Ms ZiYou His and Her FI Bethany
Feminist

Bethany – His and Her FI – Being a Creative #financialfeminist

Ms ZiYou Lets meet financial feministsIt’s Friday, so time for Let’s meet Financial Feminists. This week I have the pleasure of introducing Bethany from His and Her FI.

I love her approach to financial independence as a creative, exploring the personal finance world from the arts rather than the more common science approach.

She shares my love for feminism, travelling to interesting places and even dreams of rescuing cats. 

Handing over to Bethany from His and Her FI

Please introduce yourself and your blog

My name is Bethany, and I am Her FI on the His and Her FI blog and podcast. We speak to couples who walk in the opposite direction of “traditional” navigate financial independence.

I was once a starving artist, turned broke teacher and now I am changing all of that with my partner, our two cats and two dogs.  

How would you describe your current stage of life?

If I had to choose only one word to describe what I do and even how I exist, I would say A Creative. This has been true for every stage of my life- even childhood. From photography to writing or even travel this is how I experience the world- as a creative.

It feels very natural for me to make and to do. On the other hand, it feels very unnatural for me to save and be frugal. It has been an interesting shift in my core as I create pieces of writing about my struggle or reality of what has been in opposition to myself. 

What are your personal values? 

I believe in balance, vulnerability and humanities unique ability to connect through the power of story. I think stories speak louder than spreadsheets and this is exactly why our recent venture in podcasting has been more about the why and less about the how. 
Speaking up and helping others find their own voice in various mediums has been a strong suit of mine, and also my main “why” for  my current career’ teaching.

What are your dreams and plans for the future?

A  secret dream is to rescue a million cats and teach them all how to walk on a leash. I just wanted the city with tons of cats on leashes. What an amazing existence! 

In all seriousness, travel is at the top of my list for future plans. I  have a long trello list of places I want to go. Egypt, Thailand, Paris (happening in June), India, and the list goes on. We have already been able to make a few of our travel dreams come true through travel hacking including Peru this past summer. 

I have also recently created a 5 year money plan that includes a career shift into freelancing, fully funding my 457b, building a much larger emergency fund, and having my student loans forgiven with PSLF. 

In addition to this, keep blogging, podcasting, creating and hanging out with all of the cool people in the finance sphere. 

Feminism & Society

What is your brand of feminism?

I am a feminist who believes in the equality of the sexes. I am also a feminist who is constantly learning and growing. Everyone’s activism is messy, and I fully acknowledge this and that I am a white female who has benefitted from this privilege. 

Do you identify as a specific type of feminist?

Thankfully, intersectional feminism has been brought up more often in current main stream conversations. The term was coined in 1989 by Kimberle Crenshaw. This definition recognizes that women experience oppression in various configurations and to varying degrees when faced with other cultural patterns of oppression. Examples of this include race, class, ability, ethnicity, etc. 

This type of feminism allows for multiple experiences and a type of activism that looks at the individual’s multi-layered facets of life and history. This would be the brand I strive to be associated with. 

Do you have feminist in your twitter bio?

No, but I do have a shirt that says “Feminist as Fuck” which I proudly wear on weekends. I also have a section on our blog dedicated to Feminist Posts. 

Is the patriarchy real?

Yes. Emphatically, yes. We live in a social system where men currently hold the stakes in power. Much of this power has some deeply rooted intangible ideas within our society – including money. We have a belief that money gives success, security and power. 

Power. An idea that is both positive and negative in connotation depending on who is using it. The power of speech was highly inspirational and positive when Martin Luther King Jr. gave “We have a Dream”. The power of speech was highly destructive and manipulative when Hitler convinced a nation to commit mass genocide.

Power is an intangible idea. Meaning I cannot hold power in my hand….except in the case of money. Cold hard cash in the hand allows for one to be powerful in many ways. To influence those around you, to get what you want when you want it.  It gets you places and gets people to listen to you.

This is where feminism comes in. Feminism is not about one thing, its about the big thing: power imbalances. These are what leads to inequality. The wage gap, meaning women receiving less compensation for the same work, is a perfect example of a power imbalance with money. If men have more money than women they will inherently have more power than them as well.

 I think that we fear powerful women. When a structure has relied on the control of 50% of its population for so long, it would be pretty shattering to loose this giant stroking of the ego and feeding of the power structure.

Please recommend us some good feminist books

This is my favorite question and I wrote a post with some of the books as they changed my life. 

  • Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown 
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 
  • I am also a huge fan of documentaries and recommend the following: 
  • The Hunting Ground
  • She is Beautiful When she is Angry 
  • After Tiller 
  • Seeing Allred 
  • The RBG 
  • The Most Hated Woman in America 
The importance of intersectionality – discuss 

I mentioned what Intersectionality is above, as it relates to me it is an essential part of my actions and words, especially as a white woman. Intersectionality is the opposite of white feminism which has taken center stage recently within the media. There is a tendency for white women to generalize and overlook the experiences of minorities and instead focus on their own struggles as a woman. This is a problem considering we benefit from white privilege and if this is ignored or not acknowledged in the sharing of experiences and in the activism that is taking place it is marginalizing women of color again – creating a greater divide- instead of bringing unity. 

How do you feel about privilege

You can be both privileged and oppressed. You also must recognize that the weight on your shoulder is lighter than the weight on others. That history creates traumas and wounds which take centuries to heal. I should also say that acknowledging the disadvantages of others is not enough- only the start. This means being uncomfortable, listening, using the privilege you do have to bring people into the the conversation as often as possible, and taking action. 

What is the role of men in feminism?

Hopefully, it is an active one. If we do not have men identifying as feminists or supporting our efforts then we will not move forward. While it is not about them, it does affect men, and men benefit from the feminist movement. In fact, you wrote an excellent post on this very topic here: Let’s free men from the shackles 

I would also say that there has been a stigma about feminists being “man hating” and this is simply not true. Many of the feminist I know welcome and applaud men who show up, stand up and become our allies. Feminism is not about who is better- it is about being seen and treated as equals. 

Do you consider yourself an activist?

Yes, I do now. I used to be afraid of the word feminism- which should come as no surprise since I was raised in a strict, far right, conservative, cult environment. Organized religion and the church taught me that women were to be meek, quiet, obedient, modest, mothers, supportive, and all giving all the time. The religion I know encourages women not to be remembered for themselves in any way. To stay small and silent. To not believe in consent. Here is a great article on this subculture of purity. Eve gave the apple to Adam and we will all spend the rest of our lives trying to serve men to make up for this sin. 

I was able to leave that environment at 15 when I got into an early entry college program, which is when I finally started to confront the traumas and harsh realities of living a sheltered life. I took a Women’s Studies class and after one class realized I was a feminist. At the end of the term, I took off my purity ring my parents had given me for my 13th birthday.  That was the start to finding my voice. 

Media

How do you get your news?

We do not have TV, so all of my news comes from following certain news stations on Twitter and checking the flash briefing from Alexa. I do watch YouTube cuts from the Rachel Maddow show and any speeches of importance I will watch on there as well- since reading the speech is never the same as hearing it. 

What are your thoughts on the mainstream media?

I think it has drastically shifted the past couple of years with the introduction of social media and the way politics has become so absurd and dramatic. It sometimes feels like watching MTV or a reality show- which takes a certain seriousness out of what is happening in the world. 

There is also a new theory that the way we ingest information, specifically millennials and Gen-Z, has started to also re-wire our brains and logic. Instead of deductive or inductive reasoning where we consume a larger piece of media and then rationalize it- we are only consuming media in sound bites and titles. This is called the ribosome theory and just starting to be addressed within education conversation.  It means when you hear the word wolf- your brain turns into a word map and you connect this information with other associations of wolf- Beowulf, Wolverine, Winter, Wild etc. While this theory is certainly not tested nor is it peer reviewed yet- it is interesting to think about how our media consumption impacts the way we reason. 

Please share your top 10 blogs you follow with us.

Ms ZiYou Note: Reaction Gif Below:

What feminist resources do you use?

Community. This may sounds cliche, but finding safe spaces to have conversations and to learn has been the most beneficial. Any of the individuals above are a great place to start for building a community. 

Is talking about money feminist?

I would say yes. Money is taboo and associated with power, success and many of the things that women find challenging to access. 

Some media spin that’s upset you lately – please share your rant

 Ha! Most things in the media have been upsetting lately here in the US. There has been a strong message since Trump was elected that women do not matter. That sexual assault is not something we should take seriously and that money and tax cuts for the rich far outweigh autonomy for women and human rights. 

And some media that has galvanized you? 

I think I am currently most disturbed at the women who support Trump and the current Republican agenda unabashedly. This has really spurred me to take more action within my own community than anything. 

Parting Words

What is one awesome thing in your life now

Our little animals. We have a Sphynx (naked cat), Bengal (wild cat), and two Borzoi (Russian Wolfhounds). I love these guys and they seriously reduce my stress after a long day at work. 

We else should I interview for this series?

Kiersten from Rich and Regular. Tori Dunlap from Victori Media. Tyler from When Money is Good. 

How can people connect with you?

Blog: His and Her FI

Twitter: @herandhisfi

Instagram: @hisandherfi

Ms ZiYou Back here

Thank you Bethany for sharing your #financialfeminist profile. I loved reading how creative people approach finances and feminism – some things in the same way as me, others completely different.

If you identify as a feminist – female or male – and would like to be featured on Let’s meet Financial Feminists – please get in contact.


Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

6 comments on “Bethany – His and Her FI – Being a Creative #financialfeminist

  1. I love that your one word description of your life is creative! There was a lot of good content but I got hung up on the purity ring. The whole concept of what to do in relationships when is a personal choice, I’m not debating that. But a purity ring feels like a smack in the face. Controlling.

    I grew up surrounded by examples of strong women. Even in my grandparents time, they were equal partners. So while I recognize there are inequalities, I never labeled myself as a feminist. Only because many issues we face also apply to other groups of people. It’s the first time I come across the term intersectional feminism. I’m taking that away for thought…

    1. Hi Whymances, I agree – it’s so cool that Bethany is so creative.

      But yeah, the purity ring was shocking to me as well – I’ve never met anyone else that had one, I almost thought they were a myth!

      And yes, intersectional feminism is eye opening………you are very right, everything is so interconnected.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you interviewed Bethany. She is such an incredible person! Great interview, too. Her answers are so very thoughtful.

    I had the pleasure of getting to know Bethany and her husband Charles at FinCon in Orlando. They were so kind to offer their table to me, my wife and baby. It was an absolute joy to talk to them as well. One of the best conversations I’ve had the entire conference :).

    It was nice to get to know her a little bit more through the interview. Her photography skills are amazing. And I had no idea she grew up in an ultra-conservative, far right home environment. I would have never known! Her comments on intersectionality, privilege, and activism is inspiring and motivates me to do more.

    Her 5 year money plan sounds great and I’m sure she’ll easily achieve it. She is already doing so many wonderful things.

    Excellent interview, Bethany. And great series, Ms. ZiYou!

What do you think?