“Women’s studies has only been around for 40 years. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this course, it’s that this knowledge isn’t meant to end with you.”
These words, spoken from my favorite women’s and gender studies professor, Rhea Hirshman, has remained a guiding principle in my life. It’s always resonated and is really what inspired my brain child, pun intended, Blessed Be The Brains.
I felt as if I were bursting at the seams with feminist theory and issues.
I needed an outlet to share with other people. This knowledge wasn’t meant to end with me and I needed to do something about it.
With being so vocal on social media, I always had friends coming to me to ask about specific issues or what certain theories meant in larger contexts or even just looking for a place to start in being a better feminist. By no means did I, nor do I still, have the answers, but I just wanted to give them a place to have their own feminist awakening. And so, Blessed Be The Brains (the podcast) was born.
The name came to me in an afternoon. It represents a rejection of the patriarchal mindset from the world of The Handmaid’s Tale where rather than reducing women to just their fertile bodies with “blessed be the fruit”, I flip the narrative on its head to value their minds instead.
After a few episodes, multiple states began cracking down on abortion laws and I was horrified. I immediately thought about the Jane Collective, an underground network that risked their lives to provide safe abortions at a time when it was illegal. It was a referral service where people would ask for “Jane”. I wondered if that was where we were heading — again. My mom and I had already begun conversations about being drivers, escorts, and safe housing for travelers. I felt helpless and wanted to use my, at the time, small platform to do something.
My friend approached me about starting a shop to donate proceeds to organizations in the fight for reproductive rights like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Yellowhammer Fund, and more. From there, the shop and Instagram really began to explode. What started as just a couple hundred friends turned into a community of thousands of people engaging with social content across platforms, purchasing shirts and stickers, and building community with one another.
Although initially a political and feminist podcast and shop, Blessed Be The Brains quickly became a social resource for progressive issues and ideology on Instagram. I always wanted Blessed Be The Brains to center community voices. What I began to realize was sharing quick bites of information, especially in the form of tweets, is what resonated. And so, here we are two years later and almost 20,000 followers strong.
I never wanted this project to come across as if I had all the answers because my god, I don’t. Every day I question my feminism and ask myself how I can make it more inclusive, more intersectional, and more accessible to all. Every day I try to find ways to uplift and support voices that aren’t my own. Through Blessed Be The Brains, I have been able to make this a reality.
Just how Blessed Be The Brains has never wavered in its mission to spark conversation, encourage learning and growth, provide information and resources, and build community — I have never wavered in my own mission to ensure that my feminism doesn’t start and end with me.