At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
I worked in a law firm post high school in the late eighties as a legal secretary. It was during this time I watched the male attorneys and even the female secretarial pool quite often describe the lone female attorney as a bitch. She didn't smile enough, she left early sometimes from work and said too much during meetings. That was a real eye opener for myself at 18. It was while working at that law firm I got a license plate cover that said "blond bitch at wheel." Watching that lone attorney's tenacity and perseverance while surrounded by people that didn't notice her winning cases, but instead noticed her hair, shoes, teeth made me quit that firm and go to college. I wanted to never work under someone that could dictate my future because I have opinions.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
This is going to sound crazy but I think it was Jackie Collins. I went through a period of reading racy romance novels in my early teens and Jackie Collins was the queen. Her characters were so sexually driven from a place without shame. They wanted men to go down on them, in fact, they were insisting on it, embracing their sexuality and I'm eternally thankful for reading those characters at a time when I myself was figuring out how to keep my body safe and secure while also testing out my own wings. I felt empowered by her characters. They weren't stupid or vapid...they were strong bold women.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
I've never really given up. I've been dismissed on repeat in the business world by men threatened by my confidence. I've simply learned to use back doors or continue with perseverance. When I was looking for some new investors for a project out of town, I had to go through nine male financial guys before the tenth would take me serious. Whether that was because I was female, I don't know. But I would have kept going until I'd reached a 100. Being a feminist is about wanting equality and probably being the most persistent bitch around. I'm comfortable with that roll.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
I don't hold back. A single thing. It not conscious. I sometimes cringe at myself wondering if I should perhaps take it down a notch, but I wonder if a man thinks the same. Probably. We have become a sensitive anxious prone society. And I see men become uncomfortable sometimes when I swear or use dirty words and it makes me maybe push it to the next level. So they have experience with sexually charged women. I also write about women against women quite often. That even we ourselves need to learn to embrace all avenues of feminism from sexuality to bullet point maternity leave plans. I simply choose to take the slut shaming avenue. And I'll point double standards anywhere I can to anyone listening.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
I'd love to see more women in politics in our country. More women willing to discuss politics. I'd like to see women not burned to death in India or circumcized in Africa. I'd like to see women have value in other countries for running businesses, for creating computer software and I'd like to see men raise more of their children. I'd like boys to be raised by men that are not afraid of a woman's voice but instead are simply used to it.
How I Define Feminism:
Diana Kirk is the author of the upcoming book "Licking Flames: Tales of a Half-Assed Hussy" released by Black Bomb Books this December. She's been published in Thought Catalog, Literary Kitchen, The Psychology of It and Yellow Mama. She lives in the PNW with her husband and three boys.