Youth for Positive Change spoke to Christine Wincentaylo about her activism with Girl Gang Strong Inc. and her experience with feminism and body positivity.
Hey Christine. Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. First off, could you describe your activism and work with Girl Gang Strong Inc.?
My activism mainly focuses on destigmatizing and normalizing conversations surrounding mental health with youth, creating a platform for the body positivity movement, and creating a lasting change in the world. I have spoken at multiple summits, discussing important issues surrounding mental illness. At Girl Gang Strong Inc., I am the Community Engagement Coordinator. This means that I help to develop engaging content for the Girl Gang Strong Inc. app and blog. I also contribute resources to help girls connect.
What are some practical things we can do to confront sexism in our communities and the wider world?
It is vital to start speaking up about sexism whenever you encounter it. While this may be difficult at first, it is necessary to call out misogyny in order to stamp it out. Educating yourself about sexism in its many forms is also a worthwhile endeavor as it can open your eyes to the ways in which sexism has permeated our culture. Teaching proper gender-sensitivity language (i.e avoiding gender-biased language!) is also important and useful.
We know that a lot of your work relates to body-positive activism. Recently, there has been an uptake in the “body neutrality” movement, which supports the idea that we should spend less time focusing on our appearance and put more focus on the things that bring us joy. Do you believe that body positivity and neutrality can work side-by-side?
I believe that both movements are intertwined. I even wrote an article about it with The Female Lead that anyone interested should check out!
Personally, I believe that the media has created an “idealized” body type, which makes those with bodies outside the norm feel inadequate. Body positivity and body neutrality both have the potential to work together to create acceptance, foster self-love and challenge our collective beauty standards.
How has feminism impacted your life personally?
Feminism has allowed me to expand my belief systems and has truly affirmed for me that everyone - regardless of gender, race, age, religion or sexuality - deserves to be treated in an equal manner. As a young woman, I want to use my voice for what I believe is right. Feminism has empowered me to do this and shaped me into the woman I am today.
Finally, how can those interested get involved with Girl Gang Strong Inc.?
BIOGRAPHY: Christine Wincentaylo is a mental health activist, speaker, blogger and body-positive advocate. She spoke at Haven 2020 and has other webinars coming up in the near future. Christine also has a blog on Peace of Mind Canada and is training to become a social worker. Follow her on IG @christinemhw