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Hannah Moore Interview: Feminism 2020

Hannah Moore, 33, is the volunteer coordinator at Trama Textiles. She has been based at Trama Textiles since February 2019. She is from the UK and has a B.A in Textile Design from Manchester Metropolitan University. 

Hannah Quote: 

think campaigns like the ‘Me Too’ movement and the Chilean women’s movement indicate a swing towards feminist movements becoming more prominent via social media outlets. Social media is key in transferring the power back to the people.” 

What made you want to volunteer for a women’s co-operative like Trama Textiles? 

My main incentive was related to the textile component. I specifically wanted to work with a textile co-op. The story of Trama was very inspiring as it sprang from such a difficult time. And the fact that it’s owned by women and and led by women meant that I felt very inspired by Trama’s ideology around coming together to come out of the hardship. 

Do you consider yourself to be a feminist and what does ‘feminism’ mean to you? 

I do, and coming here to Guatemala has made me think about this a lot more. My perspective on feminism has changed a lot since I moved here in the sense that it’s brought a lot of issues to light. Developing connections with indigenous women from rural communities has made me realise how many privileges and liberties I have taken for granted.  I feel less able to walk around safely at night here as a woman and I dress more conservatively to keep myself safer. 

How do you see the global feminist movement evolving in 2020?

I feel as a movement it has really picked up in the last couple of years…..I think campaigns like the ‘Me Too’ movement and the Chilean women’s movement indicate a swing towards feminist movements becoming more prominent via social media outlets. Social media is key in transferring the power back to the people.   

To what extent does an organisation like Trama Textiles serve as a political statement in a country like Guatemala? 

It’s important in a country like Guatemala to have organisations which are female run. Weaving, particularly backstrap weaving, is a very female dominated practice, but what makes Trama stand out is that there are no men involved in the running of the organisation. Both the President and the Vice President are women, and very inspiring ones at that! 

What kinds of issues do you see women in Guatemala struggling with, which differs perhaps from the sorts of issues women in the UK face? 

It varies greatly depending on class. The issues indigenous women face here are monstrous. They often have no independence, no autonomy around marriage, very limited access to education and very high levels of illiteracy which shuts down so many opportunities. In the UK, we still faced discrimination of equal opportunities, but at a much lower level. And as a western woman I’ve felt more restricted here in Guatemala.

If you had a daughter, how would you like her experiences of growing up as a female to be different to yours? 

I’ve been lucky in my upbringing. I had the education that I wanted, I’ve traveled alone, I’ve played rugby which is a typically very male dominated sport. I still see people raising kids according to typical gender stereotypes; encouraging their daughters to look ‘pretty’ etc. If I had a daughter, I would try not to use gender stereotypes. If I had a child, I feel I would be able to offer them great opportunities because of the very fortunate upbringing that I had. 

To what extent do you see the feminist movement intersecting with other movements such as the LGBTQI movement and Black Lives Matter?

I think the topics of sexuality and the non binary movement are very connected with feminism because they are based around getting equal rights based on gender and orientation. Each of these movements are based on the universal right to be treated as a fully equal human.

What aspects of the ‘conditioning’ that you experienced do you think limit your sense of what’s possible for you, as a woman? 

I don’t feel I’ve ever been particularly restricted by my gender, however I do recall when I was at school, wanting to choose ‘resistant materials’ (woodwork) as one of my high school GCSE options and since I was the only girl who signed up for this option, the boys teased me mercilessly, so I walked away from the class, and wandered down the corridor to sign up for textiles instead! So although this initially doesn’t seem like such a big deal perhaps, it actually changed the whole trajectory of my life, since I went on to study textiles at university!

To what extent do you see yourself as an empowered woman?  

I feel really empowered in the sense that I have a lot of opportunities and freedom as a British woman. I don’t feel it so much on a personal level because my parents are not particularly assertive so I haven’t had that as an example. I feel least empowered in the area of creating boundaries and expressing opinions. But in my work life, I feel extremely empowered because I know I’m making a real difference. 

What makes you feel most attractive? 

It’s when I feel most confident in myself and genuinely happy. I’m quite an extrovert and when I have conversations and share jokes with friends and everything feels aligned, that's when I feel most confident. When friends see the real me, that’s when I feel most happy. Also, when I’m tanned on the beach I also feel great!! 

If there was no such thing as a glass ceiling what would you do?

I’m not particularly career minded, so I would happily paint and make things for the rest of my life, but with other artists around to create that creative buzz! ...In saying that, being part of social change here at Trama is a very humbling experience, so using art or crafts as a tool for change would be my ideal.

In which ways do you think societal expectations of men and women differ?

I think there’s definitely more of an expectation for women to look a certain way….to maintain their appearance, and if you don’t, there’s a sense that you’re somehow failing at being a woman. There’s also an expectation for women to be less confrontational and opinionated than men. 

Who is your female icon and why? 

I really admire my friend Emma who always says what she thinks and I really admire how she can approach an argument in a really balanced way. She has a vulnerability about her….a sensitivity, but she also has great strength and power.