I’M NEW TO writing, but not to reading, so I thought I’d start off by writing about what I read. I’ve realised that the websites I visit most are pretty outwardly feminist, which is a great thing. Here’s a little round up of my opinions on each one of them.
Launched in 2011, Hello Giggles tends to cover pop culture, viral videos and feminist issues, coated in a cutesy “yes-we-can” feel. Most readers, myself included, originally flocked over to the site during New Girl’s heyday, I have a theory that we were initially lured in by Zooey Deschenal’s hypnotic eyes, but I should leave the conspiracy theories out of this. Nonetheless, the readers stayed and it has an impressive readership. Hello Giggles is by far one of the most shared sites on my Facebook timeline, and has surpassed many other “girl friendly” communities in terms of Facebook Likes (over 1 million). The sense of community created is mainly between the contributors. I’m not a contributor myself, but it is clear that Hello Giggles values its writers, choosing to profile and highlight them every week. I’ll be honest, there’s no writer I tend to favour. This may be because the bio for the majority of writers usually mentions Netflix, cats, baking cakes and is accompanied by a heavily filtered picture of the writer – it’s very difficult to differentiate them! Overall, I really like Hello Giggles. Yes, they use a lot of click bait (and I’m convinced they have a deal with Taylor Swift, where 70% of their articles must mention her) but they’re conscious of their audience and what they publish, and every Hello Giggles article is always a pleasant read.
The Pool is the newest, shiniest site out of the five, and is the brain child of Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker. The site produces a huge amount of content; I’ve counted 11 articles today so far, from some well-known names such as Sali Hughes, Viv Groskop, Thomasina Miers, and even more well-known columnists/chefs/beauty gurus. Quantity is clearly something that The Pool does well, it covers a myriad of subjects from Beauty and Fitness to News and Politics but the site doesn’t feel busy or cluttered; it’s stylish and sleek, and easy to navigate around. One of its smartest features is the icon that allows you to see how long it will roughly take to read each article; this then allows you to filter which ones you have time for. I like this. I really like it. It makes way for the notion that women are busy, and recognises that we don’t have time to read everything. Hopefully this means that gone are the days I feel guilty when someone says “OMG You don’t know about/haven’t seen this!” because now I can reply “I have actually because it was only 2 minutes long” or “Nope, It was a 25 minute article and I knew I couldn’t fit it into my busy schedule of looking at things I can’t afford on ASOS”. I’m yet to dive into the features where you can create your own profile or scrap book articles – I presume this is going along the Pinterest lines, and is something similar to favouriting, but at the moment it’s not useful for me. I like casually reading The Pool, and don’t feel ready to commit to a username and password. I admire The Pool; for such a new platform they’ve got everything right, and they gave me the loveliest and fastest work experience rejection I’ve had yet!
Smart Girls at the Party
I am an Amy Poehler mega-fan. I admitted it, and I already feel lighter. So yes, this choice is a little biased, but Amy’s Brand fits in so well with this Smart Girls that it’s hard not to think of her when you visit this site. Sometimes the Smart Girls website can feel a bit too young for me, especially the YouTube Channel, but that’s not a problem – it only makes me wish that I’d been exposed to this awesomeness when I was younger. Smart Girls releases a steady stream of positive stories that quite often inspire me to be a better person (gross, I know). It’s this sanctuary of encouragement, and celebration of the success of Smart Girls and the things they’re doing. The stories are often young girls excelling in a field that stereotypically they would often face adversity in, such as computer science or sports. Smart Girls isn’t just for girls, there’s a Boy’s Minute sections which I’ve been enjoying recently, mostly because of the Aziz Ansari videos. The positivity of the site is exemplified by one of the questions on the FAQ:
“How can I volunteer with Smart Girls or get involved with my community?
The Smart Girls community expands far beyond our site! We love hearing about our Smart Girls volunteering in their communities and around the world. Tell your teachers or members of your community that you’re looking to volunteer. For example, volunteer to walk shelter dogs, make cards for senior citizens, or mentor a Smart Girl at an elementary school near you!”
Smart Girls tells young girls that it is okay to be smart, artistic, funny, sporty and generally yourself. It’s a message a lot of young girls don’t often hear, but should.
The Young Turks
I’m cheating a little choosing The Young Turks. It’s not outwardly feminist, however it is where I opt to get the majority of my news. TYT is a YouTube channel that posts videos daily, discussing political and social topics from a very liberal point of view. It’s the anti-Fox. TYT describes a Young Turk as a “Young, progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party.” Or a “Young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations.”. That’s exactly what I feel like when I watch. I don’t necessarily feel like a member of a political party or a rebel, but I do feel that by watching this alternative media I’m rejecting a lot of the news that’s put in front of me and I don’t often question. What TYT does so well is that it opens up a discussion; it doesn’t just tell you then news but it asks for your opinion on it, and asks the viewer to make a decision on what is right and wrong. For example, I just watched their coverage of the extramarital dating site leak and there was little condemnation of those who use the site, as I’ve seen Fox and even the BBC do, but they asked bigger questions and talked about the revenge porn culture that exists today. That type of thinking is feminist. The reason I’ve included them as one of my favourite feminist websites is that they produce content that opposes the mainstream media in America, which can often shame women, and is heavily misogynistic. By critiquing the media, and actively offering a feminist viewpoint on a popular platform, TYT is a feminist site. Also, Ana Kasparian is such a breath of fresh air, and is someone I admire in broadcast journalism – I hope to one day report on news as critically and consciously as she does.
Everyday Sexism isn’t a source of news, and doesn’t post empowering articles; instead it does something much more effective. Everyday Sexism exposes the sexism that many women endure daily. It retweets, shares and posts so many incidents of sexism that your Facebook, Twitter and Head are saturated with it. Sounds dark, but it’s effective. Laura creates a platform where women are not afraid to share the misogyny that many ignore, and in turn Everyday Sexism shows how disgustingly normal sexism is. The aim of the website is to “catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest.”. Their Twitter has 220,000 followers – everybody knows about Everday Sexism, and I can guarantee that the #EverydaySexism has probably appeared on your newsfeed at least once. The movement’s popularity is so great that there is now a ES book! Although this may not be a site I visit often to get my news or have an interesting read, I admire Laura’s site enormously as it makes each individual case of sexism, no matter how seemingly insignificant, important.