Girl Love #6 is a 32 page collaborative feminist zine in full-colour collage.
Through art and writing, this issue topics explores the difference between self-care and self-soothe, media, Labour and the snap General Election, sexual violence, the legacy of See Red Women’s Workshop, the strength and resilience of fan communities and musical inspirations.
This pack includes 2 postcard designs: 8 x “CHILL, IT’S ONLY BLOOD” 8 x “HISTORY IS A WEAPON / CREATIVITY IS A WEAPON”
and 1 x “YOURS, ETC.”
This mini-zine is lovingly dedicated to post, friendships and my favourite author. The title is a reference to the way in which Jane Austen’s characters end letters to each other, and the zine touches on the way in which Austen employs letters in her novels. It also contains a recipe for A LETTER TO A GOOD FRIEND, ideas for what to send your friend without breaking the bank and other bits and bobs.
I hope this pack leaves you both equipped and inspired to be sending love to your friends in the mail.
The UK is due to give notice of withdrawal to the EU by the end of March. I’m not deluded; I don’t expect Brexit to be revealed as one massive prank on April 1st. I know that Brexit is well in motion and that a lot of people are “over it” by now – so what is the point in moaning about it? Well:
“Brexit means Brexit,” said Theresa May in one of her more brilliant speeches. It’s not hard to understand why people are confused about what will come of this pantomime of a negotiation process, seeing as not even the government has a solid plan. I know a lot of people are switching off from the news because it’s tiring, maybe boring. What we can do is hold onto what we do know amidst the uncertainty and I’m going to start with democracy and the mandate for withdrawal.
Leavers and Remainers have found tentative common ground in complacence. They are either crowing or mourning, but the words are the same and they are something along the lines of well, we have to respect the will of the people. The general idea is that Brexit is what the people wanted and it is what we will get.
The mandate for Brexit cannot legitimately exist. While the referendum was open to British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens (including Britons who have lived abroad for less than 15 years), European nationals were not allowed to vote despite many having residency rights and paying taxes here. I have lived here since I was 5 months old; I couldn’t vote in the election that kept the Tories in power and when they called a referendum on the EU, I couldn’t vote either. How we talk about the democratic mandate for Brexit matters because you have to consider who did not vote. Had the 2.9 million EU residents in the UK voted, the vast majority would have voted to remain.
I’ll interrupt myself quickly to address the question: wouldn’t EU citizens be too biased to vote? Firstly, bias is simply another word for having an opinion and EU citizens are no more biased than anyone in what people are calling the most significant decision voters have made in decades. Secondly, a decision made about us should involve us. In recognition of this, the Scottish Referendum allowed a wider pool of people to participate, including EU nationals and anyone over 16. So, if you think that Brexit is the will of the people, you can’t believe that your EU friends and colleagues – who make up 5% of the population – have a place within the democratic process.
There is even less of a mandate for “hard Brexit”, the cringe name given to Theresa May’s stance in which the UK plans to be vaguely “tough” in EU negotiations. Turnout to the EU Referendum was 71.8%. Leave won 51.9% over Remain with a very narrow margin of 4%, which will now set the tone for the rest of our lives. 4% of Leave voters (which would make up approx. 2.1% of all voters) polled by The Independent said they thought Brexit was the worst thing to have happened in 2016 and regretted their decision. Many said that they had cast thoughtless protest votes and many others placed genuine trust in the now discredited lies told by the Leave campagin, most notably the promise to divert £350 million to the NHS.
When we say that Brexit was democratic, we make it seem sacrosanct. When Brexit is sacrosanct, it moves further out of reach for the possibility of scrutiny and becomes untouchable as a topic of debate. Anyone who criticises any part of the process is smeared or made out to be a tantrum-prone child. People are told off for being “sore losers” which is a fair comment to make about etiquette at a sports competition, but considerably less fair to tell an EU citizen who has spent 8 months watching squabbling clowns try to make decisions in heightening states of anxiety about what their life might look like soon.
Supreme Court judges were not ruling on Brexit itself; they were ruling on the correct procedure in constitutional terms on how to trigger Article 50 yet they were declared “Enemies of the People” by the Daily Mail. This attitude means that people will become very cautious about critiquing government because it is too easy to be painted as anti-democratic. When Parliament passed the Article 50 Bill last month which enabled the government to proceed with the withdrawal from the EU, lots of MPs, even those representing Remain areas, voted it through. They did this because they had to respect the will of the people which all sounds very commendable until you realise that they have effectively given free reign to Theresa May’s government to do what they like with the withdrawal process.
Concerns over the “blank cheque” nature of what MPs were being asked to endorse was the main reason for why rebel MPs opposed the Article 50 Bill in Parliament last month. Catherine McKinnell MP who voted against the government said that whilst respecting the outcome of the referendum, she remained “hugely concerned about the lack of transparency around this monumentally important and historic process”; voting without clarity would not be responsible. It is worth noting that MPs were given just 5 days to scrutinise the draft Bill for withdrawal in comparison to the 40 days that MPs spent on the enactment of the European Communities Act 1972 which saw the UK become a member state in the first place.
The House of Lords defeated the Article 50 draft legislation this week and proposed an amendment which would require the government to ensure that EU citizens have the same residency rights they expected before the vote, citing the unfairness of using this population as a “bargaining chip” in negotiations. Government ministers plan to resist any changes to the draft legislation, and will be able to remove the amendment when the Bill comes back to the Commons.
I’m unsure of what will happen next but I would urge you all to stay on top of the news and to keep talking about Brexit because it is the only way that Theresa and her pals will feel any sort of pressure to act in our best interests. The decisions being made about our futures are not inevitable truths but instead political choices so accountability is key. The UK voted to leave the EU but the “hard Brexit” terms that the Tories are working with are not endorsed by the public.
Frame the issues appropriately; we’re already fucked by virtue of Brexit and the last thing I want is for the government to take it to extremes under the false premise that we asked for them to do so.
Girl Love 6 is shaping up to be full and varied, with topics including: the difference between self-care and self-soothe, fandoms and identity, See Red Women’s Workshop and how we raise awareness of issues today, how to make protest materials, …
Please don’t read the list and think these are the only submissions Girl Love #6 needs. There is no theme, only the broad ethos of the zine – so get in touch with your ideas!
Below are more specific requests for contributions, for those who want to be involved but would like a bit more direction.
Girl Love will feature 2 playlists.
One will be made up of SONGS OF RESISTANCE: send in your suggestions.
The other is undecided. Let me know if you’re interested in putting something together!
CALLING ALL FANGIRLS
Inspired by this and this, Girl Love is looking for a piece about fangirls. A contributor for Girl Love #6 has already written about finding/affirming her identity through fandoms, and it would suit a companion piece.
If you have anything to say about:
the way fandoms can foster community
why unapologetic passion should be celebrated
the weird hypocrisy of middle aged men hoarding bob dylan merch whilst calling young girls obsessive
how unfair it is that girls always have to prove their love for something (“oh you like [insert band name]? Sure ok, recite their entire discography pls”, “fake gamer girls”)
A couple of years ago I remember wishing there were more queer things at the 1in12 club… more gigs that were more than gigs, having workshops and food mixed in and then I realised – if I wished there were things like that, I should make it happen!
We’ve now had 2 awesome queer parties under the name of OUT- it’s been a huge success and has filled out hearts with DIY queer love! So here I’m gonna share a few tips and learnings about running gigs… hope it’s useful!
What you need:
It’s always good to have a few bands, and try plan the order so it fits in with what you’d want on a night out. It can be quite hard to find bands, you’ve just gotta keep trying and not give up. Pick a date for your gig when there’s minimal clashes with similar events
Tips for finding bands: Look at events with the same vibe as you want and just keep a long list of ones you’d want to have. I messaged a bunch and waited for replies and kept a log of their replies as many said ‘We’d love to but can’t do that date’ and I think people are always more likely to go for it when you’ve contacted them for a second time. Once you’ve found them… keep in touch!
I always found it hard (especially from asking male sound tech friends) to find out what would be needed in terms of sound equipment – people always use so much terminology it just goes in one ear and out the other…
Things you need to know: What equipment is already at the venue? What equipment will each band need for their set? What of the equipment can the bands bring? Bands usually bring their own guitars, keys etc and breakables (all the cymbals , snare etc) but only one band/the venue will need to provide the rest. Try sort out set times and let everyone know sound checking plans etc as soon as you can to avoid confusion the day of the gig…
Be sure to keep in contact with the sound engineer too – from my experience they’re prone to forgetting and being a bit unreliable at times (aren’t we all?). They’ll need to know what equipment is being used, the set times and what time the bands are arriving and sound checking. Make sure there are going to be enough DI boxes for each bands stage set up (I’d elaborate if I knew what they were, but it’s something to do with the sound coming out right and you need to make sure there’s enough)
It’s not necessary of course, but for many people drinking goes hand in hand with a gig. Depending on the venue it’s also a good way of getting closer to breaking even. We also sold cocktails to spice things up a bit – kept them simple but I think next time I’d take them up another level as long as there was a person volunteering specifically to do them.
Loud, drinking, party vibes are not enjoyable for everyone, and our DIY scenes should really encompass more peoples wants and needs. It definitely needs people to run specifically but it really makes the gig more of an event and if you can afford it, feeding bands (and volunteers if poss) is a great way to make sure they’re kept happy and enjoy their night!
As the 1in12 is a political place and this is a Queer night which is naturally a political act, we thought it was important to make a space for discussion – again to make sure there’s something for everyone and to help us build and expand on our own opinions and ideas. DIY scenes are there for a space to organise and mutually help each other, not just to party, and a workshop or discussion can be a great place for that (as can parties!)
For our night decoration is KEY. It’s not for every event, but if you want to create a specific vibe and make people feel funky fresh and ready to shake their thaaaang then decorations are a fun way to do that. Get creative and get borrowing! Make sure you have enough time to put them up and most importantly, remember it’s your responsibility to take them down once the fun is over.
Promoting an event can be really fun but also a ball ache. Start earlier than you think you need to. Get flyers out far and wide, a week or two before. Get them in pubs, other venues and places a bit more unexpected. Post things on the facebook event in the lead up – you’ll find more and more people will click attending after each new post. This modern age we live in is full of hype so be sure to build your own or you’ll get lost in an abyss of excitement… which could be worse than it sounds.
Tasks on the night
I think it’s easy to underestimate how many things need to be done on the night. I put a call out for people to help with a few things on the night (being on the door, cocktails, generally watching the space and responding to inappropriate behaviour). There’s usually people around and willing, but people have a tendency to assume their friends will help when it’s best to make sure they want to! There’s lots of tasks that only key people can help with, so try get others to cover all the tasks that they can.
But the be all and end all – is that it aint that hard, don’t be afraid to ask more experienced people questions and get help! Even if you think you can do it on your own, more heads make better things… Throw ideas around early and keep in touch. If you’re working in a group make sure you all know what each other are working on and nothings forgotten or done twice.
The buzz you get when the bands thank you, and when people thank you for creating a really special atmosphere and safe party is worth all the hard work… especially when you count the takings and you’ve exactly covered everything! So get out there and get organising some great shows – do it for yourself, do it for your friends, and do it to support the bands!
Bedrooms are a sanctuary and as such, they should feel good to be in. Since you spend a lot of time in your bedroom, it makes sense to me to invest enough effort into making it a space you enjoy.
All the IKEA catalogues of beautiful, stylish rooms only look that good because nobody lives there. There is no mess in those photos, because there are no belongings. You could take this as a hint to declutter which is a good shout but given that most of us are pretty keen materialists, I would consider this a sign to give up on a sleek, minimalist aesthetic and embrace reality.
Get photos printed for free here and here and here and here when you sign up. Pick up free magazines and cut out the pictures you like. Instead of making a scrapbook or putting together moodboards, use the space on your walls. This way you get to look at your fave pics all the time, instead of hiding them away on a shelf. Every time you turn on the TV or leave the house, you are bombarded with thousands of images designed to undermine your confidence. In the words of this See Red Women’s Workshop poster, don’t let them into your homes!
In your room you can recharge and you can help yourself by surrounding yourself with positive images that affirm your identity and inspire you, or at the very least, don’t make you feel like shit.
Decorating the walls will boost your creativity; as an exercise it destroys your fear of the blank page because you know you can change it all around again if you change your style or your mind. You have the time and space to do all this, so it’s no pressure. To some people it will just feel like sticking things on the wall, but to me it sometimes feels like curating my own gallery and other times working on one big collage. From my perspective, you can explore your creativity this way without having to learn new skills.
Once you have worked on your room and if you are feeling bold, you can break out and start decorating the streets. If you want inspiration on street art and subvertising, check out See Red, Brandalism, Stop Telling Women To Smile, etc.
You can often find good furniture in your area for free on Freecycle, a project which reduces waste by sharing. I’ve got a bookshelf, picture frames, posters, a mannequin torso and other stuff from here before.
PROS: it’s shiny, better quality than the online version. £££ supports the project and is appreciated. You can hold it in your hands (nice feeling). You might forget you ordered it and then be pleasantly surprised to receive post.
This is a COMPILATION PROJECT where tips/suggestions/advice all about social self care are presented by our collective brain. It’s an ongoing piece and we will keep adding to it.
By SOCIAL SELF CARE, I specifically mean how to sustain good relationships and communication with people in friend contexts and more professional contexts. This includes: how to be better at replying to things, navigating anxieties around talking to people, practical advice and reassurances, etc.
The premise of this is that is that social skills are SKILLS that can be developed rather than natural instincts that everyone has. Communication skills are incredibly important but also seem to be where a lot of our anxieties, insecurities and misunderstandings emerge. I hope we can destigmatise the stress of communication, make allowances for each other and learn ways to improve.
in this A to Z there will be lots of ideas – some of them conflicting – and most of them will not apply to you or be useful. they are not instructions to follow. the dream is that there will be something here that can be useful or reassuring. if you take issue with any of the advice or have your own to share, please get in touch: email@example.com
a b cd e f gh i j k lm n o p q r s t u v w x y z
B is for Being Realistic
Be realistic about how much you can take on and how much you can squeeze into a day, and crucially be realistic about other people. If someone hasn’t texted you back, it’s probably because they meant to and forgot, they’re really busy, they didn’t see it or they thought they already had. Other people are shit at communicating too.
C is for Communication
Emails, texts, phone calls, skype calls, snapchat, memes, letters, postcards, zines, lists, mind maps: there are so many ways to communicate. Lots of people find phone calls too overwhelming or really struggle to reply to texts. Essentially simple tasks take on a lot of weight when you’re anxious, meaning that a text is not just a text, it’s much more. Luckily there is such a variety that there will always be a least worst option and less pressurey ways to keep hold of pals.
D is for Double Texting
Double texting is OK. Better yet, develop a stream-of-consciousness-style live-text persona and you will have paved opportunities for triple, quadruple texting and more.
D is for Dry
There are lots of alcohol-free ways to hang out! Off the top of my head: picnics, films, Christmas markets, sleepovers, film nights, tv marathons, baking, cooking a meal together (Sunday dinner mmm), getting coffee, shopping, gigs, art, etc.
G is for Guilt
Easier said than done but STOP FEELING GUILTY for bailing on plans or replying late to texts. Your friends don’t want you to beat yourself up over things, they just want to know if you’re OK and how to help you if you’re not OK.
Of course it would be great if you had your shit together enough to respond to messages (+ hopefully you can pick up some good strategies in this guide) but the bottom line is that guilt is unhelpful. No one benefits when you feel guilty, especially not you: guilt is all about self-punishing.
H is for Honesty
Scary as shit but necessary. Tell your friends and family how you are feeling. Tell at least one person at any rate. You can’t keep it bottled up and it will be better once you have shared it. People can’t adapt to your needs if they don’t know what they are.
L is for Letters
Letters are for when you need to make your friend feel special, when you have something to say that feels too big for a text, when you are feeling nostalgic for the olden days, when you are procrastinating from other things in your life, when you have been staring at a screen for too long and you need a break. IMPORTANTLY it’s all about self care. It involves arts/crafts/doodling, often writing your feelings down and you have to leave the house in order to post it.
M is for Mind Reading
No one is a mind reader. If you’re feeling on edge, you might assume that people know how you’re feeling: that they just know all the embarrassing, insecure things you’re thinking. On the flip side, you might start to resent your friends if you think they haven’t picked up on all the little hints you’ve dropped about how you’re feeling. Those hints that are obvious to you are not obvious to other people. People around you aren’t picking apart your every move and they will need it spelled out more clearly if you want to communicate something.
P is for Practice
Practice makes perfect, or at the very least, better. The more you talk to people, the easier it will become. Social skills are SKILLS. It’s not natural or organic to make/keep friends, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t got the hang of it. Skills require practice and some fuck ups along the way, as well as time and effort. Congratulate yourself when you’ve made plans and stuck to them and appreciate your strength when you’ve been honest to people.
R is for Romance
“You know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder” is an inspo quote from Paul McCartney that I can get behind. Don’t play it cool. Stay romantic to your pals: buy flowers, dedicate zines, shower in compliments, write poetry and hold their hair.
Date mentality is good for first friend dates – when you see how it goes with a potential new friend – like you’re on a mission to find out more about them & putting your phone away to demonstrate full interest.
T is for Time Out
Social fatigue is real and you need to leave room for alone time too. Some people need lots more than others and that is cool. Reading about self care, you will always come across the reminder to take time for yourself. Rest and regroup before facing the outside world again. Careful though, it’s very easy to slip into a cycle of “self care time out” which is actually a policy of isolation.
W is for What Works
Work out what works for you. Maybe it’s setting times in your day when you answer all your texts at once, viewing it as an administrative task. Maybe you’ll want to write down what you want to text beforehand to clarify it in your head before pressing send. Or it’s writing letters to people instead of face to face communication. It might be that you take a friend with you to an appointment or that you develop ways in which to signal your moods to people, eg. purely in facebook stickers.
I’ve wanted to write about social self care for awhile but I wasn’t sure how to present it or even start to write in a way that let my ideas out. Then I read a great zine (A to Z of Freshers in Edinburgh by my friend Ruby) and found this format is a good way to draw things out.
W is for White Lies
This goes against H for Honesty but sometimes a white lie is what you need. I often tell people I’m bad at names when we’re introduced to allow for future mistakes and pre-emptively alleviate some awkwardness. I’m not even that bad at names, I just like to say it as insurance. What I am bad at is remembering faces but that seems more offensive to admit.