Hi, My Name is Kirsten and I’m a Feminist.

I started officially calling myself a feminist in college.

The University of Michigan–from my liberal arts point of view–was a fantastic place to be a young woman.  I was exposed to an excellent education on the history of feminism as a civil rights movement, and what it meant–what it means–to be a woman in this country then and now.  It was exciting to discover that I was a feminist that way.

That being said, I was always sure to say, “I’m a feminist.  But, don’t worry, I don’t, like, burn my bras and stuff.  I’m, like, normal.”

Looking back, I’m sure both disrespecting my foremothers, and saying like in the same sentence would have gotten me booted from club We-Can-Do-It.  But, honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure who I was and, really, just sort of talked a lot because I didn’t know much.  I knew that I was proud to be a woman, and that I thought suffragettes were the coolest, and that maybe people would think I burned my Target bra if I called myself a feminist.  I was in my early 20s so I was still pretty stupid.  In my older, wiser nowadays (representin’ the mid-late 20s, ya’all), I leave that part out.

Simply put: I’m a feminist.

What does that mean to an older, wiser mid-late 20-something like me?  Maybe you’re thinking it means that I rarely shave my legs, love Hillary Clinton, and hang out with power Lesbians.  And you’d be right.  But that’s not what makes me a feminist.

I moved to Los Angeles because I wanted to work for the entertainment industry, and now I work as a freelance PA.  It’s a pretty rad way to make a living, despite my being grossly outnumbered by men.  Don’t get me wrong, my PA brothers and I get along just fine–splendidly, in fact–but it’s no secret that it’s a giant boy’s club.  So when there’s another girl PA on your crew, you walk up to her a couple hours into day 1, introduce yourself, awkwardly compliment her bright colored pants; and then the two of you telepathically agree to watch out for one another for the duration of the job.  It’s weird and true and pretty cool.

I’m a feminist and I understand that there is power in numbers.  The buddy system is a girl’s best friend.

I often feel overwhelmed as a young woman embarking on a [rather difficult] career in a male-dominated field.  And, admittedly, there have been times when I’ve wanted to binge eat mint-choco-chip ice cream until I exploded; because, yes, I face certain obstacles based on my gender that aren’t exactly “right” or “fair.”  Instead of stress-eating my way to infinity and beyond, lately I’ve taken to putting on a girl anthem play list (ie. Sara Bareilles, Lorde, Robyn, the Queen Bey herself) and researching the careers of the great women of Hollywood that come before me.  From Tina Fey and Elizabeth Meriwether, to Norah Ephron and Kathryn Bigelow–the list may be short, but it sure is mighty.  This is always a past time well spent (okay, full disclosure: I am likely eating mint-choco-chip ice cream while doing so.  Because I mean, come on, I deserve it.) (And frankly ladies, so do we all).

I’m a feminist and I rely on strong female role models; and I understand how very important it is to be one.

I don’t have a TV, so I didn’t watch the VMAs this year.  I do, however, have a Facebook account.  So not only did I eventually see Miley’s performance, I also saw the endless amount of status updates, memes, and lengthy Buzzfeed articles giving their two cents on her career since then.  Clearly, I have my own opinions on the matter.  Personally, I found the licking of the sledgehammer in the “Wrecking Ball” video pretty gross; however, on the flip side, I don’t fear for the entirety of our pre-pubescent female youth with Miley out there on the Internet where our daughters can find her.    Mostly my opinion is that she seems like she’s coming to terms with her sexuality in the public eye, and–whether she’s aware of it or not–that has got to be rough.

I’m a feminist so, honestly, what I found far worse than Miley’s behavior, was my Facebook Newsfeed offering meme after meme of her being mounted from behind by a camel with the words “Hump Day” across them.  Too many people “Liked” them, too.  I just found that to be mean and weird and not okay.

My name is Kirsten and I’m a self-proclaimed, make-up wearing tomboy, think Inga Muscio’s CUNT: A Declaration of Independence is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read, and believe in a female god.  But that’s not what makes me a feminist; that’s just what makes me me.

What makes me a feminist is my belief that I have the right to define what it means to be a woman; and that my fellow woman has the right to do the same. Our time is better spent supporting each other, even if we’re different, and especially when we’re struggling.  Honor the Girl Code–and if you can’t say anything nice about the women around you, don’t say anything at all.

Or better yet, find something nice to say and do that instead.

Trust me, I’m a feminist.