You never know who could be a feminist: An Interview with My Feminist Professor


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This weeks post is an interview on feminism with Dr. Jennifer Connerley.

Dr. Connerley is an adjunct professor at, yours truly, James Madison University. To say that she is an intelligent woman wouldn’t do her justice. She is bold, brilliant, soft spoken, a professor of unique style and dress, and an absolute expert in all that she teaches–especially, “Fashion, Dress, and the American Life,” (a class which I have taken and thoroughly enjoyed) and she is all smiles.

Dr. Connerley is no stranger to feminism. Though her first encounter with feminism as a coherent ideology was during college religion course (Feminist Theology), she stated that she also experienced feminist principles in her home. She gives credit to her parents for their work in shaping her social and political views, and the ways they encouraged her to “insist on equality, and to value the enormous contributions of labor unions in fighting for working people and working women in particular.”

Her favorite feminist is her partner David, whom she has been married to for 16 years. She admires how in both the private and profession aspects of his life he works to “advance women’s voices and feminist principles”. And if your ever wondering how Dr. Connerley chose her last name, she has a neat story to go with it.

My favorite part of the interview was finding out the Professor Connerley’s favorite guilty pleasure, and holiday tradition, is “dressing my cat in costumes”.

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I hope that gave you as much of a laugh as it did me. Dr. Connerley’s adventurous side doesn’t stop at new costumes for her cat, she would also like to travel to some new places. Her top 5 places to travel are: Ghana, New Zealand, Morocco, Japan, and the Verona Factory Antique Mall. And even though there are many things that this witty professor can do, if she had a super power, it would be “time travel”. Though there are many places she wants to see and things she wants to do, she does not believe in bucket lists–“I like to just keep going and hope that tomorrow will be good”.

Like many of the students on JMU’s campus Dr. Connerley does occassionally get stressed out. Thankfully there are many Starbucks on (and off) campus that offer her favorite stress snack, Starbucks croissants. But this professor doesn’t just love JMU for its Starbucks. She recognizes the value that feminism has within the student body in them working to “improve the mantle of feminism. “They continue to inspire me with their idealism, their willingness to question, and their tireless activism”. Go Dukes!

Dr. Connerley also agrees there is still much work to be done in feminism, especially through the avenue of intersectionality, and is adiment that the persistent exclusion of LGBTQ+ persons and racism towards others has to stop! She implores feminists to take a look at their (our) own histories and see where we can “combat myths…and repair our own oversights and offenses”.

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Our beloved professor doesn’t just believe that feminism is just for women but that men are absolutely a crucial part to the feminist work. She believes that men benefit from being a part of this movement as they work to dismantle patriarchy; and that it’s everyone’s job to fix rape culture. Dr. Connerly agreed that due to the damaging patriarchal principles, feminism is so important as it “a pathway to a safer, healthier, more sustainable world”. Her hope for the future of feminists and feminism is that it would “continue, change, grow more inclusive, and remain full of hope…always return to hope.”

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