A letter from your Editor-in-Chief, Lucia Tran. Dear readers,
I am so honored to be writing this letter to you today, especially on the Eve of Christmas. As you may have heard from our social networks, Zooey Magazine has launched a movement and a t-shirt line called "Brave." I am finally able to share with you my thoughts about this movement and why and how it came to be.
When I was seven, my grandmother came to visit my family for a few months. Like most children, I was marveled at the thought of an additional family member in the house, but also cautious with my personal space. Mind you, I was a very hardheaded child - I was often told I acted more like a 'boy,' than I did a 'girl.' I'd rather run around the neighborhood kicking soccer balls, than stay put at home.
My grandmother took good notice of how I behaved, and it dawned on me that she didn't like how my mother allowed me to act. One day, when my grandmother was in the kitchen with me, she began to offer me what she thought was a valuable life lesson. "A woman must learn how to properly cook and clean. It is the duty of the woman to maintain her house to the best degree. I do not agree with how you are allowed to drift about, and ignore your responsibilities. You must grow up to learn how to care for your future husband and children." I was baffled...for I was seven, and I felt she was overstepping her boundaries.
Growing up in the Silicon Valley was liberating. Children my age at that time were always taught about our basic human rights, and about the progressiveness of culture and society in America. We were always taught that our own capabilities extend further than what we can imagine. To be told that I will be nothing but a chef and a cleaning lady…well, that was unsettling to my elementary self.
As I grow older, I look back and try to understand why my grandmother thinks the way she did (and still does). I was raised on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and she was raised on traditional values from her mother and her grandmother. Clearly, we came from two separate worlds and our circumstances differed substantially.
Being women living in the 21st century, we have incredible privileges that we turn a blind eye to. When Malala Yousafzai (an incredibly brave 15-year-old girl) was shot by the Taliban last year for standing up for girls' education in Pakistan, it was yet another reminder as to how much we have and how much we take advantage of it. For something as basic as education, we sure have overlooked it as one of the greatest opportunities we can take. Malala figured it all out - she figured out the solution to racism, hatred, and discrimination. It's education.
My grandmother didn't have the same opportunities as I did, so we therefore have a clash of perspectives. I was lucky enough to finish basic education, and have the opportunity to continue higher education. I've learned that there is something that stretches far beyond the perimeters of my home - it's a dream. I know that there's more to life than having to serve a man...yet it depends on whether you are courageous enough to realize it. If we allow ourselves to be defeated, we allow our cultures to continue this cycle of inequality. And then to say that one is not a feminist is saddening, since feminism is a vital part of our everyday life.
This "Brave" movement isn't just about school education...it's also about educating women on their own self-worth.
There have been days when I could not get myself up to face the day, because I feared it. And surely, I have encountered my fair share of haunting moments when people have successfully made me feel like nothing.
Starting Zooey, for example, was not an easy road, and one that I thought would have been a dead end. I had those who supported me in the journey, and those who laughed and turned their backs against me. But, here we are. All because, at a moment's notice, I somehow had a hint of bravery...and that led to something incredibly magical and life changing. I wanted to be more than what society wanted of me, I wanted to be a leader in order to make a difference in other people's lives...and to help others become leaders as well.
Because when we are brave, we become world changers...whether that's our world, or someone else's. So it's time we stop living in fear, and time we step out of our own shells and begin making our dreams our realities.
To end this too-long-of-a-letter, here is my favorite video on the Internet.
No matter who you are, and in what position, be brave.
Here's to you all, women of the 21st century.
- Lucia Tran
As part of our Brave Movement, please feel free to share your stories with us about the endeavors you pursued whether they have been triumphant or not. Let's spread bravery.
Brave Design by The Painted Arrow
Sweater - Dear Creatures