Amanda Stuermer, Founder World Muse, Muse Conference, Muse Magazine on labels and equality.
ORIGIN: What sets your soul on fire?
Amanda Stuermer: Those moments when I feel completely on purpose, when I see women and girls who are realizing their full potential. When I get to witness the spark in someone else coming to life, it makes my own spark burn brighter.
ORIGIN: What labels have been used to describe you and how do you use them for good?
AS: Growing up, I was always called Bossy, Hard-headed, Stubborn, Rebellious (and that’s from my family). Others called me a Troublemaker. I believed those labels for a long time. I lived inside those boxes and let them keep me small. I can now see how those traits were my power tools just waiting to be honed and sharpened. Bossy, Hardheaded, and Stubborn became Confident, Committed, and Determined. Rebellious became Visionary. Troublemaker became Social Change Activist. By transforming those labels, I took back my power, and I used my new power tools to break those tiny boxes wide open. That said, I still get labels slapped on me from time to time. The most common one is Feminazi. I just always have to remind myself that labels are intended to keep us small, and I refuse to be kept small any longer.
ORIGIN: Any relating to your body or appearance? How did you transform them?
AS: Dumb blonde. I played into it for a while. I’ve since learned to own my intelligence. The hair on top of my head is completely irrelevant to the wisdom inside it.
ORIGIN: Why is it so important that we empower women + girls right now?
AS: Because we still have to ask that question. We’ve already waited far too long for equality. Now is not the time, yesterday was the time, and the day before that was the time. It’s past the time.
ORIGIN: What causes are you passionate about?
AS: Women’s Equality, Conscious Social Change.
Amanda Stuermer is the founder and director of World Muse, a social change organization inspired by and for women and girls. She is a faculty member for both Project Springboard and Off the Mat Into The World, a board member of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, and part of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Amanda was recently announced as a 2016 Woman of Influence by the Portland Business Journal.