Chapter 55: Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi Refine Feminism.

Haven't we all heard that one person that begrudgingly reminds you in a somewhat whiney tone that men sucks and women should have more rights? Rather than initiating change, this person seems to stunt the growth of feminism and creates a noise that the general public chooses to ignore. Earlier this week I was graciously given the opportunity to hear from women who are actively pushing for women's equality in the most effective way possible.

Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi, co-foudners and editors of Refinery29, a credited fashion and lifestyle site that is known for their strong political voice and active hand in the modern women's rights movement, paid a visit to the Savannah College of Art and Design. After hearing them give an overview of their upbringing and making of the company, it was evident that they wanted to give all women a platform to voice their successes, failures, ideas, and discoveries. When personally speaking to them in the privacy of a classroom visit, they further expanded on their mission. While they aim to place a focus on women, they never once mentioned, "taking down the male." 

Christine Barberich explains that she was raised by a mother that worked when her father lost his job. Barberich remembers working extremely hard for what she wanted knowing that her success directly correlated with her work ethic as her family. She put herself through college on scholarships and jobs and eventually achieved a spot at credited publications such as Condé Nast, the New Yorker, and Gourmet. Barberich explains that she was training to be a well rounded editor who truly knew how to lead a team. She laughs and says, "Even though right now you feel like you're going to have a stroke on the street every five minutes because of how stressed you are, it does get better!" 

The point is that Barberich did it. Never once did she talk about how hard it was to achieve her dreams as a female, she just went for it with full force. Likewise, Piera Gelardi, her trusted counterpart at Refinery29, has always had a wild imagination and fresh perspective on the pulsing culture she is immersed in.

When discussing their expansion from fashion to lifestyle, Gelardi explains, "Before this, magazines focused on what men wanted in sex, not what women wanted." 

Barberich and Gelardi are most passionate about shining light on women of all widths, lengths, and color. The 67% project, a campaign devoted to revealing the plus sized women who are currently underrepresented in media, has been one of Refinery29's biggest achievements. Barberich mentioned that their plus-sized editor keeps the informed of topics such as the unattainable beach bod that every woman strives for. 

"What the hell even is a beach body?" Barberich exclaims.

They are voicing a concern for 67% of women that never had a place to share their struggle. Again, this is an issue that has nothing to do with the male, but has everything to do with initiating body positivity among all women. 

The Refinery29 girls created a platform to talk about things that haven't been discussed. They built a network of people that can rely on one another to develop progressive ideas that empower women to achieve their goals. They are women that have lived through stress, trial, and great success. Barberich and Gelardi exemplify what it's like to live ambitiously while paving way for a fresh and effective take on feminism.

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