Meet a Nasty Woman: 5 Questions with Melissa Bird
Meet Melissa Bird. Melissa is a Nasty Woman, Ph.D., MSW and 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 policymakers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve access to reproductive health care for women, men and teens.
As a writer, life coach, professor and fiery public speaker, Dr. Bird creates the genesis for a new brand of leadership. Her words awaken revolutionaries, trailblazers and powerful innovators in the quest for justice. When she’s not building her public speaking Empire, she can be found reading trashy novels, drinking fine whiskey, playing mom to three delicious humans, and loving her punk rock scientist James Thomas Kelly.
What makes you a Nasty Woman?
I have a strong opinion about why women are uniquely suited to engage in social justice work. One way that I am nasty is that I encourage women to tap deeply into their passion and what lights them on fire so that they can make deep, intentional change in their own lives and communities. I also LOVE talking about sex and reproductive justice. I DEEPLY LOVE IT.
Share an experience that shaped your views or helped get you involved in activism.
Oh, there are a million of them. My grandmother and aunt were deeply involved in politics and I always heard them talking about it around the dinner table when it wasn’t polite to discuss such things. At the same time, I was overhearing these conversations, I was being raised by a single mom because my father had committed suicide when I was 6. I didn’t realize it then, but now I can clearly see, that all of the struggles that I faced throughout my childhood propelled me down the road to activism…there simply was never any other choice. I cannot be quiet in the face of injustice, it is in the very fiber of my being to speak out about things that deeply impact my community and the lives of people around me.
What advice do you have for people who want to help enact change and push progress but don’t know how to get involved?
Think of a time when you were afraid of being imperfect and vulnerable. Who did you reach out to in order to rise above that fear? The idea of being imperfect and vulnerable stops us from finding commonalities with others. Reach out to the people in your world and tell them what makes you feel totally lit up. Do not hold back on your passion, it is ok to speak out and be different. Find the organizations that LIGHT YOU UP and tell them thank you for existing. Start out small, maybe you just send a thank you note to a woman that inspires you or maybe you volunteer once a year for an organization that you believe in. Stay informed by building a circle of passionate badass women who support and love your unapologetic passion for that one thing. Then do the thing, you will find people that resonate with you and you will be unstoppable!
If you could look into the future, 10 years from now, and see that real progress has been made, what does that look like to you?
Women will hold 50% of the seats in local elected office in a majority of cities, counties, and states. Women will not be bombarded with a wall of people when they walk into a women’s health clinic to get their damn birth control. Women will not be mean to other women for not engaging in activism in the exact same way that they would and women will stop shaming other women for wanting to make millions of dollars or for NOT wanting to make millions of dollars. The patriarchy thrives when women are pitted against each other and we just gotta knock it off with that shit.
Share with us a favorite wine moment, memory or pairing.
I love prosecco and sweet wine and bubbles. There is something so decadent about reading a trashy sexy novel and drinking really delightfully crisp champagne with some delightful buttery cookies and sorbet!
More about Melissa Bird...
I have an online advocacy training called Marginalized No More for women who are ready to engage in advocacy on their own terms, in their house, with their favorite glass of Nasty Woman Wine at their disposal. No need to leave the house for an advocacy training, just do it in the comfort of your own home!
I am a kick-ass life coach who coaches women using feminist principles that help my clients dismantle oppression in their lives and their communities. My coaching helps women tap into their core passions so that they can speak their truth to change their lives and their communities.
I do community-based workshops called Fanning the Flames where I bring together 40 women in cities and towns throughout the nation to tap into their passions, discover their jam, and change lives right in their own backyards.
I also partner with my colleague Melanie Childers to coach women who are running or planning on running for office. Our program the Candidates Secret Weapon is all about mindfulness, passion, and badassery!
Connect with Missy at www.birdgirlindustries.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @birdgirl1001