Janelle Paisley

The Reluctant Feminist

A tale of reclaiming the streets and my sense of agency

“The Reluctant Feminist: A Tale of Reclaiming the Streets and My Sense of Agency” is a collection of essays chronicling my struggles to balance life as a woman, mother, creative professional, and wife while navigating the tumultuous waters of COVID times from 2019 to 2023. I grapple with the complexities of modern womanhood, the many skins I’ve woven to protect myself, the challenges of reclaiming space, and confronting the burden of unrealistic expectations. 

As female designers and working mothers how can we succeed in a system that’s built for us to fail? What is fueling this constant need for perfection and endless pursuit for more? What space can we take back as our own, and how? 

This is not a self-help guide; through my vulnerabilities and shared stories of women historically and currently working in communications industries, I hope other women will feel ‘seen’ and find solace in the ambiguity.

Janelle Paisley is a mother, wife, creative director, graphic designer, and letterpress printer based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband and two growing boys and knitting with friends at her local coffee shop.