30 Days of Women: Aryn Evans
What's your background?I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and moved to Chicago three years ago. I'm an artist and lawyer living in my dream apartment in Pilsen. I proudly identify as feminist and bisexual. I studied gender studies in college and am very passionate about sex equality and empowering women to rise above oppression and embrace their powerful goddess energy! The world will be a much better place! How do you empower women?
Empowerment can take place on a small scale and on a large scale. Big picture, I empower women by trying to be authentic, confident, and powerful in everything I do and everything I share on social media. seeing real women online (rather than airbrushed models), and hearing women with strong voices creates change in our perceptions and our norms. On a small scale, I try to empower each of the women in my life to challenge their own views on gender - and to recognize the influence that systemic patriarchy has on the way that people (even progressives) see the world. If I can encourage people to question the norms, and change the status quo - sex equality becomes more and more possible.
What has influenced you to be passionate about women's equality?
My mother, as all women in her generation, faced significant discrimination all of her life. She was discouraged from studying to be a doctor, and told that a woman would be better suited to study art. She was open with me about this at a very young age, and made sure I knew that I could do absolutely anything a man could do, and more. I believed her then, and still do!
What can society do to empower women?
To start, we can all be more mindful of how we still hold people to different standards, based on stereotypes and implicit bias. For example, telling young boys how smart and strong they are, and then telling young girls how pretty and nice they are... this seems innocent enough, but actually creates inequality. Girls and boys should both get praise for being smart, strong, sensitive, kind, etc. 2016 looks much better for women than it ever has (and we may finally have a woman president!) but we still have a long way to go.
Why do you paint, and what do you hope to accomplish with your artwork?
At the end of the day, life is all about joy, living in the moment, and honest expression! I never started painting to make a statement. I just genuinely enjoy putting (or throwing) paint to canvas. Right now, I want to create bright, energetic pieces that make people smile. Interview by Marco Miller
Photography & art by
Haley Scott aka @sugarmilkk
Peter Hinsdale aka @Chippercentral
Keithstone Smith aka @afrokilla
Chelsea Chick aka @chickwithacanon