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3960 Adeline St. in Emeryville.
What Feminism Means to Jen:
Being a Feminist has definitely changed meaning for me over the years. I started off being a liberal feminist, but I always had radical leanings. During the 90′s, when I was in my 20′s, the movie “I Shot Andy Warhol” came out, and my bandmates and I really got into S.C.U.M. and sort of worshipped Valerie Solanas. We even wrote a song about her and S.C.U.M.!!! But my feminism back then and throughout the next decade was generally still pretty conservative (ironically, it’s labeled “liberal” feminism), although of course, I didn’t see it that way at the time. For instance, I worked at Good Vibes and liked porn. I thought it was empowering that my girlfriend at the time was a stripper at the Lusty Lady. I got a mudflap girl tattoo & joined in the objectification of femme women by being a tomboy lesbian. I thought being a feminist was as easy as prioritizing the women in my life and empowering myself to do whatever I wanted as a woman (3rd Wave Feminism).
Fast forward to the 2008 Primaries and I got the shock of my life by witnessing the horrible, disgusting misogyny from men on the Left against Hilary. I could not believe this was coming from men who were supposed to be on “our side”. These men were supposed to believe in “equality between the sexes”. I realized, sadly, that they were just as bad as the men on the Right, and it was *more* disappointing to me because they claimed not to be. That’s when I threw away the liberal feminism playbook, which seemed absolutely toothless to me then, and went in search of a more radical feminism. I wanted to get to the heart—the root—of women’s oppression. Along the way, I found some really amazing and eloquent feminist bloggers who are now close friends, and have completely elevated my feminism. They have inspired me to expand my thoughts on everything to do with being female. Now I would say that to me “being a feminist” means doing anything I can to help liberate women from the gender hierarchy, where women are always at the bottom. In more detail, that includes:
1) Being gender critical, i.e. not accepting the stereotypes that being a woman means liking pink, being delicate, nurturing, wearing dresses and makeup, etc., and that being a man means playing sports, wearing short hair, ties and slacks, being smart and resourceful, etc. This includes criticizing any ideology or movement which upholds those stereotypes.
2) Surrounding myself with and supporting women wherever I can – creating a sort of “women-only space” within my own world
3) being unafraid to be critical of the reality of men’s violence against women and the system of patriarchy which rewards men for those socialized behaviors.
AND, being a kick-ass female roaster!
Jen St. Hilaire is owner and roast master of Scarlet City Coffee Roasters. She grew up in Bellingham, Washington – the City of Subdued Excitement. She was nurtured through her formative years on a well-rounded diet of Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Centipede, “voodoo economics”, Barter’s Drive-In, ABBA, Xanadu, and Shaun Cassidy. Jen signed on at Seattle’s Espresso Vivace in 1995, upon realizing she’d been mistaken regarding the fundamentally bitter nature of coffee. She pursued roasting perfection there as head roaster and wholesale manager until she retired in 1999, relocating to the Bay Area to expand her opportunities as a rock musician. Shortly after, Jen consulted with longtime Vivace customer, Andrew Barnett, to help start his roasting company, Ecco Caffe in Santa Rosa. Jen shared her roasting expertise with Ecco until 2005, when she began to turn her attention to her own entrepreneurial aspirations. Today, Scarlet City is the manifestation of 17 years of experience in the specialty coffee industry and a passion for both a complex, sweet cup of coffee and a more equitable, sustainable future.