Interview of Claire and Tennessee by Freya Bennett
Hey Claire and Tenna, how are you?
Claire: Great! Excited. Stressed. But excited!
Tennessee: Claire says it best! Very excited.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves:
C: My name’s Claire, I’m a theatre maker and performer and I think about Brexit a lot.
T: I’m Tennessee, I’m serially indecisive about my career pathway and drink so much tea that I think I may actually become an oolong one day.
How did you meet?
T: We met at uni! As performing arts undergrads we ran in the same close circles and were kind of slammed together enough times that a begrudging friendship occurred (I’m kidding about the begrudging part by the way). Claire and I bonded pretty quickly over our mutual hatred of all things patriarchal and our friendship grew out of our passion for feminism, art and talking about these things over wine/beer and cheese.
Now tell us a bit about Girls Will Be Girls:
C: Girls Will Be Girls is an online multidisciplinary journal and artspace that focuses on showcasing art and stories made for and by women, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals. It’s (hopefully) a space for femme-aligned people to express themselves unapologetically. We have poetry, prose, photography, painting, lots of different things from lots of different people.
T: We’re all about carving out a space for people to write or make art about the things that matter to them and to try new things in a supportive space. We’re about challenging the traditional, sharing ideas and, above all, taking up space in a world that tells us to sit down, chill out and shut our mouths.
What inspired you to create your online platform?
C: For me, it was a mass of different experiences. I hadn’t encountered anything that felt accessible, and I really just wanted a platform for the people I cared about to talk about things and make things which felt significant to them. I think we underestimate women consistently, and I wanted to make something that might help women and femme-aligned people put their work out into a space that doesn’t hugely cater to them.
T: I wanted, and always want, to facilitate the incredible artists and writers and outspoken individuals in my life. Girls Will Be Girls came up as the perfect opportunity to do this. It’s about fostering the creative side of myself and the nurturing side too. It’s exciting to reach out to new artists or make connections and see people and their ideas grow.
Why is it important to have platforms like GWBG?
T: When we first started talking about GWBG we couldn’t find a lot of feminist spaces that were based in Melbourne. All the feminist Facebook groups had petered out, Clem Ford ruled as queen and Mia Freedman was the next best thing. We wanted to shake things up a little, spread our feminist branches far and wide and contribute to the ever-forming community by providing an alternative space to talk about feminism that wasn’t Facebook and wasn’t Mamamia or Daily Life.
Our community is growing every day and our regular and new contributors continue to produce challenging, thoughtful, critical works that are engaging and beautiful and worth talking about. Platforms like GWBG provide a space for art that you can access for free, that you can talk about over a glass of wine or a cup of tea at your mates place and that you can share easily with those around you. We call it feminism for the soul. It’s art and feminism that is engaging, diverse and, critically, easy to share or talk about.
How can people get involved?
C: Send us an email at email@example.com with any ideas you’d like to work on and we can go from there!
Tell us a bit about your upcoming fundraiser!
C: Sure! It’s on Thursday April 27th at the Wesley Anne in Northcote and it’s going to be bangin’. And it’s free!!!! Nothing is free in 2017!!!!!!!
(More info here)
What can we expect on the night?
C: We’ll be selling some really funky (and new!) merchandise, our first zine ever and there’ll be a raffle as well because all great parties have raffles and goodie bags. There’ll be some wonderful musical acts throughout the night as well, so come for a boogie and stay for the tote bags.
T: All proceeds from merch and the raffle will go towards the compensation for our incredible contributors who are truly the lifeblood of GWBG and without whom we would be nothing.
How can we help if we are unable to make it?
C: EXCELLENT QUESTION! We have a Pozible campaign running parallel to the fundraiser and we’ve got some extra prizes on there that aren’t available at the fundraiser. You can donate here and all funds will go directly to compensating our amazing contributors. We’re really excited about making some of those prizes, so please donate if you can!
You’ve been very supportive of other communities similar to yours, why is it important to support and work together instead of compete?
C: We pit women against each other every second of every day, and it’s very important to me to support other people who are fighting the good fight. It’s unhealthy, destructive and simply misogynistic to compete against other similar communities. We’re all here to fight for our rights and the rights of other marginalised groups – and they’re all cute as heck anyway.
What are your favourite things about being girls?
C: I don’t have a single thing. I love a lot of it.
T: Too many good things to name! But the community is definitely a good start. I love my girl gang a lot.
If you could tell every girl in the world one thing, what would it be?
C: Don’t be quiet. You’re a one-person riot.
T: You do not have to do what is expected of you. Failing to conform seems more terrifying than it actually is and living your truth is going to feel fucking great.
If your website was a physical community house, what would it look like?
C: In my mind, it’s a loft with lots of windows and too many dogs, but I think that’s optimistic.
T: A biiiiiiiiig farm where everyone eats lunch together at the table every day.
CAN WE COME AND VISIT?
C: YES OF COURSE. You’re all welcome at our too-many- dogs house!
T: Any time! I’ll bring the tea.[share]