How to Get Active with Aminatou Sow
Last year we spoke with Aminatou Sow, the co-founder of TechLadyMafia and co-host of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast to talk resistance, how college students can stay informed, and why everyone should be following Chrissy Teigen on Twitter. In recent news, Sow wrote a twitter thread explaining her experience with the harsh realties of our healthcare system and received “good vibe wishes” from Hillary Clinton. Here’s our interview from our March 2017 issue.
Jerk Magazine: You definitely have a loud voice in political opinion, expression, and activism, who or what inspired you to get so involved?
Aminatou Sow: I’ve always cared about politics; I originate from West Africa and I have asylum in the United States, so politics have really affected my life and are important to me.
JM: To narrow it down, what issues are you most passionate about at the moment?
AS: I am really really really really passionate about all issues that affect women because they’re so intertwined and really affect a really large population. It makes me really enraged that we see very little progress at a time, obviously things have changed like leaps and bounds, but it’s like learning that women couldn’t get credit cards in the 70s without their husband's permission and stuff like that drives me crazy.
JM: How do you suggest we fight against those issues, especially as college students?
AS: I think that staying informed is one of the most important things especially when you’re in college. One, you certainly have the time for it compared to some other populations. I think that really staying informed and staying vigilant about how your rights are being curtailed is really really important because a lot people don’t realize how incremental those shifts can be. I think college campuses are really important places to learn activism and to really push boundaries on your involvement in that realm. College is the first frontier for a lot of people and not being overwhelmed is also really important. We’re seeing it right now, like every day is ten new disasters at a time. I think that picking an issue that is important to you and picking an issue that probably doesn't affect you but that you know is tied to justice.
JM: What direction do you see activism going in the next four-to-eight years?
AS: I don’t want to make a big prediction about activism, but I think a lot of the tactics that worked during the civil rights work just fine and I think too that right now people are conflating a lot resistance with just very basic civic duties, like showing up at the polls, calling your congressor and senators, and going to demonstrations. I do think that a lot of new people will be brought into this world and that was what was really cool about the women’s march honestly is how many people said ‘I have never marched before, here I am’ and so I think that for those
people there will be a learning curve and it’s really important to keep them in, but fundamentally things are not changing and things are not different. The tools of activism work and they work on a range of issues.
JM: Who are three people everyone needs to be following on twitter?
AS: Oh my god, nobody should tweet or follow anyone on twitter if I had it my way, but the people that I think have been really helpful for me to follow are Zoe Kazan, who is an actor and activist and just a fantastic person and has been sharing lots of tips on how to stay involved, and really helpful articles, and is really a compassionate person and a really engaged person. Jamelle Bouie who is at Slate is a great writer and truth teller. And also I really like the journalist Garance Franke-Ruta. She is at Yahoo, and I read her feed everyday to stay on top of the news because she shares the most comprehensive like ‘here’s everything you missed’ so that is news twitter, otherwise everyone should just follow Chrissy Teigen. That’s my advice, but mostly no one should tweet to get through life.
JM: I have a few questions about Call Your Girlfriend, how or why did you and Ann start the podcast?
AS: We started the podcast because one, if so many dudes are making podcasts, how hard can it be? Two, we really wanted to explore working in a different medium. We really wanted to work on a project together and explore storytelling in a different form. But really the real reason is our friend Gina, who is the producer, pushed us to do it and she is kind of an expert and was like ‘you guys would be good at this’ and what’s better than a friend pushing you to do something?
JM: What role do you think podcasts play in the media and in politics given our current political climate?
AS: I think that podcasts tell stories in a different way and share a different kind of information and do it with a different kind of audience. Our show is obviously very conversational; we talk about the highs and the lows and we talk about how politics affect our everyday lives. I think there's kind of a myth that young people don’t care and that women are frivolous and whatever we talk about is not important, but then it turns out that you can talk about the Kardashians and the global gabble in the same conversation.