Girls Club #4: You’re not alone in life’s shit storms
Girls Club is a fun and daring feminist zine created for self-identifying women. Filled with humorous, personal and often painfully honest stories, it wants to look at the lives of young women with an accepting, affirming perspective. Their latest issue, launched last week, is themed ‘Me, Myself and I’, and wants to assure readers that they are not isolated in their struggles with loneliness, mental health, self-image, and grief.
Ahead of their launch party this Thursday 4 May, we speak to editor Georgia Murray about art therapy, championing other women, and why she’s wary of the term ‘self-care’.
Well done on another great issue! Girls Club is the kind of magazine I just want to wrap up with a nice bow and gift it to all of my closest friends. You have a day job, and do it on the side – why do you make it?
Thank you! That’s exactly how I feel too. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented women, both IRL and online, and seeing their work daily — illustrations that speak to me, or poetry that I connect to — is the driving force behind the zine. Every time I discover someone, I have this overwhelming urge to get to know them and explore their work further, and I think that’s what keeps the zine going: a constantly renewed passion for others’ creativity.
The issue’s theme is ‘Me, Myself, and I’, but I feel like an underlying message of self-care and mind wellness runs through the features. Why did you choose this theme? What information or tools did you want to provide readers?
The zine seems to always end up being the result of what I’m dealing with when making it, which is quite self-indulgent, but I think it ends up becoming more widely relatable. Like, The Quarter Life Crisis issue was a result of speaking with friends and colleagues who didn’t know what the fuck they were doing or where they were going. Over the past year, my mental health has been very up and down, so what began as an idea about identity actually became more of a reassurance that things were going to be ok, and an instruction to look after myself.
I’m really wary of using the term ‘self-care’, as it was a term coined by black feminists as a tool against the micro aggressions they faced daily. It’s now been co-opted by capitalism to sell you things in the guise of self-care, when really it’s indulgence or a treat. Of course, getting a manicure and having a bubble bath with a glass of wine is great, and that kind of thing can be an important aspect of self-care. For most people, though, self-care is self-preservation, and simple but often extremely difficult things like making the bed, eating three meals a day, making doctors appointments, and taking your medication are the foundations of self-care. When you’re a carer, have an illness, or are working two jobs, it’s those things that are the hardest but most vital to get done.
The zine does offer support around mental health, encourages you to be open and to take care of yourself, though. I met Ali Strick, founder of Arts Sisterhood UK, and wrote about the art therapy classes she runs for women; Aimee-Lee Abraham wrote a really fantastic piece on her journey with endometriosis; artist Frances Cannon spoke about her ‘self-love club’; and a lot of the poetry deals with things like relationships ending and the death of parents, so I think the content in Issue Four does really make you feel like you’re not alone in dealing with the shit storms of life!
I loved seeing Emma Allegretti’s on-point, hilarious illustrations again (above). What do you love most about her work?
It was such a pleasure having Emma back in the zine! Her work is so dry, witty, and spot-on that it feels relevant for every issue. I adore the fact that her girls are always drinking and smoking, always eating pizza in their underwear, always wanking quietly so their housemates don’t hear. A recent favourite is an illustration of a girl with some medication and a bottle of wine, and she’s holding her phone, thinking “but we were on the same antidepressants, I thought we were meant to be”. Emma just fully captures all of the weirdest, darkest, most hilarious and relatable aspects of our lives. She’s a gorgeous person and a really talented artist and everyone should go and buy her work!
What are some of your highlights from the issue?
For me, the photography is stronger than ever in this issue: Grace Pickering’s shoot with Pinky, an eccentric woman from L.A, is nothing like the work we’ve published before; Tean Robert’s beautiful shoot with six amazing women and our cover; and Camille Rodrigues Valbusa’s bath series (below). The reaction so far to Cate Taylor’s poem Dead Parents has been overwhelming. I was thrilled to interview artist Joy Miessi as I adore her work; and Liv Siddall’s piece on death is particularly life-affirming!
Who needs to read this?
Well, like you said, I think it’s really a love gift to receive from someone who cares about your wellbeing. Anyone who has felt isolated or alone in their minds and bodies. Anyone who needs some light relief from the constant struggle of being in their head. Anyone who isn’t entirely sure who they are just yet, and who needs to know that that is just fine.
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