Episode 5: Intentional Greatness In Feminism and Literature, with Renee Powers
Renee Powers is the founder of the Feminist Book Club, a monthly subscription box service that offers feminist literature and various self-care products for women + and queer-owned small businesses. Renee is also the host of Feminist Book Club: The Podcast, a weekly podcast series where she has fascinating conversations with feminist authors, writers, and readers. Renee obtained a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Saint Mary’s College and an M.A. in Communication from Northern Illinois University. In the six-year process of pursuing her Ph.D., Renee realized that she was unhappy and that her life was out of balance, and so she left her studies and began to follow her passion by founding the Feminist Book Club.
What You Will Learn:
- Renee shares details of how the Feminist Book Club works, including the community-driven voting on what books will appear in future boxes. Renee discusses the powerful community that has sprung up around the Book Club.
- Renee describes why she struggled during her pursuit of her Ph.D. and explains why she decided to become a proud “PhDropout”. She details the origins of her first podcast for the purpose of exploring her interest in interviewing fascinating women.
- Renee shares her difficulty processing the extreme stress she was under and the physical harm that stress was doing to her. Renee talks about the importance of therapy to help her get through her challenges.
- Renee talks about the community that has developed around the Feminist Book Club, and the important space that has been created to allow its members to discuss anything and everything in a safe, welcoming environment.
- Renee explains her feelings toward gender, sex, and desire. She explains the powerful influence of Judith Butler’s book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.
- Renee discusses why her marriage to her partner is the thing she is most proud of, and she shares why she and her partner chose to move to Minnesota and completely shake up their lives.
- Renee shares why she believes it is so crucial for women to begin talking to each other about money, and she explains why women traditionally have had a strange relationship with conversations about finances.
- Renee talks about her work on The Feminist Book Club: The Podcast and some of the guests she has been able to speak with. She explains the benefits she gets from interviewing her guests.
- Website: www.feministbookclub.com
- The Feminist Book Club: The Podcast: www.feministbookclub.com/podcast/
- Gender Trouble by Judith Butler: https://amzn.to/2Uf8jYK
Intentional Greatness in Feminism and Literature
You’re here because you know that learning never ends. You’re the kind of entrepreneur, business owner or leader who realizes that the pursuit of a perfect life, while a worthy goal, is also an impossible one. You know there is no end to the race, and you’re ready to power through anyway. You know that the climb to the top is endless, but you’re going to make the climb anyway. In short, you’re ready to become an unf♥<kwithable leader.
I’m excited to introduce you to Renee Powers. Renee is the founder of the Feminist Book Club, a service that is simultaneously a monthly subscription box, weekly podcast, and thriving and diverse community. Renee is passionate about driving important discussions on what it means to be a woman in today’s world and on the challenges we all face to be heard in an evolving but still patriarchal society.
In this episode of the Intentional Greatness Podcast, Renee and I talk about her education and her powerful decision to abandon her Ph.D. studies to pursue her passion. We discuss the Feminist Book Club and how it came to be, and the remarkable community that has built up around it. And we chat about the importance of self-care, safe spaces, and inclusive communities of people who support each other through the bullshit this world often throws at us.
What Defines Femininity?
Renee has a very inclusive view of feminism, and her community reflects that. Femininity doesn’t stop at heterosexual cisgender women, and for feminism to succeed it needs to allow a space for genderfluid, intersex, and transgender women’s voices to be heard. Renee’s idea of feminism isn’t an exclusive gated community but rather an open forum for people to discuss their own perspectives and the unique challenges they face every day.
This commitment to diversity and validity is reflected in the way Renee’s community votes on which books they want included in upcoming Feminist Book Club boxes. The books that have been offered aren’t always written from a feminist perspective as you might think, rather they are chosen based on whether they have something to offer that can spark a conversation and open a dialogue about women’s issues.
Why Community Matters
One of the most remarkable things about the Feminist Book Club is the incredible, passionate community that has been built around it. Members are offered many ways to voice their thoughts, not only about that month’s book selection, but about any of issues that intersect with feminism. Renee’s goal was to create an open forum where her members can discuss the challenges they encounter every day and while also lifting up and supporting each other.
This kind of empowerment is crucial. Too often, our society tries to shut down feminist voices, and so having a safe haven is important. Through Renee’s book club, its associated podcast, and the ongoing community discussions, Renee has created something truly remarkable to allow feminist voices to shine.
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