Break the Rules Like ... Britt Murlas
Not all Wonder Women wear capes, and not all Unladylike role models need to sit in the C-suite to spark change. Each week, we're introducing y'all to rad women and nonbinary folks we admire. They'll offer up pointers on how we all can #breaktheruleslike they do and help them make the world a better place. If you have a role model to shout out, send hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
I'm Britt. I'm from Oakland, California, and I'm the Founder/CEO of LittleFeminist.com — a children's book subscription that features diversity and gender equality because so few books do! Previously, I was the CMO of BabyList.com (the universal baby registry). The 2016 election inspired me to quit and put my life savings into starting Little Feminist. Whoooo — it's been a ride!
2. When did you first realize this was the right path for you?
Honestly, each and every day there are moments I feel insecure and question if I am the best person to build Little Feminist. And every day I remind myself what Little Feminist is about — teaching kiddos to love themselves and others just the way they are. But I can't preach love and empathy if I don't practice loving myself! Which is all to say, I realize this is the right path for me every damn day, because Little Feminist brings up exactly what I need most practice doing — loving myself unconditionally.
3. What’s unladylike about you and what you do?
I process my sadness, my anger, my mistakes and my shame out in the open. In my upbringing, being a 'good girl' meant not being too sad or too angry. A little bit of emotion was okay in my household, but not big emotions. So for my first 18 years, I kept that big emotion in … now I'm working on getting all those emotions out.
4. Which of your heroes or role models would you immortalize in bronze?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — except rather than immortalize in bronze, can she just come live with me?
5. What was your feminist aha moment?
When I shared with my husband, friends and mentors that I wanted to name my company Little Feminist, every single one of them urged me NOT to use the word "feminist" in my company name. I was told that it would pigeonhole me and my business, that folks would assume my company was just for girls, that feminism was only for rich white women. Then, when I started a Little Feminist Facebook page, the vitriol for the world really came out:
"Feminism is just woman want to rule EVERYTHING"
"Hey kids, become feminists its great and better yet start young so all of the kids in your class hate you!" and
"Modern feminism is not a movement about equality. In short: it's about stamping out male masculinity and giving it to women."
My feminist aha moment came from the pit of my stomach when I read the negative comments on our Facebook page. My body (not my mind) told me to take back what the word "feminist" meant to me — the equality of all genders, all people.
6. What’s the best advice you’ve received? The worst?
Right now the words of wisdom I'm repeating to myself came from a friend of mine who’s also a life coach. She told me, "You don't even know your ceiling, because you've always set your goals to be achievable. Start failing, then you'll see how high you can really go." I think the worst advice is "to put others before ourselves" — I believe empathy will save the world, and empathy isn't putting others before ourselves (that's sympathy); empathy is getting into the trenches with others.
7. What’s bringing you joy right now — or at least keeping you sane?
Cuddled up with my spouse and dog on the couch watching Netflix. It's always perfect.
8. Aside from keys/wallet/phone, what do you never leave home without?
Tinted chapstick and sunglasses.
9. How can unladies help you and/or your mission?
Gift a Little Feminist subscription to a little one in your life — our book boxes are quite literally the gift that never stops giving! Or if you don't have a little feminist in your life, then share LittleFeminist.com with a friend who's raising feminists. Here's a $5 off coupon for you: it's UNLADYLIKE and it expires Dec. 31. It'll work on anything on Little Feminist.
More from Little Feminist
More about raising feminists
How to raise a feminist in 6 not-so-easy steps (USA Today, 2018)
How to Raise a Feminist Son (NYT, 2017)
16 Feminist Kids’ Books for Dismantling the Patriarchy (NY Mag, 2017)