I met Nancy where it's now possible to easily meet people from the other side of the world, on Instagram. Commenting on the same posts, caring about similar things.
She is unapologetically Nerd and Plus Size, and she has created a community around those 2 stigmatised things for women. And she shouts about them, celebrates them and uses them as a superpower, one that also elevates everyone else!
But sure she will explain all this much better herself below!
* Who is Nancy Basile?
I've been many things throughout my life: daughter, actress, singer, writer, mother, wife. I grew up in West Virginia, but I've lived all over the country, including Los Angeles. Now I'm settled in Pennsylvania living a dream life, with a loving husband and two amazing teens. I spend my days crafting digital marketing campaigns for my clients and nurturing the Plus Size Nerd community that I started building in 2018. I spend my evenings, working out, feeding my family and driving my kids all over creation. It's taken me several decades, but I finally feel like I know exactly who I am, and it's a powerful feeling.
* What is the goal of the Plus Size Nerd Project?
I want women of every size and shape to feel confident, to love themselves and to share their light with the world. When women feel good about themselves, they are so powerful! And they're in a position to raise up someone else who needs to let their light shine. Plus size women feel like outsiders because the media and the fashion industry make us feel that way. (It's changing, but we have a very long way to go until everyone is truly accepted, no matter what size they are.) And even with the success of Marvel movies, nerds feel like outsiders too. Combine those two traits and it becomes very difficult to find your people! I created Plus Size Nerd so that plus size women can come together to celebrate their curves and their fandoms.
* What is the biggest impact it has?
A woman recently joined our private Facebook group and told me that because she lives in a small country, she has no one to shop with, no one to talk to about the TV shows and movies she loves. She was so thankful to have found our strong, supportive group. That's the impact Plus Size Nerd has, making a plus size woman feel like she belongs. That she's not alone and there are other women who completely understand her frustrations and insecurities. Several women have thanked me for creating a fun, uplifting space where they can vent and share their wins. I believe it helps us get closer to being our best selves. That's priceless.
* Why is that a feminist Project?
Plus Size Nerd is a feminist project because it's about empowering women to love themselves so that the world becomes a better place to live. Women are told, in indirect and direct messaging, that we should always put ourselves last in order to take care of others. That message makes us feel like our needs and wants don't matter, like we don't matter. Plus Size Nerd is about turning that hierarchy upside down and putting ourselves first. When you love yourself, and believe in yourself, you can accomplish incredible things in your life. And you have enough power and energy to lift up those around you. It has a ripple effect that creates a wave of positive energy and power that can literally change the world.
And here it is, our "One Fits All" Feminist questionnaire
What is Feminism for you?
Feminism, for me, is about raising up women to an equal plane. It's about treating women with the respect we deserve and acknowledging our skills and talent. That can come in big ways, like creating equal pay for equal work, or in small ways, like refraining from interrupting a woman while she's speaking. Feminism is about shattering the mold we've been forced into for hundreds of years and allowing each woman to take her own shape alongside men.
Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?
Where do I begin? Off the top of my head, the one that bothers me most is that men judge women on their looks, no matter what the situation is. Whether it's seeing a woman doing the weather on TV, a woman in the boardroom, or a mom at school drop-off, men think it's okay -- no, expected -- to judge a woman's looks against ridiculous expectations. And usually comment out loud. That drives me crazy. I remember when a famous shock jock ranted about how bad Kathy Griffin looked during her press conference when she was apologizing for a publicity stunt. She was crying and crying, and he went on and on about how bad she looked. I was like, so when someone has a trauma in their life, they should be red-carpet ready? Cue me saying, would you say that about a man? I'm so done with that judgement.
Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?
I don't remember ever not identifying as a feminest, even when I didn't know it was a word. I can remember a few instances when I was 5 years-old when I had to stand up for myself just for being a girl. I experienced the same righteous rage then as I do now. In elementary school, I wanted to start a little newspaper that would address some of the sexist things I saw going on. Our principal shut it down because it was too dangerous and inflammatory. He asked me, one time, if I owned a brush. He was my first nemesis. (As an aside, the rumor in town was that the principal didn't allow his wife to wear pants. I don't know if it was true, but I never saw her in pants.) My feminist outrage blossomed very early on.
Who is your biggest feminist role model?
Whew! I've had so many in my life. Right now, I'd say Emma Watson. I absolutely love that she feels zero need to find a husband and has no qualms talking about it. She's also made her sexuality a priority, and let it be known! That's huge. When a woman feels like she has the absolute right to the same sexual satisfaction and exploration as a man, you know our society is headed in the right direction.
What is your favourite Feminist quote?
"Independence is happiness." Susan B. Anthony. (It's hard to pick just one!)
What is your proud feminist victory?
That I have raised a daughter and a son who have no idea that women and men aren't equal. I watch my children and listen to what they say, and it never occurs to them that a woman couldn't be president, couldn't be a doctor, couldn't be fulfilled at home. To them, a woman can be anything as long as it makes her happy. They are amazing people and I'm overjoyed to know them and to think that I had something to do with how incredible they are.
What is your feminist recommendation?
Book:Girls and Sex
TV show:Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?
You can find her in @plussizenerd in Instagram and https://www.facebook.com/plussizenerd in Facebook, and she will be sharing on our blog some tips about building a positive body image very soon!
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