In the UK, Feminism is a dirty word. It is a word that I think I actively avoid, and I would never have thought I would use it to define myself.
Yes, I wear DMs and have discovered I am incredibly passionate about lobbying and advocating for women's rights. But I have never burned my bra (they're really expensive!) and I don't hate men.
Being here at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women has really challenged my feelings about feminism. I have spoken to so many women who are passionate about making a genuine difference to the lives of girls and women around the world. They're not standing in the streets waving placards, burning their underwear and shouting about how women are better than men. Instead, they are talking to people, having incredible conversations about the practical things that we CAN do to empower girls and women to change the way that society views them (us!)
These are women who work on a daily basis to enable girls and women to feel equal and to become equal. Not just equal to men, but equal to one another.
I am starting to realise that, by seeing feminism as a "dirty word", I am perpetuating that stereotype. How are women ever going to be seen as equal when those of us who are fighting for that equality are stereotyping ourselves?!
I don't know that I'm quite ready to label myself as a "feminist" - it is still a word that makes me uncomfortable. But I am prepared to start thinking about my own definition of what this word means to me. Even if I don't outwardly define myself as a feminist, maybe with time I will come to accept that there is a little bit of a one somewhere inside of me.
I promise no underwear will be burned in the process.