Image by Robyn Budlender

Stories for Girls

So I’m going to have a go at this whole publication thing.

Over the last 9 months of writing, I’ve noticed myself gravitating toward certain themes. I’ve managed to identify areas of our culture which I believe need unpacking and have started to get a good idea of where I stand on some topics. Gender equality, unsurprisingly, rising high and fast on that list.

There’s a lot out there but there could be more. While we’ve made some good progress we aren’t in a position to say ‘job done’.

As an amalgamation of wanting to meet more like minded people, share experiences and get a bit better at my interviewing skills, I’ve decided to take a step off the spectator line to try and find a way that may add to raising the profile of a topic I really care about.

Introducing: Stories for Girls

The idea behind Stories for Girls is simple: an online publication existing to help change the narrative and perceptions of what it is to be a girl.

The idea for this was first born last December when I was shopping for Christmas presents. I saw a book called ‘How to be a Girl’ in a popular homeware store in Islington. While disguised as an old school children’s book with antiquated illustrations of baking, housekeeping and being a mother, it was in fact a new publication.

While I’m not dismissing nostalgia, and I appreciate that’s exactly what this was, the title struck me as odd. The fact it showed one potential way a girl may choose to lead her life in a very prescriptive way felt like an old-fashioned view.

A few months later I came across a postcard which resurfaced this idea of ‘little girl literature’. It was from a box set of 100 Faber title’s cover art over the last 100 years and the title was ‘Stories for Girls’. I looked the book up online and discovered it was a collective of stories perpetuating stereotypes of what it is to be a girl: dresses, dolls, pink, playing house, kitchen skills, and so on. And once again I paused on just how many things have existed in history that have steered girls down a rather narrow path.

Language and literature have always been a keen focus for me. I’ve often found when we look at cultural and societal constructs, so much of it is cemented by language and story telling conventions. It can create a cycle of ‘this is how it’s meant to be’ rather than ‘this is how it could be’ — a subtle but significant shift when considering the influence it can have on how we define who we are as people.

I’m a firm believer that there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to deciding what kind of person we want to be. However, without exposure to variety and options, it can often feel like there’s a box of conformity we’re meant to subscribe to.

Stories for Girls will be a new story book.

In the spirit of failing fast and not having a clue what I’m doing it will live, for now, as a publication on Medium. There is no narrative. Instead what I hope to gather is a collection of experiences, interviews and memoirs from girls of all walks of life.

If we’re going to learn anything about being a girl it should be that anything goes. It’s not about being or acting a certain way, it’s about being real to the person we want to be. Kick stereotypes to the curb; smash the patriarchy etc. There are no rules or limitations and there’s certainly no ‘how to’.

If you’re interested in contributing or sharing your story, get in touch. The more authors we have the bigger the story and the better the book.