The Super Unique Way This Instagram Account Raises Awareness For Women's Issues

Feminist Thought Bubble was started by young artist (now 20), Molly Williams, as a means to express her passion for women's rights through creating a portrait series of women (famous and not) that she draws with empowering quotes.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely, incredibly aware and wise beyond her years, Molly, about what inspired her into her work along with her views and perspectives on feminism and women's rights.

What inspired you to start Feminist Thought Bubble? Was there a particular situation that you found yourself in that propelled you to begin thinking more about women's issues?

Over the past couple of years--basically, since starting college--I have become more and more aware of the multitude of issues facing women around the world.  Part of this came from changing my frame of mind.  I began to realize that things society had conditioned me to accept and not make a fuss about, like getting catcalled since the tender age of eleven, were awful and inappropriate.  Another part of it came from increased awareness, like beginning to notice trends in the news and meeting a diverse group of women from all types of backgrounds.  Knowing and learning about other young women--media figures like Emma Sulkowicz, Malala Yousafzai and Amandla Stenberg, and leaders on my college campus--who were fearless and passionate even in the face of inhumane criticism and aggression made me feel that it was necessary to stop being complacent.  I've always loved art and writing, and I've always felt that they have the power to bring people together and generate change by arousing collective emotion.  

However, while I can look back now and see the series of events that inspired me to start Feminist Thought Bubble, the actual moment of creation was pretty haphazard.  I had been talking to my mom about ideas of chivalry, and how much they pissed me off, and I just made a drawing on a whim.  Then I thought, "I bet other people are annoyed by this too--maybe I'll post it in some kind of community forum."  It all grew out of that.

What do you think is among the more important obstacles that women are facing right now? 

I think that every issue that is a manifestation of patriarchal systems is important, and I don't mean to diminish anyone's struggle.  However, I think that American feminists, and more specifically white feminists (I'm using "white feminist" as a term for any feminist who ignores race, not as a term for feminists who happen to be white) tend to lose sight of the magnitude of some women's suffering.  Girls across the globe are forced into marriages as children, or into the sex trade.  Thirty-one million elementary-school-age girls are not in school, and seventeen million of them will probably never attend a day of school.  (These statistics are several years old, but they likely haven't changed much.)  Women are disproportionately likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and assault.  Many of these statistics increase dramatically among women of color and transgender women.  The intersection of class, race, gender, sexual orientation and identity is something that is often ignored, but is, in my opinion, the most important relationship to study.  Mainstream feminism's lack of focus on intersectionality is dangerous and frustrating.

As a 20 year old young woman, what obstacles or issues do you feel that you and your peers are prominently facing day to day? 

Something that's really important to me, and that is important to many of my friends and peers, is women's mental health.  In school, I am studying both psychology and the history of medicine and mental health, and there is a long legacy of women's behavior being falsely medicalized.  On the flip side, there is also a legacy of women's health concerns being ignored, or their health concerns being attributed to hormones or part of female nature.  I know many people who live with mental disorders of varying types; I think it's really common for people to first be diagnosed around college-age.  I think that many forms of institutionalized oppression against women (gender-based violence, sexual assault and harassment, body image standards) contribute to these disorders; meanwhile, stigma attached to them may make it difficult for women to seek treatment.  

Sexual assault is something that, of course, affects people of all genders and ages, but is rampant on college campuses.  I think that many important questions about consent and its meaning have come out of colleges.

Apps like Tinder (again, not age-exclusive), are really popular among my peers.  I think they make it increasingly clear that there is a double standard for deeming behaviors acceptable in men versus women.  Also, that many men expect women to tolerate their gross, pervy pick-up lines, and get mindblowingly angry when women refuse to be treated like sex objects.

What's next for you?

Long-term, after I graduate college, my hope is to have a health-related career.  No matter what I do, I hope that it will include both activism and some form of creative expression.  In the short-term, I will hopefully be releasing a limited line of feministthoughtbubble merchandise, with the goal of donating most of the proceeds to an organization that is working to provide education to women across the globe!

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