The Bearded Feminist

Photograph courtesty of Karim Saad

The first male feature for Ladies Get Paid! We sat down with Karim Saad, Austria's "Bearded Feminist," and here's what he had to say...

can you start by telling us a bit about the bearded feminist? how did you get involved?

Last year I published an article in a renowned German business women's magazine explaining the challenges of raising a daughter in today’s world. Bringing up a girl in such a sexist world forces you to think about many aspects of feminism. Just to give one quick example: When you start to realize that shopping for items like a shampoo or a toy is a question of sexism, you need to do something about it. I’ve always seen myself as an activist who would never keep quiet about injustice, no matter which topic. Additionally I was brought up by many strong women like my mother, my grandmother, and my nanny. I never understood why there should be a difference between women and men. After the huge positive response to my article, I started to write and publish more and more and this was the moment I came up with the idea of “Bearded Feminist." The Facebook magazine portrays inspiring women around the globe to create a platform for role models for current and future generations.


what do your friends think about your involvement with this project?

The overall response is super positive, but I have to admit that most of the feedback comes from my female friends. Just a few male friends were reaching out, especially after I posted my picture with my “Bearded Feminist” hoodie. But I think that is just the beginning. It is still perceived by many that being an outspoken feminist is none of their business. I guess this is mainly due to their very own upbringing and their belief that there needs to be a difference between men and women.


what does feminism mean to you?

I love to quote one of the leading feminists of my country, Johanna Dohnal, who once said, "The vision of feminism is not female future, but a human one." This quote is so inspiring to me as it sums up perfectly my personal creed.


tell us a bit about feminism in austria.

I think compared to many other countries, we have a very strong feminist movement in Austria. Whether in politics or civil society, women are rising up and stand up for their rights. On the other side, we still lack of equal pay and leading female politicians. There is only one party that is led by a woman and mansplaining plays a great role whenever she is in a debate with the other leaders. This disgusting phenomenon is still huge in Austria. However, I am deeply convinced that the new generation will change that. It is just a matter of time.


how do you decide who to profile?

There is no catalogue of criteria, so it is more based on recommendations by friends or women I come across when I surf the web. What really matters to me is their passion for social change, as well as a diverse background of the portrayed woman.


Who are some of your biggest influences?

I am fascinated by heroines and heroes like Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, but who really influences me is my mother. She has been a very successful hard-working manager and all-loving mother who taught me everything in life. I am so grateful that she is always there for me and never gives up on me.

Karim Saad is a digital manager and freelance journalist. He works for a media company in Austria (ORF) and Red Bull. He is the founder of the Facebook video magazine “Bärtiger Feminist” and he is regularly published in the German business women's magazine, EditionF

Claire Wasserman