It’s International Day of the Girl! So to celebrate how amazing we are (betty pretty much does this every single minute of the day anyway guys, we’ve got you) we’re meeting some seriously inspirational babes.
Because when girls work together, great things happen. End of. Thanks to Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, girls with strong (and shared) belief systems are joining forces now more than ever. Together they are building safe, supportive spaces for creative production that encourage, above all else, honest conversation. Introducing gal-dem!
The multi-medium London-based troop launched in 2015 and help WoC (women of colour) build careers in the media, as well as diversify the faces, voices and experiences of the women we currently see in magazines. They talk about loads of interesting topics from race, to representation, to gender and are keen to kick off convos that aren’t really happening in the creative industries, heck, the world.
Hannah Gooding is their lifestyle editor (not to mention our new career crush) and is totally waving the flag for female inclusivity. She realised that waiting around for publications to feature women like herself just wasn’t an option any longer: “We noticed a lack of representation of ourselves in the media, and as they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. If you want to do something exceptionally, get your best girls on board to support.”
With issue 1 sold out and issue 2 available now for pre-order, we caught up with the incredible collective to talk about the power of female friendship, the importance of finding a voice and naturally, periods.
So, what actually is gal-dem?
“gal-dem is both a magazine and an online platform run collectively by women of colour for all to explore.”
Why did you decide to start gal-dem?
“We noticed a lack of representation of women like ourselves – women of colour – in the media, and as they say, if you want something done, go do it yourself! So we came together as a female collective just under two years ago, and did just that. Some of us knew each other through high-school or university, but mostly we came together through the weird and wonderful world-wide web. Online communities can be so powerful, a great way of coming together and sending out a clear message.”
What kind of stuff can we expect to find in the magazine?
“Interviews, illustrations, photography, opinion pieces, and an exclusive announcement from a childhood fave.”
What is it like to work alongside your bffs?
“It’s a massive ball of energy actually. We are always thinking of the next step. In the last year we’ve got our own radio station, club night, and now we have finally moved into a dedicated office space, so there’s so much more to come! We are actually made up of lots of contributors – it’s getting pretty tricky to count – but that’s what is so great about being a collective, it’s a community we support each other in an online and offline capacity.
“Working with your bffs is so rewarding. We can always rely on the gal-dem to listen to our rants, like all our posts on instagram, and generally gass us up every hour of the day.”
Do you think the fact you’re united in your mission is what makes you so successful?
“Yes, but the collective power of talented women comes tops. We just tapped into something that was needed and people were drawn to that.”
Why do you think periods still come with a stigma attached?
“Because men control the media and they don’t like talking about what they don’t understand. I have so many male friends that have had no idea how the menstrual cycle works, but I know how their anatomy works. It requires research, it requires time and understanding to be able to write or talk about periods – which unfortunately, isn’t always happening.”
Do you think this is the same for negative associations we sometimes see about the female body?
“Yes. If we’re too busy hating ourselves, we can’t take over the world. So stop, breathe and put your powers into practice. Oh, and don’t read magazines that tell you to be something you are not.”
Does social media help or hinder us when it comes to self-love?
“It’s a double-edged sword, definitely. Selfies can really boost self-esteem, but seeing everyone’s best side on social media can make you think that you should actually look like filters in real life.”
If you could say one thing to your 14-year-old self, what would it be?
“Stop plucking your eyebrows! And don’t feel disgusted by your own menstruation.”
It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.