CONTENT E D I T O R ' S N O T E s p ot l i g h t on g ir l s a g a inst Girls Against w o m en h e l p in g w o m en t h e w or l d o v er Jessica Barker R I N G I N G T H E R I O T B E LL Lucy Ryan GOOD WITCHES Rae Raynor Art b y M a x w e l l Wic k stro m A N I N T I MAT E M E D I O C R A C Y Ritapa Neogi FA N G I R L L I F E I S A T O U GH L I F E Aizzah Hanis re a d , w o m en Teah Abdullah
5 6 8 10 10 11 11 12 18
Art b y M a x w e l l Wic k stro m h a l l o w een w it h cind y a nd h er friend fro m PA Kimberly Morales LAd y Anna Graziosi THE MEAN REDS Hannah Feld " y ou ' re so different fro m w h at I ' d t h ou g h t y ou w ou l d be l i k e ! " Michelle Teoh G I R LH O O D Aizzah Hanis QUEENS OF MINE Tasya Abdullah C atc a l l Art Shannon Chan (whamonster) P O E T RY Taylor Hurley H a ir y Le g s Chloe Henderson A R T B Y A S YHA M I S K I N
20 20 20 21 22 26 36 40 41 42 43 3
EDITOR'S NOTE HI AND WELCOME TO THE FIRST ISSUE OF GRIT!!!!!!! Wow I actually can’t believe this is finally A Thing but before I go on I just want to say sorry that we took our sweet sweet time with this. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive us we promise (maybe) not to take as much time with the next issue. Anyway so here it is: our first issue. When I decided to do this, I was scared - scared that I would be in it alone, scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it (as my experience in publication is well, zero), scared that I wouldn’t be getting any response at all but wow was I wrong! This all changed when I approached Tasya and Aizzah and presented them with the idea. Their excitement and encouragement helped me in so many ways that I decided to get on with it. I started GRIT with one thing in mind: feminism. And the freedom to express it. Okay, two things, I guess. Where I come from, feminism isn’t so accepted and is still a foreign concept to many. I wanted so much to show that feminism should be the norm so I started GRIT to explore the many ways it can be expressed, through writing, crafting, drawing, photographing, etc, etc. I know that there are so many zines out there so I started GRIT knowing that comparisons will be inevitable but fact of the matter is that there can never be too much feminism, or too much creativity. One of the many many things I learned in this process is that there is SO MUCH talent out there. SO. MUCH. It was so inspiring to receive so many submissions. I’m honestly so grateful for all the submissions. I had many doubtful moments during this process but the amount of submissions I got kept me going so thank you very much. So, yeah, first issue. Let me know what you think. We didn’t set a theme for this issue because we wanted to test the waters and see what we get. Rookie mistake. I was completely floored by the amount of submissions and in terms of content this issue’s a bit all over the place but I promise next time I will be more prepared! If there’s anything I’d like you to take away from this issue is that I hope it inspires you to express your feminism in ways that you find most inspiring, fulfilling, stimulating and exciting! I am so so excited to be sharing all these works of art with you and I hope you love them!!!! See you next time!
SPOTLIGHT ON GIRLS AGAINST Girls Against
Girls Against is a campaign working to raise awareness of, and ultimately end, sexual harassment at gigs and concerts. GRIT gets hold of Girls Againstâ€™s Hannah, Anni, Anna, Ava and Bea for a piece on why they think itâ€™s important to raise awareness of sexual harassment at gigs and concerts. Here it is, in their own words:
When you go to a gig, what do you
expect to happen? If you’re standing, you’ll most likely be pushed up against complete strangers, sweaty and dazed, but taking in the music and atmosphere which you’ve paid good money to experience. Do you expect you be sexually harassed, made to feel alienated and uncomfortable and essentially have your night and future gig experiences ruined? You shouldn’t, but many people do. And that’s what Girls Against is here to stop.
Girls Against exists to push people in 2015 to understand that this is an issue which exists, and must be stopped.
After setting up our Twitter account, stories of experiences flooded in; some very hard to read, but each story was all too real. Just over a week had gone by and we had gained over 3000 followers. It overwhelmed us, but we are so grateful to have been boosted onto a platform which will enable us to make a real difference. We have gained the support from artists Girls Against was set up through a love of such as Peace, Swim Deep, Spector, music and concerts, and through anger at Kate Nash, Circa Waves and Slaves, the lack of awareness and action against which has been incredibly humbling and harassment. The five of us in the Girls has helped our campaign spread. Against team – Hannah, Anni, Bea, Ava and I – have all fallen victim to harassment But what exactly are we going to do at gigs at some point. After one of us had to stop harassment? Well, so far the a particularly bad experience at a concert, awareness we have raised has helped we decided to take matters into our own people realise and acknowledge that it hands and set up a campaign raising is a real issue. Some victims have told us awareness and attempting to clamp that they didn’t realise others had been down and end groping at gigs for good. harassed at gigs too, and has made them feel less alone. But in addition to raising We are here for all genders, whether that awareness, we are planning on contacting be female, male, non-binary or any other venues and security companies so they gender. However, our priority is helping too can realise that something needs to girls who are vulnerable, as the majority be done. We are also in the process of of victims are female. For decades, girls creating a survey to generate statistics have been sexually and verbally abused on the issue, and none exist as of yet. at gigs and festivals. Kathleen Hanna’s Essentially, Girls Against is a voice for the ‘Girls to the Front’ movement in the 90’s victims of this disgustingly unacceptable prioritised girls at gigs, allowing them act. We have received insane support safety and sanctity away from the often so far, and we can’t wait to see how our brutal and dangerousness of a crowd. campaign will help in the future. We aren’t As powerful as this statement was, backing down until safety against sexual assault at gigs is no longer the norm. 7
It is fair to say that it is
Women Women Helping Helping Women Women the the World World Over Over Jessica Barker
a divided world. Divided into men and women, into perpetrators and victims, into different classes of life. But in the face of this division, there are several organizations the world over that have band together to help women in this world pinned against them. Like in the heavy patriarchy of India, where women donâ€™t even legally have the right to their own marital property, Uttar Pradeshborn Sampat Pal Devi stood up for an instance of domestic violence in her own village by beating the abusive husband with a stick. In 2006, she expanded the mission and created a kickbutt feminist force to be reckoned with called the Gulabi, or Pink Gang. These women are unmistakable in their pink saris and heavy bamboo sticks, called lathis, used to beat any abuser that they see. The Gang also serves justice by giving women the opportunity to start their own small businesses, and create jobs by providing services for of age marriages and condemning child marriage. The group stands 400,000 strong across 11 Indian provinces (with a Parisian branch that Devi denounces,
saying “Those people don’t have my permission any more and are now making money using my name. I don’t want their support.”) But wait! There’s more. There seems to be a pattern here. In Lebanon, nearly three thousand miles away and submerged in a completely different culture, thrives KAFA, an organization that lives on the mantra “Enough is enough” and self describes as “a Lebanese civilian organization, nongovernmental, nonprofit, feminist and secular... looking towards a world free from [patriarchal and discriminatory] social, economic and legal structures of society.” The organization runs both a hotline for female and minor victims of domestic violence and a hotline of legal consultation, medical help, and shelter for migrant domestic workers that have been victimized. KAFA offers therapy services for victims and other resources like the Red Cross number, and in a nation where divorce is difficult for a woman, Lebanon’s government is actually considering to pass an amended draft of a women’s rights law that KAFA wrote. From these groups I think there’s something to be said. At the end of the day, when the Internet asks us who wore it better and begs us to judge each other, call each other real or fake, that division will only set us further back. If women are already divided against, what on earth will further division do for us?
There is a reason that these feminist groups end up being so powerful, always called feisty and forces of nature. They’re always are so HECK YEAH about women and themselves. That is because they stand up in the face of this message to incite civil war among women. They choose to stand together when the world tells them to split. They defy all odds, all systems of government, and all of those people that say “Feminism is not needed! It’s so extra! No one needs help to be free from men! The patriarchy is a myth!” That, actually, is why I stand for feminism in the first place: because I recognize that through the life I lead is one that is relatively easy compared to others. Every soul has its issues, and every issue is unique to every person, so nothing can fix every issue like a universal Band Aid, but feminism offers a blanket way to customize the solution. Feminism covers both the violence that the Gulabi Gang fights, the rights of Lebanese women like what KAFA fights, and all the other fights against Hollywood or against whatever other BS in the end. So let, well, anyone really, take a page from these feminists’ books, whether they’re female, feminist, or neither, and simply stand up to the ones that seek to divide humanity and stare them in the eye and say: No thanks.
rin g in g t h e riot be l l by Lucy Ryan
sew slits in your cheapest and spin blood into the vinyl: pin-pricked skin like saftey never mattered like real dolls do vigil nostalgia for ghosts you don’t remember violent, quiet, riot grrl shrieks for no surrender in distilled adaptation lipgloss kisses at an intersection killing in thigh highs galaxy knives like Nemesis patrons lilywhite you, daisy chain you, when there lie brown girls weeping black girls screeching and an effigy raised in the queer girl’s image Now. tangle their fingers yours, hers: open mouths in chorused rape alarm and cause death by siren song all you, those, girls we become filthy
Good Witc h es by Rae Raynor
Good Witches do not wear dresses of peonies they do not say “I am Good Witch” they are not caricature of happiness Good Witches wear sunsets like cloaks they run with bare feet exposed limbs and snake hair through forests and foggy minds They jump over stone walls laughing as the sticks crack beneath them they drum their midnight black claws against tables as if they were raised by wolves and divine your future in sidewalk cracks modern-day Cassandras, better listen listen they do not say “I am a Good Witch” they smirk, bear fangs forked tongues spilling magik like moonlight and make you figure out yourself
A N I N T I MAT E MEDIOCRACY by Ritapa Neogi
insignificant typing rush-hour friendly shovelling snow, shovelling snow. boreal forests, tundra permafrost leaking shadows over severed spines, we’re automatic now. broken into shovelling snow, flesh in sweet sorrow, childhood was a day away. we are working tonight. social studies in power’s language. morphine, cherry trees who can’t stand alone. independence, a foolish claim.
by Maxwell Wickstrom 11
FA N G I R L LIFE IS A T O U GH LIFE Aizzah Hanis
Being a fan and a girl is hard. We would either be made fun of for being so obsessive and passionate Or we would always be questioned if we are a “real fan”. Our interests are always ridiculed. We’re always told to tone down our obssession. We’re made fun of when we get too emotional. Our interests are always questioned. We’re accused of liking something because we want to “impress someone”. We’re called “fake fans”, “fake geeks”, “fake nerds”. We get accused of liking something superficially, that we don’t know really know what we’re talking about. It’s annoying. It’s tiring. We can’t like what we like because what we like is “vapid” or “superficial” but when we show our passion for something we’re called “obsessive” and “try-hard”. FANGIRL LIFE IS A TOUGH LIFE is an illustration series made to celebrate what makes being a fangirl so great and to show to all fangirls that it is okay to be a fangirl. We love passionately and feel deeply. It is our strength! Cry all you want. Love all you want.
READ, WOMEN Teah Abdullah
I had told myself—this was back in
2013—that I would read more classics. There’s a list out there, probably by the BBC—and others like it—stating the fifty books you should read before you die. Maybe at that stage in my life I was making plans on what to say to God about books I had read during my lifetime. If God had known that I haven’t read Don Quixote, She would be very cross with me. Imagine me in the limbo of heaven and hell about to meet my judgement and God being like, “Girl, did you not see that fifty books you should read before you die list? Why haven’t you read Anna Karenina? Go left for Hell.” But guess what though? That list that went around, and its other personifications? They are sexist and racist, lacking recognition of the diversity in the literature that exists in this world. My God believes in social justice and fighting kyriarchy; that list thinks everyone in the world should read the Bible and not other religious texts. The issue with these lists is that not even an eighth of the books listed are written by women. When looking at ethnicity, the number drops further with perhaps three books written by minority men, completely disregarding books
written by women of colour. Frustrated by my internalised misogynistic decision to read classic books written by white men, I sought out to read more books by women the year after. I had also realised that a lot of classics are boring. So I read whatever I wanted without caring much about whether I’d look good if I happen to die in the middle of reading it. From there, I made the conscious decision to read more books written by women and more books written by people of colour. And making that decision was a great learning experience in normalising the process of picking books now. Two years later, my reading list is as diverse—if not more—as the year I started making the conscious decision to not read too much books produced by white men. In December 2015, women across the internet made the decision to read books by women under the hashtag #readwomen. Through this initiative, people would only read books written by women for the month of December. Creating #readwomen was a way to recognise that women are writers too, while also calling out the inherent sexism of the publishing world and ergo its marketing decisions for many centuries. It was a way to normalise reading habits from selecting purely books written by men that are often displayed on the windowsills of bookstores to hopefully making the decision to
read books from all gender spectrums equally in a more regular fashion. Some men might have some gripe on the idea of reading women only, and why the hell won’t they? They gripe about everything, they even griped about #readwomen, and that is just for one month. Let’s be real here, men are not better writers. Tao Lin is getting the recognition he is getting because he is marketable to yuppie hipsters, not because his work is actually philosophically groundbreaking. People who say they don’t like reading women are full of crap. They make excuses on how women writers predominantly touch on the subject of love without realising that books published over the centuries are mostly about love too. I, for one, think that reading more women makes you not only a better feminist, but a better person all around when you truly believe in equality. It means that the demand to read more books written by women or those who doesn’t fit in the gender binary or are not white equates to more opportunities for women of colour, trans, LGBT, and differently abled individuals in the publishing world to succeed. So great on you if you read! But be a better person and select what you read with a conscious towards the equality that you believe in. Read more women this year and fuck that list of books you have to read before you die. Be cooler than you already are: Read Women. 19
h a l l o w een w it h cindy a nd h er friend fro m PA by KIMBERLY MORALEs
Let the ATM take all my money in small fees My legs will pay for the rest of our drinks I am cheap silk in plastic hanger I am a soft discharge on expensive panties Ignore how people stare at the running black tears on your cut up face and in your pantyhose We can fix those both with some drunk sex I am chipped press on nail I am drugstore redness wax Slurp up the leering men and their veiny eyes And let them pay for the rest of our drinks
Lady by Anna Graziosi
They all love to remind me, that I should act like a lady small and silent. They laugh when I said, that I would rather be a person free to act. I was told to calm down, to be a lady pretty and perfect. Don’t cut your hair short, Don’t sit like that, Just don’t.
All of this, to constrain me To cut me into more manageable pieces. All for them. But there is a fire burning, and I will not let them put me out. I am a lady So I am stronger than you. Just let me breathe
by Maxwell Wickstrom
T h e m e a n reds * * by Hannah Feld
The bed is hot and so I inch away trying to find some cool. Longing for another set of limbs Still and Firm that I can fit in to. My heart, beating outside of my chest could be prized out of the grip of that pair of foreign claws could be cupped held until calm by another. My body is out of fit and in the way. No affection nor recognition but neglect. Long baths scrub scrub scrub cleanse and dilute Blanche Dubois. Listen. Hold tight my arms, prop up my head, My neck is aching and weak Unpredictable Not to be trusted with this weight I anticipate the gasp a relief of cool oxygen when I break the surface. A distant moment out of my reach. If my heart could just keep on and bare the tension and the pressure in my veins.
**I wrote this earlier on in the year when I’d had a particularly huge life change and I was at the waking-up-anxious level – that is, increased heart rate, inability to focus on anything, nausea, panic. I’ve struggled with anxiety in the past, often with unknown triggers, but even knowing the trigger this time didn’t soothe the symptoms. I decided to try and write. As a teenager, poetry had helped me work through problems and this time it helped again to clear my mind, at least for a short time. Creating out of my difficulty is definitely therapeutic. Having now gotten seriously better, mainly through exercise, determination, great peer support and long baths, whilst I’m still coping with some low level anxiousness and blueishness, reading this piece back makes me thankful for how far I’ve come. From a time when it was hard to even be awake, when I often felt on the edge of suffocation, physically and mentally to the sense of relief and calm I feel when I read this poem back.
“YOU’RE SO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I’D THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE LIKE!” Michelle Teoh Michelle shares her thoughts on making friends, leaving a good impression and how to do it:
When I entered college to do my
A-Levels, I met a friend of a friend who claimed that he had read my blog prior to our first meeting, and the first thing he said was, “You’re so different in real life from who I thought you were by reading your blog. I thought you would be more talkative.” Three years later, when I first came to the UK to attend my first year of university, a friend’s friend, who had previously been shown my Facebook profile, came up to me and said that I was nothing like what she had expected me to be by looking at my profile picture on Facebook, which was an intimidating photoshoot of me in dark lipstick, wielding a katana. It felt like deja vu all over again, but I was no longer a stranger to variations of exclamations of “you’re so different from what I’d thought you would be like!” It’s no longer news to my family and friends that I’ve never been very good at talking to people and in articulating my thoughts on the spot and reproducing them verbally to a listening audience. I don’t possess the ability to talk to several strangers at once, to be the ‘driving force’ of a party, preferring instead to be a silent observer. Thus, when it came to strangers and most importantly, people whom I potentially wanted to be friends with, I was afraid that my aloofness and timidness might be interpreted as passiveness, unfriendliness or the absolute worst, arrogance, when in reality I desired
to make new friends and share my experiences; the only problem was I didn’t know how. I was way too self-conscious of everything and anything I did, constantly worried and distressed about how others might perceive me. If I talk too much, will it be too overbearing on the other party and come off as too desperate and disingenuous? But if I keep quiet, will they think that I’m being unfriendly and pretentious? Hence, a typical social interaction for me usually turns out to be: me holding back on all the responses I could have given while staying quiet the entire time, brain furiously labouring but mouth staying stagnant, resulting in an equivalently silent response from the other party, after which I return to the comfort of solitude to regret and inflict mental punishments upon myself. It was exhausting, and I despised the process as much as the notion that it was something I had to inevitably go through every single time I met someone new. It drained all the energy I possessed to the point that I would much rather say “no” to all event invitations and stay at home by myself, already convinced that no matter what I did to present myself in any social situation, I would never be able to come off as appealing or interesting as everyone else because I couldn’t even allow myself the opportunity to be as such and
would only emerge from the situation racked with frustration. It became second nature, probably even an instinct, to avoid people and situations in which I was obliged to interact with people to spare myself the aftermath of inadequacy I knew I was bound to feel. You’d think that someone who deliberately isolates herself from the world would be contented with being alone most of the time, but seeing everyone else around me surrounded by friends and attending events left a blazing sour trail in my gut. I wanted that too. I wanted to feel like I belonged. I wanted to be a part of a community that made university life so exciting and enriching that people kept going on and on about. It was constantly a raging war within myself, the contradiction of protecting myself, yet at the cost of feeling even worse than before at being unable to do something everyone seemed to be able to do effortlessly. The first few months of university were incredibly miserable and isolating. So, out of desperation, I did the only thing I knew to do at that moment to somewhat strike a middle ground between those two polar opposites of closing people off and being socially outward: I invested my time and energy in the belief of improving my outward appearance to draw people in, instead of actively reaching out to other people. It was a coping mechanism
I’d developed a long time ago, one which created a chasm between other people’s perceptions and how I actually was in real life. I had no self-esteem, so I had to fabricate it. There were two parts to this endeavour: firstly, by working on my physical appearance and secondly, by enhancing my online persona. My days spent lamenting my social ineptitude were replaced with shopping trips at the mall and on online stores, in addition to looking up fashion blogs and websites to tailor the optimal aesthetic I thought would make myself appear interesting enough to get people to approach me so that I didn’t have to be the first one to open my mouth because my fear of rejection prevented me from doing so. I wanted people to take one look at me and go, “She looks interesting, I’d want to be her friend,” or “Hey, I watch this anime that you have badges of on your bag, let’s have a full-fledged discussion about our mutual obsession with it,” basing hypothetical scenarios on my own judgments that I might’ve done the same were I not ridden with a crippling fear of talking to strangers on my own. I also started carefully refining my online presence even more than before (which was already a lot), taking steps to appear as the most 25
idealised version of myself through my Facebook posts, Instagram photos, blogposts etc because at least behind the computer, I had a semblance of control over what I did or didn’t allow people to see about myself. Besides, typing words out in the luxury of calmness was an option not offered in social interactions in real time. It was an outcry of, “I actually have a lot of ideas and opinions about said subject and not actually just dead and quiet inside and here is the proof, through written words on social media that you might never hear come out of my mouth.” I was constructing fantasies within my head that because of the way I dressed or the way I presented myself online, I might one day stumble upon like-minded people who would be interested in initiating conversations with me so I could latch onto the other party’s courage to fuel my own. However, gradually, it became prominent that it wasn’t exactly achieving the effect I’d wanted and expected. Why weren’t strangers approaching me to talk to me like I thought they would? Look at all this content of myself that I had put out there! I have so much to offer the world! I told myself that it was just a matter of time before people realised this and yet, people still kept quiet around me. It was a rather narcissistic perspective, but I was quickly running out of ideas.
Truthfully, it was just self-deception so I didn’t have to face the reality of ineffective stagnancy. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that passive attraction was pretty much a hoax and that however interesting I might look to other people, it still wouldn’t make a world of difference if I stood by silently and let the other party do all the work. Waiting didn’t require effort and was highly unproductive. A mutual two-way mode of communication was essential in these matters. I was leaving my front door open but the lights off, barely a valid invitation for guests to enter my party (not an analogy usable in the circumstance of a burglary, but it conveys what was meant to be conveyed). Upon the realisation that I’d gotten everything thought out wrong, I started taking baby steps to venture forward where I was previously too afraid to, punctuated occasionally by flinching away from negative receptions and retracting my steps, but constantly trying bit by bit, saying “yes” to more invitations and pulling up a fresh sheet of Courage each time I turned up, ignoring the fact that the same people that I’d appeared standoffish in front of before were present again. There was extreme discomfort at times, and most of the time, the end of the day would see me withdrawing back into the confines of my room to lick my own wounds, convincing myself that I didn’t actually need anyone to survive and I was okay with being alone forever.
But my efforts paid off when I found myself within a group of people whom I can call my friends. And I realised that I didn’t draw them in with how I dressed or the things I wrote or shared on social media, but rather by showing an interest in them, offering help when needed and basically treating them like how a friend would. In contrast with the initial lonely few months of university, I now have the reassurance of my friends being a source of support, being there to pick me up and having my back at all times to take bigger, wider steps bravely, so that in the event of my falling down again, at least I won’t be completely alone to face my blunders dejectedly and shrink away from challenges before me. At least, now, experiencing failure and rejection didn’t feel so world-endingly frightening anymore if I know that people trust me, believe in me and are willing to help me better myself, and vice versa.
up a conversation or joining a club despite not knowing anyone in it. There is only so much I can do to leave a good impression, the rest is up to the next person who decides to take the next step, and if probability dictates that you can never truly predict or perform guesswork on what another person might do in reaction, it is entirely up to you to take the initiative to be the person you want to be, and not to expect other people to give you the chance to do so.
Undoubtedly, I still harbour anxiety and fears about meeting new people and sometimes even towards my ability to keep the friends I have, but the one valuable thing I’ve learned is that if there is one thing I should invest my time and effort in, it’s in building my own confidence to do things myself instead of waiting for things to happen to me. It’s in finding encouragement and motivation to overcome my fears to do something I find scary, be it approaching a probable like- minded stranger to strike 27
G I R LH O O D
A project about capturing the personalities of teenage girls. Aizzah takes pictures of her cousins and ask questions about their favorite things and what â€˜girlhoodâ€™ means to them.
HA SYA What is one word to describe you? Unpredictable. What do you like most about yourself? I can listen to one song on repeat and not get sick of it. How would you describe your style? My style is no style. Are you obsessed about anything currently? S-U-G-A. Whatâ€™s your favourite pastime? Fangirling. If you had a soundtrack to your life, what song(s) would be in it? BTS - Cypher Part 3, BTS - Dope, BTS - Hold Me Tight, BIGBANG- Bae Bae If you could spend a day with anyone, dead or alive, who would you pick? And how would you spend it? Driving aimlessly with Min Yoongi. If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fried chicken. What are the things you canâ€™t live without? Music, my cellphone and BTS. What does GIRLHOOD mean to you? Doing what you love and not caring what others think. Being individual and not interested in impressing others.
AMAL What is one word to describe you? Indecisive. What do you like most about yourself? I like that I am organised. How would you describe your style? Some days, I would prefer to dress down. Some days, I would ask someone to take a photo of my outfit just so I can post it on Instagram and put down “#ootd” as the caption. I don’t think I have a particular style. If I like it, then I like it. But if you were to ask my mom... she would say I dress like a boy. PSHT. Are you obsessed about anything currently? Bangtan. DUH. HAHAH. and shoes. What’s your favourite pastime? Making to-do lists. Writing. Reading. If you had a soundtrack to your life, what song(s) would be in it? Coming of Age by Foster the People. If you could spend a day with anyone, dead or alive, who would you pick? And how would you spend it? Is this a trick question? HAHA. Obviously, I would spend it with Park Jimin. how? I would want to strike off everything on my “date ideas” list. so, yea... either that, or just stay in and talk about anything over a cup of tea. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Easy, sushi. What are the things you can’t live without? My iPod. What does GIRLHOOD mean to you? I believe it is a process. A process of trying to discover yourself. I believe that at this point in time, you are allowed to experiment with a lot of things and it is okay to make mistakes along the way. I still have yet to come to terms with the idea of making mistakes is okay for myself. I’m always thinking that I should not screw anything up and punish myself for not doing things as planned. when actually that’s how life is. #emogirlZ
QQUU EE EE NN SS OOFF M MIINNEE Words by Tasya Abdullah Illustrations by Aizzah Hanis
We’ve come a long way in the media when it comes to a more diverse and realistic representation of women, and the opportunities are constantly growing compared to how it was 20 years ago. This is because women themselves are creating art, music and leading discussions amongst themselves about themselves, rather having roles being written for them. More creative ideas are being developed and published, although not as much as we’d like, it’s still something. Not only do these creations deserve more attention, but the women behind them also deserve to be recognized more. Hoping for an everg rowing list of Queens of Mine, these few are the first four:
1 .J un g l e p ussy Shayna McHale, known as Junglepussy, is an independent rapper from Brooklyn. She emphasizes selflove and supporting your girlfriends. This is important in times when competition amongst girls are normalized, hence ‘girl hate’. Fortunately, there’s been an increasing amount of awareness, and especially between womenfolk in the music biz. What better way to express this, other than through music? It doesn’t always have to be all serious, fun times are allowed too! She’s all about that healthy, tropical lifestyle (which isn’t for some us, I get it). I adore it though, because part of self love IS taking care of your body and treating it as delicately and nicely as you would treat a baby. Just listen to ‘Me’ on her Satisfaction Guaranteed mixtape and you’ll see what I mean. With her music, you enter a judgement free zone. She talks about embracing her radiant chocolate skin a lot, which I find refreshing, and in turn makes me embrace my melanin too. Not only that, but she’s also incredibly witty and charismatic – both of which I find entertaining. And for her to be able to make you feel unapologetic about yourself while doing that is pretty cool.
2 . A m a nd a S e a l es Comedian, host, content creator, rapper, singer. She’s had several web series on YouTube, like Get Your Life based on her moving from NY to LA, and my personal favourite: Things I Learned This Week, in which she writes and acts in skits about the latest happenings in politics, the media, life in general, really regarding racism, sexism and the like. Amanda also does stand up, and her material is like an extension of her work online a breath of fresh air! Her writing is hilarious as she tackles these issues, which I feel is needed when talking about such topics. In one episode of Get Your Life that stuck with me, she was saying how women of colour don’t get that much representation in the media, especially in Hollywood. So instead of waiting for this representation, we should start creating our own stuff and represent ourselves, hence this zine. In addition to that, her stand up material only shows how each of our upbringings and experiences may be different but we connect through the similarities within those situations (i.e. being a woman) and we find people who relate and connect with us. Make space for ourselves, you know? 39
3 . M a rin a Wata n a be Known as ‘marinashutup’ on YouTube, and for her segment, “Feminist Fridays” she makes videos concerning intersectional feminism and mental health. She goes through these issues with a deadpan sense of humour, which reminds me so much of Aubrey Plaza. Not only does she talk about these things articulately, but she goes into them with enough depth for anyone to understand. If you’re unfamiliar with some terms, she also has a Feminism 101 video that’s a basic guide to explain what these terms mean.
4 .T r a cee E l l is R oss She’s an actress, model, comedian, producer, television host and all those good things (you might know her as Diana Ross’s daughter!) She’s been making waves on the interwebs within the last few years, and even has her own YouTube channel. Tracee is down to earth, smart and she’s not afraid to be silly – just watch a video of her alter ego, TMurda, and you won’t be able to unsee how SUPER CUTE this woman is. Having big curly locks, Tracee has been opening up discussions about hair and encouraging women to love their hair and be confident in it, no matter how it looks like.
You may have noticed a pattern by now that all the women on this list have a sense of humour – and I have to admit that I have a massive soft spot for funny activists. It’s such an important element when you’re tackling such serious issues – it makes talking about awful things become somewhat better, and lifting the heaviness from the reality of it. 41
by Shannon Chan
a p oe m on va nit y, m a l e p ers p ecti v e , a nd h o w w e p ercei v e ourse lv es : Taylor Hurley
There is a woman furiously knitting. The click of her needles is lost under the thread-heavy pump of the train, but her yellow is dancing and growing. I ask myself if this is erotic. The man to my right steals glances at me, and it is halfway through the ride I realize he simply prefers my window to his. I am seeing the light of my jaw and curl of my ears from the male perspective. How easy to assume! Granted, there are no mirrors on board. It is through him I must see myself. I imagine him carrying me as I now carry him, and again, how easy to assume. Here I am glowing in my own morality, my cheeks are aflame with the lightest of pinks. I was a genius all along! To figure myself—my own vanity-- out! Vanity, fed mostly by food from the outside, it is a human’s proudest animal. It’s sweet, warm musk evades the pillar lips. Pink is to purple as beige is to nude. To the people with your noses in books, whatever you are looking for isn’t here. The form and theory of a habit is not detectable. The threat of a lost sight keeps me glued to the window, to all windows, to the window of the man to my right’s eyes, surveying me (surveying my window). The contrast of my face to the left whips and turns, spitting into my face of the right. Please, when you behold me, behold me from the left. Behold the curl of my crimson ear before anything else. The shadow of my own nude be gone from your mind. It is the geometry of the things I possess in duality which you must pay mind to: ears, hands, feet, legs, eyes, nostrils, lips.
by Chloe Henderson
By Aysha Miskin
C O N T R I B U T O RS Ai z z a h H a nis T a s ya Abdu l l a h T e a h Abdu l l a h Mic h e l l e T E O H J essic a B a r k er Gir l s A g a inst R it a p a N eo g i M a x w e l l Wic k stro m Ann a Gr a z iosi H a nn a h F e l d Ki m ber ly Mor a l es Luc y R ya n R a e R ay nor T ay l or Hur l e y C h l oe Henderson Ay s h a Mis k in S h a nnon C h a n