Interview with Izzy Aronson

Tell us about your activist work!

A lot of what I do is utilizing various platforms to spread awareness and my voice in order to educate others and promote positivity, these platforms varying from my social media accounts to my art and writing to protesting. I am also currently working to organize a youth rally to oppose the Trump Administration and their values and actions. I hope to include various forms of art such as poetry and general prose readings, musical performances, and visual art components.

Describe your biggest challenge in this work?

For four months at the beginning of this school year I attended a visual arts boarding semester school in Napa California where I really discovered who I was as a person and my passion for social activism and feminism in particular. In that community, my social consciousness was looked upon as a very positive thing and i was surrounded by like minded liberals. When I got back to Massachusetts all my friends were very supportive of how I had come into myself. However, California is quite the liberal bubble in some ways and I found it very difficult to acknowledge and respect all of the conservative viewpoints that were around me and the fact that a lot of these people were very undereducated about and unaware of many important issues.

Do you think the media does a good job of talking about the issue or community you are working with? Share some examples.

I primarily advocate for feminism and mental health stigmas, both of which the media largely fails in a lot of ways. Mental health stigmas are something I have had to deal with on a very personal level, as person who had ADHD, anxiety, and a mood disorder, and I feel that they way it is portrayed in both entertainment and the news only adds to the stigma. For example, the horror movie Split depicts Dissociative Identity Disorder in an extremely horrific way, and while entertaining it completely demonizes a very real mental illness that many good, genuine (non-murderer) people suffer from and takes away the illness’s credibility, making a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder seem like some sort of monster. As for feminism, the media portrays us as these bossy, power-hungry bitches who hate men or want women to “be the dominant gender,” which just is not true at all. The media really feeds into double standards concerning strength and opinions.

Can you describe a person, institution, or event that was important in your path into this work?

Planned Parenthood is an organization that I feel incredibly strongly about and I admire
everything they do for women and men who sometimes have nowhere else to turn. I’ve had friends who have been in rough situations in which they only place they felt that they could seek help was Planned Parenthood (not just for abortions!!). I think they’re work is amazing and so many people would be at loss for support if they didn’t exist.

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