Following the results of the 2016 election, Nora Fellas became interested in politics and social justice. Since she was too young to vote and couldn’t find a community that related to her feelings, she used social media and journalism to make her voice heard. “I grew up in a town where my peers weren’t very interested in politics, and I felt very isolated,” she said.
“I started to realize that I had a large platform, and thus a responsibility to make sure I was covering a wide variety of issues and presenting everything fairly."
Nora started an Instagram account called Nasty Feminism which empowered her to connect with like-minded people and have her ideas challenged. “As my account started to grow, it became less about sharing my frustrations and more about educating an audience,” she explained. “I started to realize that I had a large platform, and thus a responsibility to make sure I was covering a wide variety of issues and presenting everything fairly, despite sharing an opinion.”
Today, Nora is a student at Vanderbilt University and the founder and admin of Nasty Feminism, a political Instagram account that highlights marginalized voices and issues to over 500k followers. She is a student journalist who writes for various publications, focusing on political issues and social justice. “Writing has allowed me to find my voice,” she said. “You don’t need to be an adult or powerful or wealthy to send a tweet, write an article, or start an Instagram. In a world where young people are often ignored, we must use social media to our advantage.”
"In a world where young people are often ignored, we must use social media to our advantage.”
As an exceptional Gen Z’er making a difference, Nora was honored for her Journalism and Media work through the ConversationaLIST. “I use my voice for good by challenging the oppressive systems upon which our country is built,” she said. “I share underrepresented perspectives on important political issues and ask my followers to be open-minded.”
Over the next five years, Nora would like to continue using her voice for good and begin a journalism career. “I hope that I inspire other young people to use their voices,” she said.
Nora believes Gen Z’ers face unique problems such as climate change. However, they are often written off as being too young to make a difference. She’s grateful to The Conversationalist for bringing young people together and amplifying their voices. “I’m excited to work with an inspiring and impressive group of young people who are committed to making positive change,” she said.
She also believes that empathy is an integral part of a unified world. “We don’t need assimilation to be unified, but we have to try to understand one another and be unified in the common goal of a just and equitable society,” she explained.
“We don’t need assimilation to be unified, but we have to try to understand one another and be unified in the common goal of a just and equitable society.”
To break open our echo chambers, Nora focuses on being a listener. “Social media has taught me so much about listening, and I don’t limit myself to sharing my own words on my page,” she said. “I find sources from marginalized communities that have personal experience with the political issues I’m aiming to highlight to share a unique perspective with my followers.”
When it comes to difficult conversations, Nora said it’s important to listen and not make people feel stupid. “We have to recognize that people’s opinions are shaped by unique contexts,” she said. “But I also don’t think you have to find common ground with people that want to infringe on your human rights.”