[Editor’s Note: Kate Bryan is the person behind the “1 Girl Revolution” podcast. The podcast is built around the theme that ‘Every woman has a story. Every woman has a voice. Every woman has the power to change the world through her life. Every woman is a 1 Girl Revolution.’ She spoke to Charles Camosy.]
Camosy: We’ll get to your new project in a moment, but first I’d ask you to talk a bit about your previous work and background.
Bryan: I hold a bachelor’s degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville and after paying off my undergraduate student loans, I moved to Ireland to pursue a Master’s in Public Affairs and Political Communications. After studying and living in Ireland for over two years, I decided to move back to America and then onto Washington, D.C. I wanted to move to D.C. because I had a lot of friends there – and it’s where “all of the action happens.” I moved to D.C. in January of 2012, thinking I would only stay a year or two – but I ended up staying for over six years.
I learned a lot working in politics and public relations in D.C. and I’m grateful for every experience and opportunity that city provided for me, but after six years in the “belly of the beast,” I decided this summer it was time for me to come back to my roots – and move back to Detroit, Michigan.
I’m still doing PR, but am now just consulting on PR and communications from Detroit. I recently launched a podcast called “1 Girl Revolution” and I’m working on a bigger project/platform by the same name – that will launch in January. So there’s alot going on – and while I’m out of the busyness of Washington, I’m busier than ever. Detroit often gets a bad rap, but it truly is a city filled with so much hope, grit, and opportunity. It’s been a gift to be back in this great city.
Living and working in D.C. – and working with the media can be difficult and I’m sure it was eye-opening – what did you learn through your experiences and how were you able to navigate these rough political waters?
Washington, D.C. is a fascinating place … it’s a city that holds so much power and influence, but is simultaneously so out of touch with the rest of the country and with the world. It’s a city that lives and breathes politics, but where most people live in their own echo chamber and don’t surround themselves with differing viewpoints. There is also a temptation in D.C. to think that everything revolves around politics, because that’s what everyone is living and breathing, but in doing that you lose sight of what truly matters — which is, people.
The same can also be said in regards to our interactions with the media, and we’re all guilty of this – not just those in D.C. We have our politics and our beliefs, and we watch and consume the media that aligns with our views. We live in our own echo chamber and often lose sight of people and the things that truly matter.
With regards to the media (and media bias), I’ve almost always had great experiences with the media — even if they disagreed with me or what I was working on. I don’t think reporters and the media get enough credit for the work and research they often do, trying to understand a story or a differing perspective. There are always going to be moments where someone’s personal views or bias comes through in their reporting, or where a reporter doesn’t do their due diligence on a story, but in my experience, most often — reporters aren’t given the opportunity, access, or information they need to report fairly.
In my work, just like in my life, I always strive to give people (and reporters) the benefit of the doubt – and that’s almost always worked out favorably. If I see a story that isn’t being covered, that I think should be, or something unfairly reported or presented – I’ll reach out to the reporter or outlet. And you don’t have to be a PR person to have the ability to do this. Twitter (and other social media platforms) is a powerful force that gives us all the ability to ask for coverage of a story, set a story straight, submit a comment, or ask a question. I encourage everyone to use Twitter and social media as a force for good — and don’t ever be afraid to reach out.
We’ll get to 1 Girl Revolution, I promise… but, I can’t do a Q and A with you without asking about the Washington Post op-ed that made you (at least) Catholic famous: ‘I’m a 32-Year-Old Virgin and Living the Feminist Dream.’ What was your basic message in that piece and what kind of response did it get?
Haha. Catholic famous! I love it.
This article happened because, similarly to what I described in the above question, I saw two different articles in the Washington Post that called chastity, “archaic”, and another that blamed chastity for failures in life/love. I saw these articles and felt there needed to be a response that presented a differing perspective, my perspective and the perspective of so many others. Originally, I didn’t want to be the one to write the article, but because it was such a personal topic – no one else wanted to write it. So, I did what I thought was right, and wrote a piece – and submitted it. I’m not an expert or a spokesperson on the topic, but I wrote my college thesis on this topic and I’m human – so I had a lot to say. I don’t claim to be perfect, but like so many others, I’m striving… and I felt convicted that our voices needed to be heard.
The basic message of the article is that chastity is a virtue and like any other virtue (or like another example I gave in the article – any sport), needs to be practiced. Chastity is not “archaic” or a list of dos and don’ts – it’s actually, quite simply – the perfection of love. We’re all called to love our friends, our family, relationships/spouses, and everyone we encounter in the most perfect way. We’re all works in progress, but chastity is about striving to love others in the most perfect way. And in my experience, and in the experiences of so many others like me — chastity offers a great deal of freedom, confidence and clarity. Chastity has allowed me to live the “feminist dream” — as I say in the article.
The response to the article was fascinating. Men hated it, and I received a great deal of vile commentary and mocking via every avenue you can imagine, including to my face. Most women loved it and felt empowered by it, even if they didn’t agree with my perspective. I received some of the most beautiful letters and comments from women all over the world who had stumbled across it – and I still get letters from time to time from women.
But, probably the hardest thing was getting slammed by fellow Catholics and friends – people who I thought would’ve been supportive – because it wasn’t “Catholic-centric enough” or it was “too secular” or it should’ve been “more doctrinal.”
I stand by every word I wrote and I think it was the perfect piece for the outlet and the situation. There’s often a temptation to drown people in what we know to be true, but often times we need to lead them to water and just let them drink at their own pace. That’s what this piece was to me – and I believe it’s the piece that God wanted written for the time and place.
OK, now you have an exciting new project on the way: #1GirlRevolution. What can you tell us about it?
There’s a lot I want to say, but some things will have to wait for the new year. In October, I launched the “1 Girl Revolution” podcast, which highlights everyday women who are making a difference in the world. We’re only a couple months in, but we’ve already talked about mental health, breast cancer, adoption, human trafficking, family, and so much more. On the first episode I tell more about my own personal story – and more about 1 Girl Revolution. So, if you want to know more about me and 1 Girl Revolution, check it out. The podcast is a part of a bigger project that will be launching in January.
In January, we’ll be launching a larger social media platform by the same name – 1 Girl Revolution – that will use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to highlight the stories of everyday women, who are changing the world through their lives. Everyday women who are making a difference in the world, in both small and big ways.
This Podcast/platform is built on the belief that every woman has the power to change the world through her life. There’s so much more I want to say – but I’ll just have to tell your readers to keep an eye out in January for 1 Girl Revolution news! And in the meantime, ‘LIKE’ the 1 Girl Revolution podcast Facebook page – because the news will be coming through there first.