girl power

Playlist: Briony’s Summer Anthems

“Summertime is here again, and my hayfever is through the roof. Thankfully sitting inside and sneezing gave me an excuse to make up a new Anthem playlist full of excellent female tracks to listen to whether you’re out on the beach or hiding from the sun like me…”

summer tracks.png

Click here to listen: Briony’s Summer Anthems

Anniversary Post: Why We Write

Today marks one year since Anthem took to the internet, and began its journey to provide a platform for women. In a year, we’ve written about a lot; from bras and sex work to theatre and cooking. All that matters for us, is that women get the chance to talk about what they want to talk about and that they are heard.

We thought to celebrate our birthday that some of us would say a little bit about what we’re actually doing here, and why we choose to write for Anthem.

 

SIAN BRETT

sianabout

In Anthem, Briony has created a platform for women to have a voice, and talk about the things that might otherwise go unsaid. To vent frustrations, and question the things that affect us every day. We say ‘I’m right pissed off about this thing’ and she says ‘write it’ and before you know it, people are agreeing with you on Facebook, and Twitter, and saying they know what you mean, and yeah, me too.

That’s why I love it. It’s a sharing, a conversation, a dialogue. It’s a chance to properly lay out what’s going on inside your head, and strip back fucked up media representations of women. To have other women share your experiences with you, but also to have them share other, different experiences.

It’s women’s voices, rising in a chorus. Isn’t that just the best thing?

 

JESSICA YANG

A lot can change in a year. You can move house, you can start Brexit, and you could even become president of the United States (because apparently anyone can these days). But there are some things that take much longer than a year.

Feminism is recognised to have begun in the late 19th century – with the long and hard claim to the right to vote. Three waves and hundreds of variations later, we are here. We are still fighting. There is still gender inequality, and misogyny, and people telling children ‘boys don’t cry’. As feminists, we have evolved. We have succeeded in so much, but there is so much still to overcome. Whether it takes a year, or ten, or a hundred.

It’s not just about fair and equal treatment of men and women anymore. This fight is about mental health, the media, and, like all those years ago, politics. And so this is why I am a feminist. This is why I write for Anthem.

AMBER BERRY

I write for Anthem because feminism is, and has been a passion of mine for years.

I find writing cathartic, and it is key to my self-expression. It also has the awesome added bonus of raising the awareness of important topics!

 

ROWAN DUVAL-FRYER

Why Anthem? Because I see the gaps in the media, in the magazines, in the news, and I want to fill them.

I feel that Anthem is about more than feminism, it’s about challenging sexist norms, opening up about fears, and being honest about the fact that we all really hate exercise.

This inspirational group of young women are representing the people I wanted to see represented and that is something I want to be a part of!

LARA SCOTT

Lara SCOTT STA SAME PLS

I look forward to writing for Anthem because in these divisive and turbulent times it is a great source of hope to have online which is created and written by, for and about women.

Full of intelligence, inspiration and support.

Finally, from us all: 

Thank you again for you support, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Anthem.

I’m tired of fighting.

I’m a 20-year-old woman in her final semester of university, and in my spare time I write and edit for this website that I started almost a year ago. I haven’t posted much recently for two reasons: firstly, I’ve been working on a dissertation among a few other deadlines at university, and secondly, I’m exhausted.

My friends all like to wind me up for being a feminist. They like to tell me about stupid things people have said who claim to be feminist but aren’t (if you hate men, you’re not a feminist, so if you would kindly stop dragging the rest of us down, I’d be grateful). I have colleagues too, everyone enjoys telling me about stupid things ‘feminists’ have done, or how they enjoy taking them down online. Obviously, for them, it’s very funny, but for me, it’s wearing. I always clarify what feminism is and why I believe in it, but it doesn’t stop it. 

“Power to the Girls”

When I see girls, particularly younger girls and teens wearing t-shirts that say anything feminist, I smile. I’m so glad that the work of previous generations won’t end, and I’m hopeful that the future will be better. But I’m also not an idiot. I know full well that some minds won’t be changed. I know that Trump isn’t going to come out tomorrow and say ‘Gee those feminists are on to something’, nor are the Daily Mail going to cover female politicians saying ‘aren’t these women smart and powerful’ instead of talking about their legs (don’t get me started).

I know we aren’t equal. We don’t think equal. And I can’t help but agree with Emma Watson in thinking that we won’t be equal. I don’t see equality in my lifetime. I’d love to, but if it took a woman getting crushed by a horse to get us the bloody vote, I dare not ask what it would take to get where we want to be. 

I’m a feminist. I don’t really care about my personal equal pay because I’m paid the same as my male colleagues, but I care about the statistics suggesting black women lose out on almost 40% of white men’s wages1234. It’s not about me, but I still care about it. I raise an issue with men’s pressure to be manly and unemotional as it leads to dangerous numbers of suicides and mental health issues. I struggle with the international treatment of women such as FGM, truancy because of periods, rape, child marriage, and so on. It’s not something I will experience in this country, so should I just turn a blind eye? No, because I’m not an arsehole. This is deathly important and we’re all just making out like it’s not our problem.

The skirt in question…

I face issues in this country that anger me on a daily basis. It was the hottest weekend of the year so far recently so naturally, I wore a skirt, but with trainers and a long sleeve top. That didn’t matter though, legs were visible, so three different men in cars slowed to shout things or whistle. You can bet that made me feel horrible. I wanted to put my jeans back on and suffer in the heat because I felt so uncomfortable that 3 different cars of men felt perfectly comfortable to make comments on my appearance and sexualise me. It’s absolutely disgusting. It is not a compliment to make someone feel unsafe. I don’t need to excuse myself, that is not a compliment.  

I’m really sick of being called girly for liking pink, watching a lot of Julia Roberts films, and shopping excessively. These things make me happy (plus I walk double my normal steps a day when I shop so at least I’m exercising), but it’s stupid because I’m a girl and girls are stupid. I’m just so fed up. I could honestly just curse for hours and throw things because I’m so damn sick of all of it.

Why should I get stressed out because I care about something that is inherently right? It is moral, and just. It is not that we are asking a lot, we are asking for life as it should be. I should not be less than a man, nor treated less than, because I am not less than a man. I am equal. I am equal to a man. 

The necklace I now wear on a daily basis

I’m so tired of doing this. Sometimes I don’t want to do it anymore. Sometimes I think, like right now, that I don’t want to be a feminist anymore because it’s so much hard work and no one cares in the slightest what I think. I feel as though I’m wasting my time, and annoying my friends. It’s ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to fight in the first place, let alone be questioned for doing the right thing. I know I’ll post this and someone will either question a point I have made, or people will continue to joke about being a woman or a feminist and how I am lesser.

As someone who struggles to keep her head up a great deal of the time, I don’t really need the extra negative emotion that comes with pushing the way I do. I’m constantly down, or humiliated, or angered, or panicked, or uncomfortable and I could cry just thinking about how bad I am made to feel. I just want it to stop.

I’m doing the right thing. So either join me or leave me alone because I can’t leave this fight. I made a commitment, I started a platform to help, and I can’t quit. It’s so exhausting and even if I don’t want to do it anymore, I have to. If you have no support to offer, I’d kindly ask you to leave off, and save everyone the unnecessary negative emotion; there’s enough going around as it is. 

The Guardian: ‘Gender wage gap costs minority women more than $1m in some states
2 National Women’s Law Centre: ‘The Lifetime Wage Gap by State for Black Women
Bustle: ‘8 Startling Statistics That Show How The Pay Gap Affects Women Of Color Differently
4 American Association of University Women: ‘The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

Words and images by Briony Brake

Here’s to Michelle

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Donald Trump is becoming the second most powerful man in the world this month (second only to Vladimir Putin), the White House will simultaneously be losing potentially the most inspiring and captivating First Lady it has ever had. Michelle Obama has been the role model that America needs; inspiring women of all backgrounds and ethnicities that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and not to let anyone hold you back.

picture-1

 If I’m ever feeling a bit down, or doubting myself,  or (especially) if I’m pulling an all-nighter, and need motivation to finish an essay, I tend to watch a bit of Michelle to get me back on track.  Not only does she have a law degree from Princeton and Harvard Law School, she’s also launched a campaign, ‘Let’s Move!’ in an attempt to combat childhood obesity, and she’s used her position as a way to encourage girls to pursue the careers they are interested in (‘Let Girls Learn’).

Michelle has also been extremely vocal about being a black woman in America, and the challenges those facing discrimination come up against. On top of all that, Michelle has never been afraid to be herself; she’s even been shopping with Ellen DeGeneres and on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. Not to mention she’s also raised two kids…

Here are some of my favourite Michelle quotes that will hopefully get you through those exam/ January/ dissertation/ general blues:

1. “I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world”

Talking about meeting young girls in the US and around the world in her New Hampshire Speech Oct 2016.

2.There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish, whether that’s in politics or in other fields.”

Talking about what she tells her daughters in a 2012 speech about the US.

picture-2

3. “The women we honour today teach us three very important lessons. One, that as women, we must stand up for ourselves. The second, as women, we must stand up for each other. And finally, as women, we must stand up for justice for all.”

In a speech in 2009 at the Women of Courage Awards.

4. “If had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States today… Compete with the boys…Beat the boys.

During a panel session hosted by Glamour in September 2015.

 

So there’s your inspiration and reminder that you can do this. Go slay x

 

Words by Sophy Edmunds
Photos and videos by NY Times, The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube, and Let Girls Learn/the White House.

 

Another Feminist Gift Guide for 2016

You’ve probably already seen around 100 different gift guides on your news feed, or on Amazon or Etsy, and you may even have read some of them, and the may even have been feminist or girl power gift guides, but I’ll be damned if I’m not making my own for Anthem. I spend enough time online window shopping, I might as well share my findings. So here’s a few items I think the girl power enthusiast in your life would appreciate…

  1. Don’t Fuck With Feminism‘ jumper from Joanna Thangiah
    $50 (roughly £40) from her online store
    Find it here.
    1dontfuckwithfem_400w.jpg

  2. A sassy/glittery pin from Robin Eisenberger
    $10-$12 (roughly £9) from her online store -she also stocks stickers, and her own illustrated zine.
    Find them here.
    nicki.png

  3. ‘Bad Girls Throughout History‘ illustrated book by Ann Shen
    £10.78 hardcover from Amazon
    Find it here.
    61yjM6LdY-L._SX415_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  4. ‘Girls Need To Support Girls‘ crop top by Minga
    £14.90 from Minga London’s online store
    Find it here.
    girlssupport-top1-preto
  5. Love Sick‘ book by Jessie Cave
    £9.98 hardback from Amazon
    Find it here.
    517a1qSQhiL._SX357_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  6. ‘Milk and Honey‘ book by Rupi Kaur
    £6.99 paperback from Amazon
    Find it here.
    41qxe7jf5jl-_sx321_bo1204203200_

  7. Cuterus‘ enamel pin by Punky Pins
    £6 from their online store – full of cute pins like this one
    Find them here.
    Cuterus-Enamel-Pin.jpg

  8. Femme Ain’t Frail’ gift set (enamel pin and patch) by WhoAreYouCurlySue
    £11.42 from her Etsy store – items can be bought individually.
    Find them here.
    il_570xN.1138671961_hcxb.jpg

  9. ‘It’s All Absolutely Fine: Life is Complicated, So I’ve Drawn it Instead’ book by Rubyetc
    £9.99 paperback from Waterstones
    Find it here or in-store.
    9781409167297.jpg

  10. Girl Almighty’ lightning bolt pin by Milly Pins
    £7.34 from her Etsy store
    Find it here.
    il_570xN.1139452459_dqcf.jpg

  11. Girl Gang‘ embroidered hoodie by Missguided
    £18 from their website
    Find it here.
    tj408220_03.jpg

  12. Feminist Activity Book‘ by Gemma Correll
    £9.66 paperback from Amazon
    Find it here.
    51TlxKv-2TL._SY481_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  13. Pendant necklace from H&M
    £2.99 from their website or in-store – silver and gold available
    Find it here.
    hmprod
  14. Girls Bite Back’ sweatshirt from H&M
    £6.99 from their website or in-store
    Find it here.
    hmprod (1).jpg
  15. Feminist journal/diary from Chronicle Books
    £7.99 from Amazon
    Find it here.
    31OtcK3FO6L._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


So there you have it, my list of 15 items (mostly books) that would make a pretty snazzy feminist gift (I know I like them). Seriously though, if you have a man or woman in your life who’s getting into feminism of any kind, then go for a book and let them read up. Some of these books are an excellent place to start, as well as Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, anything by Caitlin Moran, or Virginia Woolf, or just go on up to the Sociology section of Waterstones and choose for yourself.

Happy Gift Giving!

 

Words by Briony Brake
Images courtesy of Joanna Thangiah, Robin Eisenberger, Ann Shen, Minga London, Jessie Cave, Rupi Kaur, Punky Pins, WhoAreYouCurlySue, Rubyetc, Milly Pins, Missguided, Gemma Correll, H&M, Chronicle Books, Amazon and Etsy.

Playlist: Noughties Anthems

“I made this a long time ago and forgot about it. I found it recently and have been dancing around my room listening to my childhood in the form of Sugababes, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and Christina Aguilera. I know I made it, but I love it.

These women made grunge and punk cool and normal, they have become staples of the decade and their style and music inspired thousands of girls who still listen to Crazy in Love at pre-drinks ten years later. Icons of girl power in the making.”

noughties

Click here to listen: Noughties Anthems

Playlist: Soundtrack Anthems

“This playlist is an ode to all those cringey ‘chick flicks’ and teen films that actually stand nowadays as almost iconic; key to the building of so many young women. Not a month goes by that I don’t see a Snapchat of the Legally Blonde opening credits. It’s motivational. The girls like Elle Wood, Mia Thermopolis and so many others are girls that make me so happy, and genuinely are like a little heart-warming pep talk. 

So enjoy my Soundtrack Anthems with some very retro treats from films like Bend It Like Beckham, Parent Trap (the amazing Lindsay Lohan one), and the classic Wild Child. If that’s not your taste, I put a few golden oldies in the mix too…”

soundtrack anthems

Click here to listen: Soundtrack Anthems

Why You Should Listen to Hinds

July 2016: a month of dancing, sun burning, friendship, disposable cameras, DIY punch, and gross toilets. Yep, it’s festival season and I decided to ditch England and travel to Spain for BBK and Benicàssim Festival. Although I could babble on about how wonderful it was to watch Kendrick Lemar, Grimes, Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and so on, there was one band that really made an impact on me this summer, and their name is Hinds.

hinds

It’s not a secret that the music industry is a boiling mess when it comes to female liberation. I’m sure we can all agree that music is an expression; we love it, we dance to it, and most importantly we relate to it. Relating to music isn’t just about the overall topic of a song, it’s also who is presenting this topic. I think it’s safe to say that alternative music is dominated by the white male.

at.png

Hinds are an all-female ensemble from Madrid, Spain. Let’s just say they’re probably the most inspiring and authentic young female musicians I’ve ever seen. They want to be sharing their music with us, and naturally, Hinds smash the patriarchy by doing so. Not only are Hinds hella talented, they’re also hella smart. During my Hinds research, I found that they’re often questioned about being a female ensemble; “Why only girls? Is it because you didn’t have any other choice? Or was it the only choice?”

To which band member Carlotta Cosials replied, “It was because we wanted to and it was the choice we chose. We thought that it would be so different If the rest of the band would be boys, people would probably think that we’re just the faces.”

Hinds knew that including men in their ensemble would distort the way they are viewed as female composers. Although some of us don’t give a fuck about gender, and enjoy art for what it is, there are still many who will assume the worst because they are female. The same interviewer later questioned if they made music with a feminist motive, to which Hinds replied “We are females writing music so you can’t avoid that.” Which is pretty self-explanatory, but the interviewer acted as if Hinds were the only female musicians making their music automatically controversial, and more likely to be disliked because they have vaginas.

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Hinds, I’ll give you another reason to follow them on Spotify. Hinds refuse to be anything else other than themselves. Hinds are smart enough to reject the music industry’s misogynistic expectations, they’re not here to change the world, they’re here to be artists.

“I felt perfect in the world being a girl and suddenly in music you’re judged about everything you do, how you sing, how you pose, how you dress, how you write, everything.” Carlotta Cosials also brings up that there are a lot more women in popular music than alternative. If popular music is your cuppa-tea you know that only one type of woman is being represented, the idealistic woman. With alternative music being loud, dirty, and expressive, it’s encouraged to be loud, dirty, and expressive, but when you have a pussy, all of a sudden your behaviour is questioned.

Now before you go off to listen to Hinds on Spotify, I want you to do a small task for yourself. Go to your iTunes/Spotify artists section, and note down which bands/artists are female. Once you’ve done that you can share your results wherever, or just use them as a stimulation to listen to more female artists!

Here’s a cute photo of Team Poo Boy meeting Hinds at Benicàssim.

booooo

Peace, Love, and Cacti
Courtney McMahon

 

Playlist: Briony’s Anthems – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

“I’ve always found music to be one of the strongest ways of feeling girl power. That’s what the Spice Girls were all about, after all. My playlist is a mixture of songs where I shout the lyrics at people, and can almost feel my lungs getting larger, or songs that I think are just kick-ass.

You’ll have to excuse the excess of Sia tracks, but I promise I cut it down from around 6 or 7 to just 3. I just want every girl, and to be honest, every person to be able to clap and shout to Dog Days Are Over and That’s Not My Name to their hearts content. You go girl xo”

bs anthems.png

Click on the image, or here to listen: Briony’s Anthems – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

What Going to An All Girl’s School Taught Me About Womanhood

When I tell people that I went to an all girl’s secondary school, their response, more often than not, is “How was that?”  

Either that or: “Was it full of lesbians?”

Secondary school is a funny old time – you have the pressure of exams and your impending future, but you’re also trying to grow up and go through puberty and become a person. It’s probably the time when you have your first sexual experiences, start getting drunk, socialising, doing teenage things. Getting to do all of that with 900 other hormone ridden girls sounds like it should be absolute hell on earth (and sometimes it was). But I don’t think any other experience of my life has shaped me quite as much as those 7 years surrounded by girls.

The girls I spent those years with were some of the most ballsy, ridiculous, hilarious, silly women I will ever meet. They took no shit, not from teachers, not from the boys on the field at lunchtime, and not from each other.

Studies show that girls in single sex schools perform better than girls in mixed schools, whilst for boys, it makes little to no difference. I love that. Girls make each other better simply by being around each other. Because they feed off and find worth in each other.

Our school was divided into 6 houses, and once you were sorted (not by a hat), you wore the snowdrop badge with the colour of your house as the background. It all sounds very jolly, but let me tell you, the Olympics got nothing on year 8 Gym & Dance. There’s something about being divided into houses, and being forced to perform gymnastic and dance routines for house points that turns teenage girls animalistic. I have never seen such anger and fury, such commitment, and such hairspray.

There’s also that end of term madness that drives school children to Beatlemania style screaming. This madness was perpetuated only by the teachers panto which happened every other year. Watching your Religious Studies teacher parody Edward Cullen in ‘Twiglet’ is matched only by watching your Maths teacher rush into the audience to confiscate a giant inflatable naked man that was being thrown around like a volleyball.

These were the girls that always had tampons to give out, make-up to share, and plans to bully teachers. These were the girls that spent their last day of year 11 dressed as Gordon Brown (yes I was one of them) because it just seemed like a really funny thing to do. The girls who were the kind of friends that let you plank on them, or spent entire Saturdays making music videos for McFly songs.

It was a grammar school too – high pressure, hard-working, smart, serious. The best example I have of this is a lunchtime viewing of Cheaters by the entire sixth form being interrupted by the headteacher giving some important guests a tour. They were ushered out of the common room fairly sharpish.

When you’re in a house named after an important woman, it infiltrates your blood. Austen, Franklin, Curie, Parks, Rossetti and Shelley were ingrained in our brains, and held up as names to live up to. Founders Day was, and I’m sure continues to be, the most boring award ceremony in the world, but having ex-students come back and give speeches about the waves they were making in the world, couldn’t help but inspire you (Sophie Rundle was my fave). By going to that school, you become part of a long line of women. Women who have gone before you, attended that school, and gone onto greatness. That’s pretty darn cool.

It’s only now, in hindsight, that I can truly appreciate the magnitude of what my female teachers did for me. The strong, intelligent, funny, independent women who guided me through History, English and Drama were some of the most influential people I’ll ever know. When my Dad died in my final year, they were beacons of hope, and strength, and kind words. I would never have got my A-Levels and gone to university without them, and without the network of girls I had around me in that year.

I feel like I say it a lot but it’s true; gender is a social construct. I don’t know if I still think that gendered schools are a good thing – it feels outdated, to define young people by their gender. Some people don’t have a gender. Some people don’t identify with the gender they’re assigned at birth. But going to an all girl’s school taught me a lot about being a woman. It taught me about the power of young girls together.

And it got me 11 GCSE’s and 4 A-Levels. So everyone’s a winner.

 

Words by Sian Brett