GL #6 – call for submissions

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#5 is only just out but I’m already excited about the next one. Get involved and help make #6 the best it can be.

Send your work and any questions you might have to girllovezine@hotmail.com

THANKS xo

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GIRL LOVE #5

The fifth issue is out, in print and online.

#5 includes: playlists, articles, reviews, poems, art, how to: diy music events, radical history, tips and advice from the beautiful girl gang collective on periods and friendship

It’s A5 and in full colour

Buy a copy here

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.

Read it online here

PROS: it’s FREE!!! and easy and just like a slideshow.

 

THANKS forever to #5 contributors. Gold stars all round.
Look out for a post over Christmas on how to get involved in the next one.

on Twitter  + Facebook in case you didn’t know

 

 

A to Z / social self care

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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: girllovezine@hotmail.com

a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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.

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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.

rubyetc
credit to Rubyetc

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.

social self care: part 1

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I think the idea for the series is super important, because as a young adult you are thrown into a lot of social situations (be it work, study, friend related) which are often pretty daunting. And it can be hard to adapt to the different social requirements of various gatherings, especially if you have anxiety. Group contexts are hard, particularly if you are going by yourself and are not sure of how to ‘insert’ yourself into the situation.

I totally agree that social skills are not innate and something that you can nurture and develop! Obviously some people have more outgoing personalities, but it is definitely possible to learn and grow from each new social experience, and confidence is an ongoing process.

Advice-wise, the first thing is to acknowledge your own limitations. For example, I recognise that I find group events (e.g. private views) intimidating, so my coping mechanisms are:

  • Get in contact with a friend or acquaintance who I know might be going to the event and arrange to meet them there or beforehand
  • Try to rationalise my anxiety by thinking ‘what is the worst that could happen?’
  • Make sure I have a plan for going home afterwards
  • Phone my mum or close friend if I am feeling especially nervous about going into a room with a large group of people in it

For advice about replying to people through text or email:

  • Don’t pressurise yourself- take your time to reply if you are feeling nervous about reading or replying to a message
  • Perhaps write down what you want to text beforehand to clarify it in your head
  • Remember that the person you are texting will probably not analyse your reply in as much depth as you have analysed it whilst writing it

For advice on talking to people one on one, friend-wise and in a professional context:

  •  Generally, I’ve learned that most people are not as intimidating as they look. If you are nervous and this shows when you talk to someone, the other person will understand!
  • It’s a bit cliché, but just try and keep calm and be yourself. Remind yourself: WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY IS VALID and just as interesting as the other person
  • Remember that everyone has their own shit going on, so if you sense that someone is a bit ‘off’ with you, don’t automatically blame yourself!

Finally, if you find you can’t go to a meet up or are taking a while to reply to people because you are feeling really anxious, remember it isn’t your fault. Think of a close friend who you could confide in, and perhaps talk through things with them- or if you feel safe doing so, let the people you were going to meet, or need to reply to, know that you are finding things a bit hard. A lot of people find various social situations intimidating, some people are just better at hiding it than others.

by Lizzie

you can contribute to the series too, please get in touch with your tips!

call out: A to Z of social self-care

atoz

A to Z of social self-care

hello collective girl love brain, i need your ideas again!

i’m making an article/collage series for this blog on social self care and i’d like your tips and contributions.
this is a good space to share what you wish people would understand about your needs in a more general and anonymous sense, as well as share advice.

by SOCIAL SELF CARE, i specifically mean how to sustain good relationships and communication with people in friend contexts and more profesh 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 else 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.

you can comment if you feel confident, or message me privately/us on the official gl fb page, or email xxx

rubyetc
credit to Rubyetc

rad women’s strikes

We don’t learn loads about women + strikes and when we do, it’s often women within their workplaces fighting for rights and recognition, such as the Ford sewing machinists strike, 1968 which inspired the film Made in Dagenham.

When Girl Love #5 comes out later this year, you can read about the Matchgirls strike, 1888. Clearly this is crucial, overlooked history that we need to know, but there is something different about women striking as a class of people, across sectors and regions.

Iceland, 1975

The UN declared 1975 to be the International Women’s Year and it was in this year that a feminist group, Redstockings staged a 24 hour strike, renamed as a “Women’s Day Off” to make it harder for employers to penalise those who took part and to make it more likely to secure support.

October 24th saw 90% of women in Iceland refuse to attend work, cook or look after kids and the country was brought to a standstill.

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It’s so funny to imagine what the chaos looked like for men, who had to take their children to work, feed and entertain them – as well as compensate for the work that was usually done by women. Accounts from women are more inspiring: many attended rallies. It must have been empowering to fully comprehend the contribution that women make, and see it vindicated.

It is the crossover of interpersonal relations and political ones that makes it so radical. Not only were women shown to prop up the country economically but men in families were forced to acknowledge the unpaid labour that women do in the home.

 

Barcelona, 2014

Vaga de Totes is a feminist collective, who curated a day of protest on the 22nd October with 600 different organisations taking part. Their broad manifesto defends a woman’s right to abortion and economic freedom and is absolutely pro-migrant and anti-austerity. Women’s work is so consistently devalued, so it isn’t surprising that women bear the brunt of the economic crisis.

It’s amazing to see so many different groups come together under such a wide range of ideas, especially when you’reused to seeing in-fighting over the smallest of issues. The nature of a strike means that it simply can’t happen if there aren’t enough people willing to set aside differences for a common goal.

 

Poland, 2016

On Monday 3rd October,  women across cities in Poland attended rallies rather than go to work or university. A proposed law would inflict a total ban on abortion, so women responded by demonstrating how effectively they can mobilise. Reportedly up to 6 million women took part in the strike, many dressing in black to mourn the loss of their reproductive rights.

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This morning’s good news was that the government will remove its support for the law, with one minister quoted as saying that the women have “caused us to think and taught us humility”. We can pray for a day when women are no longer required to teach basic manners and common sense to grown men, but in today’s context, this is an excellent win for women’s movements. After seeing how quickly the government U-turned, it will hopefully inspire further action in Poland and similar demonstrations in other countries.

 

Solidarity forever xoxo

On Sisterhood, our sisters specifically

a mini – zine from across the pond
reviewed by Hufi, in Saskia’s pyjamas, in London, on a pleasant wednesday morning

onsisterhood6

This zine, I believe, has travelled from Montreal, Canada in our friend’s pocket to eventually find itself on my sister’s bedroom wall.

Emily and Kaley made this zine together and I know nothing about them – who they are or how to get hold of their zine. Google took me to goitalone-together.tumblr.com but it hasn’t been updated in a few years.

It’s not a magic eye-opening read but page 5 is my fave and brings it together for me:

“We’re interested in resisting righteousness. Our sisters aren’t perfect and neither are we. You can’t choose your sisters – they just are. But we’re sure as hell going to affirm resistance to the patriarchy in all its forms because that’s what sisters do. And sometimes we’ll let things slide because that’s how things go. It’s important to affirm and share that women respond to the patriarchy in varied and divergent ways. It’s important to affirm it because if we don’t support each other, who will?”

The zine goes on to discuss Anna and Shelby, the sisters of the authors; their differences and their sibling relationship. Special focus is given to listing the ways in which mainstream feminism/feminists (more radical) might dismiss them and all the ways in which these women have been feminists, without framing it as feminism – for example; loyalty to friends, fighting workplace harassment, being confident and assertive, helping friends access abortion and cope with abusive relationships.

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When people accuse her of being a “crazy feminist” she’s willing to calmly point out all the ways they are already supporting the idea of equality. She’s willing to say “if I’m a feminist you probably are too”. This isn’t a stance I’m ever willing to take. But I think it’s pretty cool and important to show people how feminism isn’t scary. As it turns out lots of people support the goals of feminism without knowing how to talk about it. Anna doesn’t like it when I jump down her throat with “radical feminism” or other such political topics. She’s a pretty awesome communicator so she’s willing to tell me when I’m being alienating and not letting her get a word in edgewise. It’s a good reminder that rants aren’t the most useful way to share political engagement.

It makes me think about how much my sisters have done for me, themselves and other people. I can’t talk about what makes me so proud of them, because lots of it is TOP SECRET and they would cringe if I wrote a public list of why I love them (which I do, lots).
What is most frustrating in the relationships with people you love, is having similar values but different attitudes and priorities. This translates into wider circles of friends and activists, but solidarity requires respect for difference.
On page 14, in conclusion: “Talking about our sisters is a broader project of building solidarity. Sometimes we don’t get where our sisters are coming from. Sometimes we disagree with them. But we love them regardless, and that counts for something”.