MAJOR: Public Relations, minoring in Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Man Eater Radio Show // Creator & DJ
The Vagina Monologues // Co-Director
Yoni Ki Baat // Co-Director
I am a student activist from Brazil who is passionate about intersectional feminism and gender equality. I strive to empower womxn and uplift marginalized voices through radio and fundraiser spoken-word performances. Through femme-focused projects, I aim to create safe spaces that highlight womxn while attempting to rebel against patriarchal ideologies.
Q: You’re a part of VAGMO+, could you explain what that is and how you got involved?
Bruna: I got involved in the Vagina Monologues my sophomore year when one of last year’s directors, Ina Joseph, encouraged me to join. I got cast and then three years later I was chosen to direct with Christina Bissereth. Me and Christina co-directed the two performances this year (the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat) and it was so wonderful and I’m so proud of it. VAGMO+ is an umbrella term encompassing two feminist productions, the Vagina Monologues and Yoni Ki Baat. The Vagina Monologues was a play written in the nineties by Eve Ensler. It was considered to be a radical piece of feminist literature at the time. But at the same time, since it was really in the nineties, it can be very, very outdated at points and problematic as well. We do acknowledge it’s great benefits but also that it is problematic. To make up for the lack of inclusivity and to add another dimension and another layer of perspectives, last year’s directors, Ina and Alina added a second performance, a sister performance, called Yoni Ki Baat or commonly known as YKB. This is a platform that attempts to create a space for women of color, queer women and non-binary folks to share their own experiences with intersectionality through storytelling. These performances were a bit like spoken word. This year, even though we didn’t have the opportunity to do the in-person performance, we came up with an alternative plan, the YKB podcasts, now available on Spotify. The best part about this whole community and about the performances themselves is that 100 percent of the proceeds go towards nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston community that support women in need. This year we partnered with Women’s Lunch Place, a nonprofit that supports women who are currently facing homelessness, and we were able to donate about $4,000 from fundraising.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your feminist radio show and how it has added to your experience at BU?
Bruna: I co-created Maneater, which is my radio show on WTBU in the fall semester of my sophomore year with Emily Roe. After we interned together freshman year in an alternative rock radio show on the WTBU called Brain Drain, we decided that we both wanted to create a radio show together because we’re both minoring in women’s studies and we saw that WTBU was oversaturated with Indie and alt-rock radio shows––and there is nothing wrong with that, but a lot of them primarily featured male artists. We saw a real lack of female representation, not only in WTBU but also lack of spotlighting of women artists in the music industry, so together we created what is now Maneater. Maneater became WTBU’s first and only feminist radio show that exclusively highlights women and centers itself around femme-based topics and current events like body positivity, sexuality, sexual empowerment, gender roles, ad stereotypes, politics and abortion. Maneater has also allowed me and the other DJs to dive deeper into the music industry and focus on women artists that don’t often get the highlights that they deserve. This is currently Maneater’s sixth semester on WTBU. I’m graduating this year so I will be leaving it, but I’m really, really proud that it will stay at BU as my legacy.
Q: What was your favorite theme/topic that you have done on Maneater?
Bruna: My favorite theme is Black History Month. For the four episodes that compose February, we do it entirely dedicated to different aspects of the Black identity, such as Black love, Black female artists, and Black female rappers. We always like to come up with different things and then we have different discussions. This year, right before the pandemic broke out, we had a cool discussion about Black love, the portrayal of love in the media, why films are always whitewashed, and why content and media are whitewashed but also wealth related.
Q: What does inclusive feminism mean to you?
Bruna: I love intersectional feminism, inclusive feminism, however you would want to call it. I am drawn towards intersectional feminism because I come from a family of predominantly women and a very strong line of women. And that whole narrative that women are meant to be submissive, that women are weak, that women are secondary to men, all these stereotypes that are perpetuated by patriarchal ideals, that are deeply ingrained in our society are honestly just fabricated bullshit that was made to create a hierarchy of genders. I think that it’s really important that we work towards flipping that script and advocating for gender equality, advocating for women’s rights, advocating for the protection of minority communities. And I think that only through that will we be able to flip the script and make women included and make minorities included in the greater dialogue. I think that work through student activism is really, really important because you’re starting from your classroom and then you can dive into the greater world.
Q: What do you think it means to be an activist or an advocate?
Bruna: I think that being an activist is very, very crucial. I always liked the phrase if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention and if you’re not angry, you’re not creating change and you’re not fighting for things that are negative to then benefit people. So I think that being an activist is someone who actively strives to create change in their environment, not only, or not entirely, or not at all in their benefit, but for the greater good of others and to uplift marginalized voices who don’t often get the platform to talk about their experiences and don’t often get the rights and the recognition that they need.