessica Wiliams  20:08
That’s great. I always say that too. If something’s happening, and you don’t understand, it doesn’t make sense. You have to ask yourself, like, who’s benefiting from this? Why is there silence around this issue?

Chris Bobel  20:21
Exactly. So the silence, I think, is really revealing. And where there’s silence, I think we have to ask questions, we have to ask them respectfully, you know, we have to find the right time and place. And I think it’s our work, if we are to really be truly supportive of people that are marginalized by disaster, by poverty, by various dimensions of identity, by experience, then I think we need to listen to them, tell us what they need, and not presume that what they need is thoughts and prayers and closure and moving on. Maybe they’re related to mental health, they may not need a pad, they may need mental health education. They may not need mental health education, they need their boy classmates to stop teasing them. Right. So we have to find out in each setting what people want and need, and that begins with listening to them.

Jessica Wiliams  21:15
It totally does. One of the things that I’m loving about this podcast, you know, I’m really hoping that my listeners are learning alongside of me, because one of the things that I’m taking away from a lot of these conversations is the power of research, and, you know, feedback and experience – out in the field, talking to the individuals and gathering stories and data to figure out, what is, where’s the need, and how can we truly meet the need, and not just making assumptions.

Chris Bobel  21:46
I mean, we’re assumption making organisms. I mean, assumptions is how we organize our worlds and how we protect ourselves in a lot of ways, but assumptions also hurt others and many organize our worlds in ways that are actually destructive. So, you know, questioning our assumptions is really hard and vulnerable work. And yet, I think that without it, we really can’t, you know, improve quality of life, really anyone.

Jessica Wiliams  22:10
So one of the things that you do, is you often are consulted by mainstream media about menstrual activism, which, by the way, I think you’re the first person I’ve heard say menstrual activism, like as a phrase. So I think that’s a really interesting point. But when the media brings you on, like, mainstream media, I’m curious, like, what are they comfortable talking about? And where is their kind of entry point into the conversation about menstrual activism?

Chris Bobel  22:40
Pads, Pads, Pads, Pads, I mean, that’s the entry point. And, you know, and, you know, hey, an entry point is, by definition, an entry point, but what often happens is that nobody steps through the door, you know, they sort of like knock, knock, let’s talk about, you know, pads, let’s talk about this new policy or this new, you know, this this bill before, fill in the blank legislature. And then that’s all they want to talk about. And it’s, it’s pretty frustrating, because, you know, pads are only a tiny portion of what we are up against when it comes to promoting menstrual health and body autonomy, and quality of life.

Jessica Wiliams  23:26
Do you ever take that opportunity to pivot to, you know, more impactful conversation?

Chris Bobel  23:31
I try! I do. I often, I’m always amazed at how much I just prattle on in these, you know, these founders, they call them journalists, call them phone owners, you know, they call me and they say, you know, we’ll talk for 15 minutes. And we talked for an hour, and my jaw’s literally tired afterward. And I’m so hopeful that some of the conversation beyond pads, you know, will show up in the piece, and it rarely does. And so I’ve, I know that I need to do a better job of being to the point and making really clear what’s at stake. Because I think it’s such a hurdle to overcome, which is thinking about menstruation as more than a problem of products. As I have said before, you know, the language of menstruation is really bound by the vocabulary of sexism, and the grammar of capitalism. And what I mean by that is that we think about menstruation as a woman’s problem to fix right, it’s her burden and it’s her responsibility because it’s rooted in this idea, this misogyny, right of hating women and, and disrespecting their bodies, and how their bodies you know, perform, if you will, and the grammar of capitalism, which is the body is a problem to be solved in consumer culture. So whatever “problem,” if you can see my air quotes, of the body we may encounter – the solution is in buying a product or a service. So it makes perfect sense that we would..as long as we conceptualize menstruation as a problem, then we’re going to seek in search of a solution. And the solution is almost always material. And when I say material, I literally mean like a material, I don’t mean like knowledge as a material, right or, or ideology as a material. So it’s, it’s really hard to think past that really narrow frame, we don’t think about other dimensions of the menstrual of menstruation itself, even that period of bleeding, like pain, for instance, we typically don’t think about the other three phases of the menstrual cycle, we don’t typically think about the menstrual cycle across the lifespan, we tend to stop thinking about menopause and perimenopause, which is really unfortunate, because the latter end of the reproductive health cycle also, you know, presents needs and challenges and joys. So we really have this very limited way that we think about these issues, and and that very limited way, sort of as a setup for the product solution.

Jessica Wiliams  26:13
And, unfortunately, people want the solution on a bumper sticker, right? They don’t want, I mean, menstrual health is a very complex, complex issue. And there’s a lot we don’t know about it. There’s a lot we do, and it takes nuance, and a lot of times I don’t think that people have the bandwidth for that.

Chris Bobel  26:35
I think you’re right. And, you know, and that’s, you know, there’s a lot of reasons for that. I mean, there’s there’s funder priorities, there’s our sort of, like you said, bandwidth, our sort of our, our capacity to listen to complexity to engage with complexity. I mean, quick fixes, silver bullets, those are very appealing. I love them, too. You know, I want my life to be easier. I want to know, like, what can I do to make a difference? You know, where do I write my check? Who, to whom do I donate? What do I buy or not buy? Who do I boycott? I mean, it’s really helpful when people hand it to you like, here’s a big problem. And here’s a simple solution. But whenever there’s a simple solution, I am immediately suspicious because it just can’t be that simple. And it’s sort of, it’s seductive, right? Simplicity is seductive. I think when it comes to menstrual health, as you said, there, it’s so nuanced. It’s so complex, it’s so contextual, right? It’s so situational. I mean, depending on what body you inhabit, in what place? And what time, your role, your resources, right, that shapes your mental experience, and I don’t presume to know what you need. And yeah, I think we do sort of try pad promotion approach for everybody, which I think misses the mark for a lot of folks.

Jessica Wiliams  28:00
Mm hmm. Well said, well said. Well, I’m really fascinated by your work and the intersection of the body and and social change. And I really look forward to following your work around grief and trauma. And I’d be curious if you if you open it up, like I think a lot of women, right, have a lot of grief and trauma around their menstruation, they we all have a story that traumatized us, or at least I do. And I know all my friends do so.

Chris Bobel  28:30
Yeah. You know, that’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I think I want to be careful to not sort of reinscribe the idea of the period is traumatic. At the same time, listen to people and what they have to say. I mean, why? Why is menstruation traumatic, because we socially constructed that way, right? And there are some people that really have painful periods, who are persecuted because of their menstrual experiences, or menstrual realities. I’m not trying to dismiss or erase them. But generally, this is a pretty mundane reality of having a female body. And we construct it as as a crisis, as a high genic crisis, you know, as the potential to be like a social outcast, because you fail to play by the rules of shame, silence and secrecy. So I think it’s interesting to think about, so the trauma of menstruation. I’d like to think about that a little bit more. ,

Jessica Wiliams  29:25
Yeah. Well, I know you said earlier, your focus is going to be more on gun violence that sounds like which it’s very, you know, fascinating, because there is a massive movement in this country for change around that. So that that would be a very interesting way to take that. But I do see a lot of a lot of action happening in the grief space. I remember coming on – I’m a certified life coach – and I remember when I first started my work, there weren’t a lot of resources around grief. And now there’s more and more coming out and I think people are getting more comfortable talking about it.

Chris Bobel  30:04
Yeah, I mean, that’s interesting. I that would be kind of cool to map that if indeed there it is there is an increase in resources, or is it were noticing them more, you know, and maybe it doesn’t matter, you know, the perception is powerful. I’m curious about if those resources actually are touching the people that are struggling with grief and trauma, I specifically interested in those that, that experience grief and trauma and become activists. In other words, their grief, and trauma inspires their activism. Because not everybody that experiences grief, and trauma becomes an activist and not every activist is inspired with grief and trauma. So it’s a very specific group of people that I’m interested in, it’s not just those exposed to gun violence, although that is a big population, also interested in those incidents that experience police brutality, you know, those affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, who’ve lost their loved ones to police violence. But But I’m interested in this, this relationship between experiencing something really traumatic and transforming that if you will, into activist engagement, you know, in other words, this happened, and it’s wrong, and I’m going to speak out about it so that it doesn’t happen again.

Jessica Wiliams  31:20
Mm hmm. I love that I, you know, that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to the work of Days for Girls and feminist work, because of trauma I’ve experienced in my life. And I know many, many women who, you know, end up, you know, becoming feminist activists because of trauma. So I really look forward to seeing where that goes.

Chris Bobel  31:42
I do too. And I look forward to seeing where it will go to, it’s been challenging to get the project off the ground with the pandemic, typically, I would be attending conferences and support groups and going to various activist, you know, events, people who are organizing events organized by the very activists I’m interested in, and I’m not really able to do that other than via Zoom. So with the sort of research lacks the kind of texture you would normally encounter when you’re meeting with people in a physical space and having coffee with them and marching with them, you know, in a city street. So I am struggling a little bit with getting sort of, finding my way, although I have done some interviews, and some of my students have done some interviews, and they have been fascinating. And people are so generous with their stories and their insights. And so affirming of the need for this project, which is, you know, a researchers dream when somebody says, I’m glad you’re asking that question, you know, you’re talking to so and so because they probably have something to say about it, too.

Jessica Wiliams  32:41
Mm hmm. Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, if people want to connect with you learn more about your work support you where can they find you?

Chris Bobel  32:50
Yeah, so I am not present enough on the internet for sure. I only use Twitter as a social media platform and only very infrequently, and I have really not a proper website at all, I only have a collection of my published work and media engagements and a Be Press site. So if you just Google my name, Chris Bobel and Be Press, B, E, P, R, E, S, S, you’ll find a place where you can find my work organized by category. And if a piece is open source, then you can link to it and find you know, read the article or the book chapter or the you know, press article about, you know, whatever I was quoted, and about something or somebody reviewed my work. I would really love to have a proper website, but I don’t at this point.

Jessica Wiliams  33:43
Alright, well, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. We’ll find that and we’ll put a link in there and to your Twitter profile and and also to the Palgrave Handbook, which I think is really, you know, for those who are interested, so they’ll be able to find all of those in the show notes. Chris, thank you so much for your time. This has been a wonderful conversation.

Chris Bobel  34:03
Thanks, Jessica. It was really fun to talk to you. I appreciate it.

Jessica Wiliams  34:08
The Days for Girls Podcast is produced by Days for Girls International. For show notes and resources mentioned in this episode, visit datesforgirls.org/podcast. If you’d like to support the work we do on the show, leave a rating or a review wherever you listen. Subscribe to the show, and share episodes on social media for with your friends. To learn more about Days for Girls and to join our global movement, please visit daysforgirls.org. Thank you for listening. See you next time.

Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams is Chief Communications Officer of Days for Girls International. She is also the host of The Days for Girls Podcast. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University in Communications and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from The University of Oregon. She is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Nonprofit MBA program.