In celebration of our International Women’s weeks, but also out of the absolute necessity to make the life-realities of womxn visible, we’ve decided to initiate an interview series that circulates around the way womxn from our community embrace their womanhood. Through The Femxle Side of Things, we intend to highlight how women continue to be a fundamental pillar of our community. We want to start a conversation that highlights both tales of femxle empowerment and challenges that women face in our male-dominated society, to paint a broader picture of a group of people that is often not listened to in the way they deserve. In the third round, we welcome Heidrun and Nina, two members of our running community who talked to us about strategies to maintain a positive mindset on- and off the track.
Hi, My name is Heidrun, I am a Conceptual designer mainly working for lifestyle/retail brands and department stores like KaDeWe and Alhambra. Besides this I am building up a network called “Kollektiv Volume” with an additional apartment space where like-minded people can have workshops, sound baths, lectures, dinners, exhibitions, etc.
Hi, my name is Nina. I am 36 years old and I am an architect. Besides my day job in a big architecture firm, I recently founded my own studio with my best friend and I have a role as an assistant teacher at a German university. Besides all things architecture-related I’m quite interested in politics, writing, and yeah – running of course!
What is your definition of womxnhood?
Nina: For me womxnhood is not biological, it’s including everyone who chooses to belong to the femxle gender. I think one thing we all share and what connects us is the struggles we have to deal with in our daily lives. Some for sure more than others, as a white womxn I would call myself super privileged, but still there are some situations all of us might have experienced and where we might be able to connect.
Heidrun: Love over fear. As fast as the world is changing at the moment, especially on an energetic level, it’s more and more about how we treat ourselves, love ourselves, ground ourselves and strengthen the connection with our inner self, our heart. About trusting all that’s happening and not fall into fear.
What empowers you as a womxn?
Nina: I grew up in a rural part of Germany in a quite conservative family. I remember my childhood as happy but when I grew older my family, which was completely normal at first glance, began to fall apart. After high school, I left as fast as I could. Looking back today I never had a femxle person teaching me things about life when I needed it – when I had to make decisions. Maybe my life would have been different. With my teaching job and with being one of the older members of the Braves I try to be the person I needed when I was younger for other girls. I try to help and empower all the womxn around me and that’s pushing me a lot. Also, I found some really strong and wise womxn throughout the years which I can rely on and who are there for me when I need advice.
Heidrun: What helps me a lot personally is: never be against anything, but always for something.
Everything is energy, and what you radiate to the outside, what you focus on, comes right back to you. So instead of focussing on the negative things, it is much more effective to focus on the positive things in life, no matter how small they are.
As women tend to be excluded from public narratives, which stories of womxn would you like to hear or share more?
Nina: I really want to hear more stories from womxn of color and from the global south. Feminism should not focus on the liberal more white CEOs and girl boss phrases. Feminism has to be intersectional because if it’s not, it’s just reproducing the same patriarchal patterns and comes at the expense of marginalized groups. Therefore we cannot think of feminism alone, but only in connection with racism, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy.
Heidrun: Actually, any womxn’s story is important to be heard or to be shared. All experiences allow you to serve better. We give life meaning. We give each other meaning. The way we show up as a family is what is currently being upgraded
Can you name a moment that made you realize what the power of a womxn is?
Nina: Architecture is a very conservative and male-dominated business. But lately, I have been lucky enough to work on a big project where almost all planners are womxn. The dynamic in a femxle team is very different from a mainly male team. All team members are open and supportive, no one needs to push their ego and it’s all about how to implement the project – simply hands-on.
Heidrun: “The female being has been chosen by the Creator to be the only portal between the physical realm and the spiritual realm.
The only way a human being can transform from an heavenly being to an earthly creature is by being born of a woman.
A woman is the only force on earth powerful enough to navigate unborn spirits unto this planet.
A woman is the only means of entrance into this world!
So tell me, why don’t we treat her as such?
And Woman, why don’t you carry yourself as such?
Dignify Women, Man.
Women, dignify yourselves.”
What are the main challenges that you face as a womxn in our society?
Nina: As a white womxn I know that I am already really privileged. Still, I face challenges nearly every day, mostly because of work. In a male-dominated field, one has to prove oneself in every new project, every new (male) person you meet. I try to be 100% professional and let my work speak for itself but I am not afraid to stand up for myself or colleagues who face discrimination. As cliché as it sounds, I feel obligated to stand up for the less visible ones because I have a position where I can do it.
Heidrun: This Life is work. So many of us are traumatized and wounded by the harsh reality of this world and the way it “works”. It actually doesn’t work at all. Compassion is what we all need a lot of moving forward. We are all deeply wounded, lost, and confused at the ways of this world whether we feel and see it consciously or are affected by it subconsciously, and practice denial as a form of self-preservation. Evolution requires our full accountability and participation. We need to practice higher ways of being to create a world more aligned with what we truly want, need, and deserve.
In Need of an architect? Check out Nina’s new studio here: