In the wake of the ground-breaking #timesup and #metoo movements, women’s voices are firmly in the spotlight. Discussions about equality are finally taking place in the mainstream, on worldwide and individual scales. It very much seems that now is these women’s “time”, that heir voices finally have power. Except, it’s always been our time, and our voices have always been powerful – we were just not handed the microphone before.
With movements like these, it is not enough for us just to listen. The silence-breakers had the impact they did because they did more than talk: they formed a community. And from that community spawned debate and conversation, and from those, slow, but steady, changes. And suddenly it was an unstoppable movement. This kind of action can often seem out of reach. Who are we to start a movement? What significance will our voices have? How can we as writers take part in social movements? Frankly, it felt a bit above our heads, but it doesn’t have to be.
When I co-founded Girls & Glory in June 2017, it was because I believed that safe spaces created for and by womxn was a step in the right direction to ensuring our voices are heard.
I wanted to create a community, online and in real life, that served as a place for all to thrive and be recognised. When I was younger, I took for granted that I could pick up any copy of Teen Vogue or Cosmo and almost every girl would look like me. My business partner and co-founder Ana, a Filipina/Hispanic woman, didn’t ever have that. Whilst discussions about equality and discrimination are taking place in the mainstream, so many groups still go unrepresented and unheard.
When we first started Girls & Glory, we knew that, more than anything, it had to celebrate diverse voices and present hope for women and non-binary identities to come together, create and collaborate. Our name is a play on the old saying, “no guts, no glory”. We believe that womxn are the true embodiment of those guts, and often don’t get the glory for it. And so, we were born.
Since then, our site has grown more than we could ever have imagined. Young womxn around the world have identified with our mission and the community that Girls & Glory has fostered is a testament to the importance of media representation and diversity.
Though we are still an emerging platform, we’ve dedicated ourselves to engaging in hands-on efforts to improve the communities in which our team and our readers call home. From gaining the support of politicians and social media influencers, to establishing an on-the-ground presence through our community events, we are determined to make our site more than just a blog. Since December 2017, we’ve hosted “Period Parties” – events that provide womxn experiencing homelessness with sanitary and menstrual hygiene products– in the USA, and our first UK event is to be hosted in London in early April.
G&G hasn’t changed thousands of lives, but if its impact is enough to provide a safe a supportive environment for all womxn to share their stories and ensure their voices don’t get lost, we’ll have done our job.
Amy Beecham is an undergraduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, an aspiring poet and firm advocate of women’s and LGBTQ* rights. She is also the co-founder and assistant editor of online and irl community platform Girls & Glory. Founded in 2017 and with a current audience of over 10,000 monthly readers, Girls & Glory aims to celebrate and empower women and non-binary identities through art and words. As part of this, they regularly collaborate with bad-ass womxn who have previously included including Girlgaze founder Amanda de Cadenet, best-selling author and influencer Laura Jane Williams and YouTuber Arden Rose.
You can find Girls & Glory on Twitter, Instagram and via their website.
Directed by Maureen Freely and David Morley, the Warwick Writing Programme at University of Warwick prides itself in having writing staff who not only teach but are also published authors involved in the writing industry and literary scenes. It has just opened an exciting PhD programme in Creative Writing (https://goo.gl/3pdiB9) alongside its internationally recognised flagship BA and MA programmes.
For more on the Warwick Writing Programme: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/writingprog/