An Interview with Dr. Melissa Bird
Last month, Dr. Melissa Bird posted on Facebook that people should consider developing a Personal Daily Resistance Plan (#PDRP) for taking action. We interviewed her to learn more about her history with activism, her thoughts on feminism, and how others can develop #PDRPs of their own!
Hi Dr. Bird! Thank you so much for your time today. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a deeply rebellious social justice activist who has taken my social work background and education to engage in acts of feminist revolution to change the world.
Do you consider yourself to be a feminist? How do you define feminism?
I am absolutely a feminist. Feminism and I have a complicated relationship and our love affair has changed over the years. It was a militant, rebellious expression in my teens, a stronger more intellectual expression in my 20’s, a queer explosion in my 30’s. It has become more pragmatic and intentional in my 40’s peppered with my give-a-shit turned off. I simply could not care less whether people are offended by my brand of feminism. I am just going to keep doing me while fighting for justice and equality and being willing to be deeply imperfect while doing so. I am not always going to get it right but I will always be open to learning how to be a better feminist.
Feminists Act! is all about helping people determine how they can take action on issues that affect people who identify as women and girls in the United States. What are some of the ways you have taken action on feminist issues?
I have been engaging in acts of civil disobedience since high school. When I was younger I relied on magazines like Ms. to inform my actions and give me knowledge about issues affecting women and girls throughout the world. Now, with platforms such as Twitter & Facebook, I have utilized those tools to create deep relationships with feminists around the world. I do not see social media as a negative space, although negative things do happen. I believe that connection with others is key to the uprising of the matriarchy. I write to take action. I tweet to take action. I do 2x/week FB lives to take action. I protest in the streets to take action. And most importantly…I read books on witchcraft, women’s leadership, and sex to take action.
You posted on Facebook recently that people should consider developing a Personal Daily Resistance Plan (#PDRP). Tell us more about this!
This came out of a conversation with a friend of mine on Twitter. I asked her how I could help her hone in on some of her activism thoughts because she was feeling very overwhelmed. We were thinking that maybe people just need a little inspiration to ask themselves, “What three things do I most want to affect, what are my skills?” So I tweeted and posted on FB: Feeling #resistance overwhelm? Develop a #PDRP Personal Daily Resistance Plan. Write down 3 crucial resistance efforts where you can apply your skills. No one of us can do everything - each of us can do something. I believe this: If we each do what we can - everything will get done.
If each of us just does one or two little things…it can make all the difference in the world…honestly.
What are your thoughts on translating anger into action?
Oh juicy anger…I love how it propels me into doing something. I have blogged on it here and here. We can’t be afraid of our anger. We also can’t afford to get stuck in our anger. Anger is a gorgeous sensual beast who should not be shut away in a cage. She plays a deep role in activism and should be utilized as a catalyst…most especially now.
One thing we try to do at Feminists Act! is to amplify existing voices, tools, and resources. Do you have any recommendations for people to follow on social media, articles to read, organizations to know, etc.?
Rewire News is the BEST news source for EVERYTHING reproductive justice and resistance.
I LOVE the Pantsuit Politics podcast. They talk about the nuance of politics from a conservative and liberal point of view. SO GOOD!
I also love the BOOM! Lawyered Podcast with Imani Gandy and Jessica Pieklo; it is SPOT ON when it comes to what we need to know about legal issues affecting all of us in 2018!
Any parting words for the Feminists Act! community?
One night in 2014 at 3:31 in the morning I was jolted awake and wrote down these words:
I believe in a new brand of advocacy where we humble ourselves to our shortcomings and engage in acts of graceful revolution that bring light to the true reality of people’s lives. I believe that if we engage people in their own spaces, teach them to look at injustices as moments that touch their own lives, if we give them the knowledge of the power structure, if we give them the tools to infiltrate its membrane, then change will take place in America. This is the Graceful Revolution.
Never give up. Engage in acts of Graceful Revolution.
If you have an idea, DO SOMETHING with it.
Build your village.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Call your hero and tell them thank you for inspiring you.
#Resist #Persist #Insist on a feminist America.
Melissa Bird, PhD, MSW is a passionate feminist whose education in social work has led to a career advocating for children, women, and their families. She is a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. She has a wealth of experience working with policy makers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve access to reproductive health care for women, men, and teens. Connect with her at birdgirlindustries.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @birdgirl1001!
All views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the author.
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