This past Saturday, my friends and I took a trip to Brooklyn. While there, we stopped by the store Bulletin.
Bulletin is basically the coolest feminist store. It is a female-focused startup company that links philanthropy with traditional retail.
This chain supports female-run businesses by showcasing 40 completely female-driven brands and featuring products made for women, by women. The store is affordable, relatable, and beneficial, as a generous percentage of your purchase goes directly to Planned Parenthood of New York City.
My friends and stopped at the store completely unplanned.. We just happened to see it and honestly, I call that FATE.
Introducing Feminism to My Friends
I know what feminism is or at least what it means to me, but the concept was unclear to my two friends. My friends- let's call them J and D- are international students from China. From my experience in China, many girls are not exposed to the idea of feminism and are therefore not interested.
HOWEVER, after I took them to the store, the began to gain interest in this foreign ideology.
Bulletin: The Ultimate Feminist Store
The Bulletin in Brooklyn is a glorious explosion of pink and yellow. On the wall, heir mission statement is largely displayed. It reads:
We wanted to create a place that felt tailor-made for girls like us. A place where we could fall in love with everything and actually afford it. A place where the retail staff was our age and cared about the same stuff we did. A place that used every inch of space to support and celebrate female voices. This store is fully stocked with our fave female-run brands, and a generous % of your purchase today goes directly to Planned Parenthood of New York City. Welcome to Bulletin. A store built by women, just for you.
I translated what the statement said to my friends to help them understand better, and I saw their eyes slowly light up.
We were amazed with the aesthetic. Since there were so much to look at in every corner, we all separated and looked at each product by ourselves while we absorbed the message of empowerment the store was sending.
Watching my Friends Connect with Feminism Through Retail
My friends carefully examined the products. While they were looking at shirt printed with, "Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman" and funky pins that had "Nevertheless She Persisted" engraved on them, I saw their eyes light up as if they had discovered an entirely new world.
From there, I explained what feminism’s definition, and more importantly, what it meant to me. I told them the difference between feminism in China and America, explaining some of the references printed on some of the things. I highlighted some of the gender stereotypes and double standards that girls face daily and many that we don't even realize.
I then asked them about what they though about the store and feminism.
Both of them said that it was COOL (non-sarcastically!). They said they have never seen and been exposed to anything like this. In China, girls are expected to have certain roles, body type, and personality- it is very suffocating.
When I explained that the reason feminism is a movement in America is largely because women realized that they do not have to fulfill these expectations and they do not have to work twice as hard to get to the same place as their male counterparts.
We chose to shatter assumptions and stereotypes by showing the world that we are not created from a cookie cutter. We are different and we are all uniquely beautiful in our own ways and have uniquely different ways of communicating our values, and our voices to our society. We all left feeling empowered and obviously with our purchases.
My point is we don't have to force feminism on others, we can show them what feminism could mean to them by embodying the very meaning of what feminism is for us and then introducing others.
After the trip, I reinforced that we do not have to live the society's expectation- in neither China or America.