International Women's Day Questionnaire: J.J. McAvoy
How are you planning to celebrate International Women’s Day?
The same thing I do every day, be the best woman I can I be while doing my best to support, listen and talk to other women.
Was there a woman who helped you get where you are today?
There have been many women who’ve helped me. When I look back, my path has been paved by so many amazing women who sought to elevate my worth and dreams. The first of course my own mother. I look at her, how she managed to run business while raising three children, (of course with the help of my father). But I’m in awe of her strength all the time.
What are your thoughts on the role of the media in shaping young female minds? As a creator, how do you combat some of these reductive and negative stereotypes that can lead to low self-esteem?
This will sound harsh, but the media, especially in the United states, has let me down. So often, I sought imagines of women like myself and didn’t find them. When I was young, it made me think I was the problem. That I was supposed to look like them. I would try and fail and hate myself for not being able to “be pretty.” It was only when I became an adult did I realize my own beauty and sought not just create characters of diversity, but be the role model that my child self wanted.
Tell us about your newest book.
Well my newest book Rainbows Ever After, isn’t a full-length novel, instead it’s more an aside…an extended view into the life of the characters after the original novel finished. It was a treat to write and I’m so glad my fans loved to revisit two of their favorite couples.
Do you share any traits with any of your characters? Are there any of your characters that you admire or deplore?
Haha, yes, actually, for most of my female lead characters, I give them the same birthday as me. Other than that most of my female characters are all ambitious, and strong. Not really physically but mentally. When people or situations try to break them they rise and push forward with even greater determination. So I admire them all for that. In a world where people are always saying ‘you can’t,’ to stand up and say ‘I will and I have’ is the most exciting thing to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
It’s so cliché. And my younger self would roll her eyes and tell me I didn’t understand…but I’d tell her to love herself. Love herself when others said she was too tall, too dark, too dumb, too slow, too round, too anything except beautiful, because she is and when she realizes it she’ll have the confidence to do anything.
What book do you go back to again and again for inspiration?
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou because to read her words and feel her growth as time goes on just gives me the strength to find my voice no matter what.
But also Walden by Henry David Thoreau, because it also speaks to this part of me that likes to explore the world.
How do you define feminism? What do you say to people who claim they aren’t feminists?
Feminism to me is the same as Civil Rights. My sex should not define what I can and cannot do or how I am compensated. Feminism to me is, yes, you are a man, and yes I am a woman, but we are equal in our rights and importance. We do not belong in the home or at work, we belong where we choose to belong.
To those that claim they are not feminist my question is why? Why is the thought that a man and woman, who do the same exact work, and as such should be paid the same so controversial? Why is the thought that my body is my body and as such no one should be able to regulate it or touch it without my permission so revolting to you? Why is it when I say I’m equal to you that your first thought is to tell me how I’m not?
What would you say to a young woman questioning her worth, value, or place in the world?
Stop. That’s what I’d say to any woman questioning their own value and worth. Doing that will only lead you down a dark path. Even if you value yourself highly, if you spend time everyday questioning how “worthy” you are you’ll end self-analyzing too much. Simply love and accept that you are important. That you are worth more than your weight in gold and live your life, respect others and dream big.
In the spirit of the ever popular Instagram hashtag #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) – who’s your #1 woman crush right now? And why?
Kylie Bunbury because she’s Canadian-American duh…haha. No, really because watching her rise as actress, a tall, smart, and beautiful woman of color, makes me smile every time I see her. I hope one day she’ll be cast to act for an adaption of one of my books. (and be my BFF)
I’m a twenty-year-old something born in Montreal, Canada but currently living in Virginia for school. I would tell you want my major is however after two years I still have no idea what I’m doing.
So I’m a writer (duh that’s how you found me), movie enthusiast, and self-proclaimed chef. I love music even though I can’t sing or dance to save my life. (That doesn’t necessarily stop me but you’ve been warned.)
I started Ruthless People the summer of 2013 in hopes of giving myself a new type of love and crime drama. I never knew so many people thought like me! I feel truly blessed to have fans like you all! Writing is my true love and having you all enjoy my words is a dream come true.