Elizabeth Plank: The Media, the Movement and Leaving Her Feminist Footprint

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“I love writing because it allows me to reach so many more people,” says Liz, as we met for coffee one sunny afternoon in Brooklyn to talk about feminism, her career and what’s next for the PolicyMic editor. It wasn’t your typical Sunday conversation but Liz’s enthusiasm for her work, even on the weekend, is refreshing.

To say Liz Plank is making waves in the feminist movement in an understatement. In 2012, she was instrumental in helping overturn a decision that forced female boxers to wear skirts, a feat made possible by her ambassadorship for the change.org petition addressing the issue. Soon after, Liz began an internship at PolicyMic and was promoted within months to her current position as Viral Content and Social Justice Editor. The London School of Economics graduate has garnered an incredible digital audience whose loyalty is apparent in their comments on her articles that encourage and congratulate Liz’s consistently thoughtful work.

I was curious about what inspired Liz to be a feminist. Recently, I’ve reflected on what made me a feminist as well. There were so many instances or events I felt fostered a unique sense of urgency for change and I’ve learned from speaking with other men and women in the movement that the drive is not exclusively visceral or cerebral, but rather exists as a combination of the two- something Liz calls a ‘click’ moment.

“I had a lot of ‘click’ moments in college but my first was at 14, when I was called a slut for cutting the lunch line. What does my sex life have to do with that?” she asked. It’s a good question- one that feminists continue to ask. What does our sex life have to do with it?

These kinds of opponents or reactions to our media presence can be draining. Liz is well aware of this problem but refuses to be silenced.

“You can’t be responsible for everyone’s ignorance,” she tells me. “It’s not hatred- it’s fear. Some people are afraid of the power that women hold.” This is something feminists want to change- we want to show everyone, globally, that there’s value in elevating women to an equal platform. This can be accomplished by diversifying our base of supporters, something Liz is quick to recognize.

“If everyone is involved, we can actually do something,” said Liz. “But calling it a ‘women’s issue’ is limiting.” She’s right- feminism is imperfect. Our advocates and allies are disproportionately female and as Liz states, one of the biggest problems with feminism is “excluding voices of color.” The problem continues to divide feminists but is one that needs a solution if the movement is to unify and represent all women.

Despite these issues, Liz continues to power through and break records with viral feminist content. During her internship at PolicyMic, Liz managed to increase the site’s overall social media traffic from 10% to 35% with her articles alone. Her background in Behavioral Science has fostered a unique ability to deconstruct antagonistic qualities of women’s rights opponents, and is what initially drew me to her writing. What’s even more impressive is that she’s able to make feminism relatable to everyone.

Not all who see injustice work to solve it. It’s hard- but Liz greets this challenge with persistence, courage and stoicism.

“I just want change,” she confesses.

We believe in Liz, and we believe that she is going to change feminism forever.

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