Interview – Kerry Moynihan, author of The GOP Dark Age & The Epitome of Republican Feminism
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Kerry Moynihan, author of The GOP Dark Age & The Epitome of Republican Feminism. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Kerry.
Kerry Moynihan: Thank you so much for having me! I am delighted to be a part of Self-Publishers Showcase in promoting my book.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
KM: I don’t want to sound like I have some huge ego, but you can’t really describe me in one sentence because there’s so much to know about me. I will tell you, however, that I know a little bit about just about everything. If you ask him, my dad says that I have his brain because he’s the same way. I will say, however, that my brain leans a whole lot more towards the History/Literature side than the Math/Science side, although I do find parts of science fascinating. Something I do believe everyone should know about me is that I love sports and I played sports for an awful lot of my childhood. Even since I was in 4th grade, I have been a sports fan off the four major sports teams in Philadelphia (Eagles, Phillies, Flyers & 76ers). When I was in 8th grade (and I talk about this in my book) I decided I wanted to be a sports broadcaster one day. I was bullied and didn’t really have any friends in middle school, and I think being at home so much made me realize this about myself.
Speaking of my interest in sports, I am planning in the future to write a book having to do with baseball. I won’t give away the name yet, because I don’t know how far in the future it’ll be. I’m also in college now, and busy. I have to keep up with my studies and my life, of course.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
KM: I write all the time. I talk in my book about how in school my friends and classmates would always be playing silly games on their phone in class, and I would be writing instead. Even if it’s just poetry or something like that. I’ve been exposed to tons of different types of music in my life, so sometimes I’ll write down my own original song lyrics. When I was younger, I used to write volumes and volumes of unpublished material. I even came up with my own series in elementary school about a class of 3rd graders and this teacher named Mrs. G. From time to time I’ll read those old books.
SPS: Many people have written High School projects. Not many choose to self-publish their work. Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
KM: For awhile I had wanted to publish something. I think I published it because of how controversial my ideas in it are and how much I wanted to prove a point. I think I also published it because the memoir part I believe is important. I think that, no matter what your gender, race, sexuality or something like that, it’s always important to treat everyone with the same respect you’d give yourself. I don’t believe that someone has authority over me simply because they are male, and I don’t believe that I have authority over someone simply because I’m female. In other words, I don’t think having any kind of authority over someone should have to do with something that is just a characteristic they have. It’s one thing if you have more experience than someone, like at a job or something, and you’re they’re boss. It’s another (like the situation I talk about in my book) if you’re a guy and you believe it’s okay to use multiple girls. In other words, you think it’s okay just because you’re a guy and that’s how you were born. They were born as females, so they automatically have to “obey you”, if you will. It may sound crazy to some, but I just want everyone to get the message that if someone is ever treating you with disrespect because of who you are as a person–walk away. You are the master of your own soul. No one else has authority to personally control you.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
KM: I’m very passionate about my beliefs. I also love politics and I want people to know the truth about it. Most of the population is unfortunately extremely uninformed politically, and I feel that the Media portrays everything as everything “Left” is good, while everything “Right” is bad. It’s a lot deeper than that. I think that’s the point of trying to prove. People just assume that because of the Republican Party’s current stances on social issues, they hate people and it’s always been that way. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party loves all people and wants to help everyone out. I think people look at both parties a little too subjectively, and at the same time make generalizations. The truth is, politicians are politicians. Their political affiliation doesn’t have to do with their personal attitude towards things necessarily. People need to realize that both parties have done good and bad things, and the Republican Party isn’t “evil”, like the Media portrays them as.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about The GOP Dark Age…?
KM: Wow, there’s so much in it. Basically, I took information that I did for my Advanced Placement History project my junior year of high school and just, well, turned it into a book. The project was on second-wave feminism and (because I was getting into my involvement with the Republican Party at the same time), I decided to use the time I had in my school’s library after school to finding a correlation between Republicanism and feminism, and to see if there was any positive connection at all. Turns out, the Republican Party supported the Equal Rights Amendment for nearly 40 years. When Phyllis Schlafly and the New Right took over the Republican Party’s platform in the mid-70s to early-80s, the Republican Party officially removed the Equal Rights Amendment from their platform. In fact, at the 1980 Republican National Convention (where it was officially taken off the GOP’s platform), Ronald Reagan–who had originally supported the Equal Rights Amendment as the Republican governor of California–said that he supported the 14th Amendment instead, claiming it “gave rights to the unborn”. Speaking of which, Reagan would actually be the first pro-life (in reality, anti-choice) Republican to be president–not one before him was. I mean, look at the other social issues–I talk about them in my book. The way the GOP is demographically-challenged–it’s because of the social issues and this Christ-like view they have of Ronald Reagan. Republicans before Reagan (I.e. Nixon) were certainly not always great with social issues, but even Nixon supported the Equal Rights Amendment. Ever since the reign of Reagan, I have considered it the “Dark Age” for the Republican Party.
SPS: How did you decide on the topic of the book, did you mull over any other ideas?
KM: Not really, although I’ve always wanted to write a book. I just was so passionate about proving my points–I think that’s how I probably decided.
SPS: How did being a feminist affect your school life?
KM: The area I’m from is generally very “red”, and not necessarily my kind of “red” if you will….more of the authoritarian kind of “red”. Very religious (mainly Christian) and Tea Party-affiliated. As a result, those who were socially-conservative around me had an opposition to my belief in equality. Strangely, almost all of these people were girls.
I was always well-known and actually pretty popular in high school. People knew me because of how opinionated I was, and how I was the sports broadcaster for the morning news and all that. There were many people who were actual friends of mine who took the time to at least TRY to understand my views on gender equality and all that. Even at the end of the year when a lot of the underclassmen turned against me because I indirectly (no names given) called-out someone on the way he was using girls, I still had people who stood by me. I am grateful for those people. They certainly are wonderful and I hope I inspire them as much as they inspire me.
SPS: Where do you feel your love of politics came from?
KM: I honestly don’t know. My adoration for people and hobbies kind of just grows on me, and I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe that highly-emotional talk and constant love for so many people and things really is a problem like some people say, but it still got me where I am today. I surely wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
SPS: If there was one thing you’d like a reader to take away from reading your book, what would it be?
KM: So many things. First and foremost, take the political information I gave all of you in this book and use it to your advantage. Vote in an election. Talk about it and impress your professor. Inform your friends. I know it may not seem interesting necessarily, but it’s important to know. We are a Republic, but we as a country do have democratic values. This gives us the power to be able to vote in elections and express our opinion of this country. I think people need start realizing how much even the littlest thing that you say can influence the world around us. The way our government functions could change in an instant if we simply try to voice our opinion.
SPS: You mention how you got into legal trouble, can you tell us more?
KM: Yes. It’s difficult to talk about, but I will discuss it. Actually, I have nightmares about it, and every time I see someone who looks like this guy or acts like this guy (even if they do actually care about me), I start thinking about the whole thing again and get mad about it. I don’t hate him, I don’t hate the girls, and I don’t hate the parents. I do, however, hope that one day he will realize that using girls as some sort of sexual slaves is wrong. I also hope that the parents realize that their son isn’t quite as perfect as they may think he is. And, the other girls involved who didn’t mind being these sister-wife type thing for this guy: I hope you all realize one day that sex and love are meant to be equal between too people. No one should be any kind of servant to the other in any kind of relationship, monogamous OR in an open-relationship-type thing (which, by the way, BOTH parties are dating other people in an open-relationship–polygamy is something TOTALLY different.
I don’t want to give too much away unless people read the book, but I was reported to the Pennsylvania State Police because I believed that this kid using me was wrong. What gets me is that, I preached to him not only through texts but in person about all my beliefs in gender equality, and it just went right over his head. It amazes me.
The scariest thing about it was that the report had been hidden from me for two whole days of that horrible week at school. I was psychologically sick that Thursday, and I went home early that Friday. It had been a short week because of Memorial Day weekend the past weekend. There had already been a lot going on, like the fact that he kept telling me how much he liked me but asked other girls to prom instead of me, and then didn’t feel like driving to my house to pick me up and “hook up”. The list goes on besides those things. I became ultimately fed up with him when he didn’t respond to me that entire weekend, and I knew I had the last straw–especially after I saw a picture on his Instagram pop up on feed with who is referred to in my book as “Main Lioness”. So, here’s what I did: I decided to mock it. I already had a YouTube channel that everyone at school knew about. I would post things about Republicanism and feminism and all that. Since I didn’t want to make it too obvious, I posted first a video of me singing “King of Anything” by Sarah Bareilles, but I didn’t feel like I was really making the right point, and I knew no one would take it that seriously if I just sang some song. So I did something else. I had went swimming that day or something, and I was in this very tight, blue bikini. On my camera, I sang to the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha”, and them at the end began mocking the fact that anyone would want me to treat him like a King, simply because he was male and I was female. In other words, I could dance in front of a camera, I could take my clothes off, I could talk about how great he was, but I would NEVER be worthy enough of him in my eyes.
Despite the fact that I put a more direct explanation in the caption and in the next video, people–mainly underclassmen girls–did not like it. It was like being attacked by, yes, lionesses. Whether they simply were part of “The Pride” or wanna-be members of “The Pride”, they attacked me ferociously. I talk about this in my book–it’s just like a lion’s pride. Whether you want to look at it scientifically (yes, humans do have a common ancestor with lions and other felines, although it does go awhile back) or astrologically (this guy’s sun sign in the zodiac is Leo. He has a blonde mane–just let that sink in. You could prove that it’s just a coincidence, but almost all of the male Leos I have know have had manes of some sort), there is a correlation. See, the male lion can have one, maybe two fellow male lions in the pride (for me, the two wingmen in our Public Speaking class) and can have around ten lionesses (there are around 9 girls this kid was involved with). The lionesses go out to hunt for the male lions, specifically the head lion (such as when I was attacked). They bring back the food and give it to the lion first, and then get the leftovers themselves (he is better than them because of his sex and therefore gets first dibs on everything, even if he didn’t do anything to work for it).
I don’t want to give the details away, but the officer apparently called my parents that Wednesday. Like I said, I was psychologically sick Thursday and went home sick Friday, and that’s when I heard the news. My parents came to my bedroom door and told me to come. My mom said to me “[Leo the Lion]’s mom filed a complaint with the state police”. I didn’t know what to say. I have no idea what I did. I would learn from the officer the next day that what I said in the video was “threatening” towards him, and I would learn later that “Main Lioness” and a couple other “lionesses” had negotiated with the mother on reporting me, telling her that I was sending him things or something. It was all very weird. It’s interesting though, because the officer I was talking to (while crying my eyes out) was the COMPLETE opposite of “Leo the Lion”. He was young and married to his high school sweetheart, and was an extremely kind individual. He told me he couldn’t find anything that I had done that was actually illegal. He did say, however, that he saw one of my YouTube videos talking about how girls often feel that they are not “worthy” of a guy’s affection, simply because of their gender. When I was on my way out, he told me never to feel like I was “not worthy” of anyone’s affection, or to never let anyone make me feel like I wasn’t.
SPS: Do you feel you’ve currently written all you can on the subject of the correlations between Republican and feminist ideas, or do you plan to revisit the conversation?
KM: I think I’ve gotten everything down that I knew, and I’m very happy about it!
SPS: What kind of responses have you received from people who have read your work?
KM: Mixed. A lot of my friends and people I knew from school brought the book because I told everyone about the memoir part in it, but some people (again, mainly girls younger than me) still had a problem with me writing about something like that experience or with my opinions. As for the political part, they’ve come out positive for the most part. Some people question me, but it’s no big deal. In the end, I pretty much win the argument because my argument is based off of factual information.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for Kerry Moynihan?
KM: College. Getting my communications degree and minoring in women’s studies. Throughout college, I’ll be getting involved on campus, and living my life. Little by little, I am writing the book I talked about earlier. I’m not sure when it’ll get done, but I have an awful lot on my plate right now…so we’ll see.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
KM: No, I don’t think so. I was trying for a long time to get letters out to literary agents, and they were all either rejected or ignored. I’ve been told that it was either for the controversial topics it was about, or maybe that I’m only 18 years old. I do feel like self-publishing has made me work harder than I may have if I had gotten to work with a company. I’ve had to do the revisions myself, and I’m probably going to revise it again. There’s still work to be done. I think the self-publishing process has certainly helped me find out more about the publishing process.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
KM: I mean, I think it has. One day I would love to be on some political news show or radio station. I mean, people might not take me seriously because I’m only 18, but that fine. I’m just trying to prove some points. I don’t really care about the money. I just want people to hear my opinions and I want to inspire people of all ages and all backgrounds. That’s my goal and I hope I can do that one day with this book.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
KM: Just write. Writing is like an adventure; you never know where it will take you. If you just let your mind wander, you’ll be amazed at what thoughts you find in your head. At the same time, however, know people. I’m an outgoing person myself, but I’ve found that a lot of writers are quieter people. I’m not saying change who you are, but never be afraid to speak up if you truly want to.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
KM: I think I’m definitely inspired by my dad. I love my mom too of course, although I think she and I don’t really have the same brain. I think a lot like my dad on a number of subjects, and I try to know a good amount about everything. Even though he writes mostly music (I write lyrics though, too), he is certainly an excellent writer. Ever since I was younger, he has also exposed me to classic rock, which I love to this day. I especially love his favorite group, The Beatles, and each and every one of The Beatles I am inspired by with my writing and just with the way I look at the world. I think that John Lennon (although he probably wouldn’t agree with me on fiscal policy if he were alive today) was such a peaceful human being and excellent song writer, and I find him to be incredibly inspirational.
As for other book writers, I do look up to Stephen King. I have always loved his books and the thriller/horror genre. I feel that his ability to put his creative ideas onto paper is absolutely outstanding. One day, I hope to publish one of my books in the thriller/horror genre.
I would also like to give a big shoutout to my classmates from Rustin who are not only from our Class of 2014, but from the other grades as well. Whether you are a person who may have agreed or disagreed with my opinions, you made me stronger as a person. Thank you for that.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Kerry, and all the best for the future.
KM: of course! Truly so happy that I could join you, and thank you.
SPS: For more information on Kerry and her work, please do visit her Showcase Author page here.