When people hear the word feminist sometime’s it’s comparable to hearing the word Ebola. However, when you put bitter in front of that word, you might be added to the listed of wanted terrorist. By any chance did you know that feminist bake, knit, love cartoons, and do all of the other things you do? Probably not because the word makes people defensive, but I think I can change your mind. I had the chance to chat with the Bitter Feminist herself, Alek Thoms, and it was such fun. We talked about everything from Donald Trumps comment on Hillary Clinton; to baking. So let’s get into some feminist talk with Alek.
Q: Can you please give use your name, background, business name, and business background?
A: My name is Alekzandra Thoms (Alleigh, more commonly), and I come from all over. I’ve moved eight times in my 17 years, and currently reside in a suburb of New York City! I don’t have much of any business background, technically. I just do what I love and sometimes manage to make a buck out of it!
Q: Lets talk about the name Bitter Feminist (which I love), what made you choose something that society could view as “harsh”?
A: Ha! Well, I came up with it as my tumblr URL a couple years ago so that it would be memorable, so I guess that sums me up. I want to be memorable. And I guess a name like that, being hard to forget, makes you think. I guess that’s what I wanted – people to think, ‘what are they bitter about? Why are they a feminist?’- and I didn’t care if someone thought that it was too up-front, or too “harsh.” Basically, I want people to know that I’m a feminist, and I don’t give a fuck what you think about that, or what your brother or boss or dad thinks of that. I’m a feminist, and I’m bitter.
Q: We see baking is your bff, why is that? What is your favorite dessert to bake? Why did you choose Vegan?
A: I’ve actually just gotten back into baking! I’ve always loved it – my dad’s a great chef, and we’ve always bonded over the food network. But in the pst couple years, I’ve more or less stopped watching TV. I found a cooking channel on YouTube called How to Cook That (by Ann Reardon), and it made me extraordinarily anxious to get in the kitchen. Then, just in this past summer, whenever I’m bored I turn on the Food Network and just get inspired! So when my mom wanted to go on a vegan cleanse for a couple weeks, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bake cool things like breads, because veganism is based a lot in the kitchen.
Q: Your picture captioned “I am a gift from God #thisonesforyouwil”, what was the inspiration for that?
A: Haha! This photo is funny because I took a great selfie with my armpit hair flowing in the wind, and you know, sort of sat on it, wanted to post it but also didn’t want to – not because of the armpit hair really, but because I was looking a little tired in it and my lipstick was a little faded. The “Wil” in the hashtag in my brother (I’m sure he’d be thrilled to know he’s making a cameo in this interview), who always jokes about how nasty my armpit hair is. During that week, I’d been saying things like if he braided it or paid me copious amounts of money I’d shave it. So, just to spite him I posted this photo on instagram and tagged him as the armpit hair!
A: I don’t know, really. I mean, art is huge in my family, but not visual arts. My parents are both professional opera singers and music teachers, my grandpa, dad and little brother are composers, and if you put my whole extended family together (paternal) you can literally get an entire chamber orchestra, complete with singers, composers and conductors. So, of course, I sing. But I honestly don’t know where my love of visual arts comes from!
As for inspiration, I get it from my friends, from nature, and from a lot of movies and, of course, the internet.
Q: Can you tell me about your patchwork and sewing? It’s great, do you plan on making it a career?
A: Thank you! I don’t know if I’ll make a career out of it, but I do enjoy doing it! It’s extremely calming and therapeutic, so after a tough day it’s easy to wind down with it, especially because I can watch a movie or a TV show while I do it. For example, I made a Robin Williams face patch while watching “The Birdcage” with my friends the moment after I found out about his death. It was, and is, really hard for me to deal with because he reminds me so much of myself and my grandpa, and sewing made it all bearable, and left me with a tangible reminder of his legacy.
Q: What is the average day for a Bitter Feminist?
A: Summer edition or real life edition? In the summer I wake up at noon, curse myself for waking up at noon, take my medicine (hopefully), try to find some food. I mainly sit around for a while doing nothing until I succumb to the fact that I’ll be sitting in my sweltering room finishing a commission and re-watching “The X-Files”, or “Twin Peaks” or “Mulan”. I do this most of the day, I usually forget to eat, I go on tumblr, and repeat until about 2am. Then I go to sleep. In real life, I wake up 20 minutes before school starts on a good day, otherwise it’s 5 minutes before, hopefully remember to take my medicine, search for food (usually to no avail), and blah blah blah (school). Then I’m interning at an after school program for little kids to sing and act, sometimes cute, most of the time tiring. Then I go home and sleep (this is usually at 9:30 pm, ironically).
Q: Being a feminist how do you feel about Donald Trump’s tweet “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes you think she can satisfy America?
A: Of course I’m disgusted, but then again everything this man says and does disgusts me. It’s disgusting that, no matter the situation or job, a woman is always watered down to a sex object. Because honestly, if you put any brain power into it, what has her ability to pleasure a man sexually got to do with being able to run a country?! She’s not running the country with her vagina! I have my own problems about why she won’t be able to “satisfy America” (Woo! Bernie 2016!!), but saying that it’s linked in anyway to her sexuality is reprehensible and plain idiotic. The fact that a qualified woman can’t run for president without it being turned sexual is disappointing.
Q: What is your message to women?
A: This is pretty hard because there are so many women in so many varied situations and at differing levels of oppression than myself, so anything I might say may be improbable for another woman. So I won’t say go online and look up every march you can find and march them, because not everyone can do one or the other or either of those things. But I will say, that loving yourself is hard as fuck, and sometimes almost impossible, so it seems; but if you tell yourself at every turn that you are the BADDEST bitch, and the most beautiful lady with the most beautiful eyes, who is worthy of all the love in the world because you can give all the love in the world, you will end up believing it. Tell yourself that your episodes and dissociation and pain and relapsing is going to end. Tell yourself it’s okay that it happened and that you’re a good person anyway. Fake it til you make it. Because loving yourself is one of the most radical, and revolutionary acts you can commit in this world. I would also say, try to question everything you do. The best way you, personally, can try to end oppression, is knowing how and why it manifests. When you look at the cover of a magazine, and ask yourself why you only see white women, when you watch TV and ask yourself why you only see skinny women, or when you do see fat women and ask yourself why they’re the butt of the joke, you’re beginning to understand how ingrained it is, how it’s being internalized. And when you understand, only then can you really try to fight back.
If you enjoyed this article and want to keep up with the Bitter Feminist feel free to follow her on her social media. In Alek’s words all her usernames use bitter feminist to some degree, so it is a little hard to miss her if you are looking. You can find her on tumblr (bitter-feminist), instagram (bitter_feminist), etsy (bitterfeminist), twitter (bitter_feminist) and polyvore (occassionally) (bitter-feminist). If you want to hear more of Alek in an inspirational way please follow her inspirational Instagram dedicated to her activism @bitterfeministinspo! I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed interviewing her. Please tune back in on Thursday to catch our interview with Raw the Poet!!