The Founders

Marie Baléo

What is your background?

Marie Baleo_NottI was born in France and moved to Oslo (Norway) with my family at age 9. I moved again four years later to a slightly warmer location: Beirut (Lebanon), where I lived until the end of high school. Being exposed to two very different cultures at a young age was a great opportunity and a very enriching experience, and was probably what caused me to become interested in international relations. I pursued this interest at university, where I studied political science, the Middle East, and international business law. I am happy to be able to use my background to write about international relations, politics, society, culture, and feminist issues.

On a more personal note, I like to hike, listen to records at home, and make/paint furniture (not always a success!). I have been living in Paris for almost 9 years.

What are the topics that you are especially interested in at the moment?

Right now, as always, I am following the situation in Lebanon. For several months now, the country has been facing a presidential vacuum, due to dissension between political factions. Hezbollah’s role in Syria has caused it to come under strong criticism in Lebanon and has strengthened fears of the Syrian conflict spilling over to the country, while Daesh has worked steadily to infiltrate Lebanon, which it views as an integral part of its strategy for a “caliphate”. Meanwhile, the situation at the Lebanese-Israeli border remains tense, as evidenced by the events of January 29, 2015, though it appears that both parties intend to avoid any further escalation for now. In short, I think this is a pivotal time for Lebanon.

Why do you think writing is important to you?

I have always loved writing, though I am not the most prolific of amateur writers! Combining this love of writing with my interest in current events is a more recent endeavor for me, and one I am really excited about. I think writing is the best way to find your voice and express your opinion. The time required to write and edit allows your opinion to mature and your argumentation to develop, so that you can present others with unambiguous, rational, supported ideas, which is a prerequisite for any constructive debate to take place.

What is your favorite place on Earth?

Tough question, but it would have to be my grandmother’s vacation house in Brittany: quiet, beautiful scenery, just a few minutes away from the ocean. I go there alone every winter to hike the coastal paths. Give me my backpack, hiking boots, and iPod, and I am the happiest person on Earth!

Do you have a recurring dream?

Plenty, actually! Mostly dreams of tornadoes, tsunamis, and drones, though I always end up miraculously unharmed somehow.

Where did you meet Marion?

I met Marion when she was sitting next to me in a Middle Eastern politics class at Sciences Po in 2007. We bonded over long photography walks through Paris, and I knew she was special when she turned out to be the only person who would accompany me to McDonald’s every single time (which, as a broke student with food allergies, was pretty much every day!)

Marie received a BA in International & Area Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Economic Law from Sciences Po Paris. 

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2 thoughts on “Marie Baléo

  1. Pingback: The Law vs. Workplace Harassment: an ongoing fight | Nótt

  2. I am writing to comment about the “Women Against Themselves” article you wrote. I have been following alot of the social discourse between feminists on this subject in recent years. I was impressed by your article and your level of understanding, so hopefully you can read. I am concerned that this arguing back and forth is actually empowering anti-feminists and giving them the status of an actual movement. Telling them they are wrong is only driving them to defend their stance. And it almost feels, when you read their comments like it is a power trip and a way of raising themselves above others. Remember grade school? At its most extreme, it can be likened to bullying. Kick em when they’re down mentality. It reminds me also of the tea party extremists where they are not rational and no amount of science is going to convince them. There are questions that I think need to be addressed in order to move this conversation forward and away from just women arguing amongst ourselves, which is what we are doing. Divide and conquer?
    The real question is; why would any woman be so anti-woman? And why try to sabotage women’s progress like this? If we can get to the bottom of that question and bring it into the light in social discourse, then we can get ahead of them, way ahead of them. There needs to be a shift in this discussion.

    What I see as possibilities is an over-identification on the part of the anti-feminist with the so called male “victim.” Because there are a lot of men out there who agree with these women, unfortunately. And, there are a lot of feminists out there, but relatively speaking, there are so few women who are willing to stand up for what is right, and once again, it is sometimes, the most vocal that get the most attention, which is maybe what they are seeking. But, even as we all argue amongst ourselves, hopefully articles like yours could at the very least empower uninformed women to see the truth and become empowered.
    There are other psychological reasons why women might take the anti-feminist stance; there are some women out there who felt, in their childhood that their dad got a bad rap. Or maybe their brother got a bad rap. Or here is another one: maybe they blame themselves for something that happened to them when they were younger. Maybe there is some self-hatred or internalized sexism, they over blame themselves and then they generalize that blame to all women. African Americans have been discussing internalized racism for years. Why can’t we?
    Because I am sick of listening to a dead end argument between feminists. Lets move this conversation to a conversation about them. Internalized sexism and some of the psychological reasons why women would fall into bullying behavior and self-sabotage. We need to avoid this trap of defending ourselves, and start talking about them as the problem that holds us back from achieving equality.

    Like

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