Q&A with Michaela
What is at the heart of your “agenda” as a creative partner for gender equality?
What I’m about as a creative partner for gender equality is real life. The mess, the beauty, the pain, the joy — all of it. And immersing myself in that. I talk about how I’m working with organizations who ultimately seek to help those affected by inequality and exclusion…but the reality is, we all are. Because what affects one affects us all. Allowing ourselves to be thin-skinned enough to be affected is absolutely crucial. I want to feel that suffering inside, because out of that place hopefully is birthed some kind of action that is meaningful and changes the situation that is causing pain and causing suffering. That’s the real Agenda. What Genderless Agenda is about, and I think even what the larger equality movement is about, is being affected by the suffering of others, so that you can engage and do something to change that suffering.
What is the change that you ultimately wish to see in the world?
What I see is a world where people are free from gender myths and stereotypes and the deep social structures that hold them in place. Where a child’s passions are not defined by a simple binary, where women are not seen as objects or deemed “less than”, and where love is not illegal. I see the end of gender discrimination, and sometimes people will say, “Well, that’s a bit naive.” No, I don’t think it is. I think it’s audacious, and it’s people with audacity that change the world. The beauty is that it’s not about me. It’s about a people that are rising up and saying “I believe in this kind of world.” That’s movement. We have activists mobilizing change every day from rural India to Washington. In everything they do, through every unique approach, activists are revolutionizing the way we view gender and interact with the world. That, right there, in big bold megaphone sound waves, is all part of the agenda. And it’s what keeps me continually buzzing and working hard to amplify such voices.
What kinds of people do you work with?
The people I work with do what they do with love and enthusiasm — and it shows. It’s the innovation and tireless energy people have to go out and really do the hard work to engage audiences to act. It’s the uniqueness I find in individual approaches and missions – from a single graffiti artist in Mexico City fighting patriarchy to a feminist knowledge network crossing continents to build cultures of equality. It’s the people who say, “Hell yes! This is what I can do and this is what I can bring to this movement. And in recognizing and committing myself, I’m part of this thing.” We all know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And my mission is just that — to help communicate these separate missions so that they can fuse together to shape the larger movement for equality, because that’s where I believe real change lives.
So what really is in the secret sauce of your creative process?
It’s not important how effective individual activists are; what really matters is how powerful our collective voice is. And as a creative facilitator, I’m focused on sharing the missions and stories that inspire, connect and drive action. I want to get at the heart of what individuals and organizations are trying to say. I guess my secret sauce would be the questions I ask and the patience I have to really hear the answers. I ask, “What is it that you love to do? What is it that you can do? What gifts are in you? And what do you have access to to make change? Because at the end of the day, it’s actually not at all about causes and issues. It’s about people, and that’s exactly who I intend to serve.