I am a huge fan of The GirlTalk Magazine, as are my young female students. The GirlTalk Magazine is "a bipartisan intersectional feminist magazine run by high school students." I haven't found such a good source of empowering and beautifully put together content anywhere else. I was (and still am) blown away by their gorgeous designs, flawless writing, and strong message.
As my readers hopefully know, here at The STEAM Connection we care about diversity: both mentally and physically. Seeing other girls around my age be forces for especially diversity makes me so happy and encouraged. I think that everyone should read their magazine to hear refreshing political perspectives, feminism, and more.
I reached out to them in request of a guest blog post that I could share with you all and they kindly obliged. Co-founder Charlotte Kramon wrote this wonderful story on the beginnings of the GirlTalk Magazine. I hope you all enjoy! All images are courtesy of The GirlTalk Magazine. _________________________________________________________________________
Change starts small. As simple as it is, that’s what Eunice and I constantly reminded ourselves when we were building The GirlTalk Magazine. In our case, change started in a local Starbucks, where we met up with our laptops and chargers to brainstorm how we’d jumpstart the creation of on online feminist magazine.
I was just fifteen, barely a freshman in high school, when Eunice messaged me about wanting to start the project. She was in tenth grade at the time, and knew of my involvement in feminist and social justice work. I knew she was politically active, articulate, and very, very smart, but besides that, we didn’t know each other well. We clicked easily at Starbucks, and soon, we filled a blank document with ideas for our first issue, “Women in the Media.”
This was in December of 2016. We didn’t publish the issue until six months later, in May of 2017. During those six months, we put a team together. We reached out to our friend who’s great with technology, and sat on the floor of my bedroom to set up the website. (We later changed the server we used, which made our website much prettier! We had much to learn at this point.) We called our friend who is crazy talented at layout and art, and he’s been doing the layout ever since. I texted and chatted with people I knew who liked writing and cared about gender equity, as did Eunice. We wrote a lot of the first articles, too.
When we launched the magazine, the responses were enthusiastic, but the number of people we reached was small. That’s a given! It made our day when just one or two people would mention how specific articles made them feel or when a big group of people at school came to help us plan our second issue, “The Body Issue”.
Our goal was and remains to give politically and racially diverse young people a platform to talk about gender. Executing parts of our goal remains a challenge. Our school is very progressive and the majority of the student body is liberal. We got the political diversity down for the first issue with two articles criticizing third-wave feminism, but since then, our writers have preached mostly uniform beliefs. Because we attend a predominantly white school in the incredibly segregated city of LA, we’ve had to put more effort into achieving racial diversity. Luckily, our writers have started dialogue on topics like the media’s portrayal of “The ABW” or “The Angry Black Woman.” Whether or not they write about race, our staff represents people from multiple racial backgrounds.
Little by little, we gained social media followers and online subscribers. We aren’t anywhere near as big as Ms Magazine, and that’s not what I care about. We didn’t start this magazine to advance our own careers. For me, I know I started it because we wanted to give other people, not just myself, a place to initiate conversation they can’t initiate anywhere else. Sure, we began the groundwork for setting up the magazine, but it’s the people who share their experiences and thoughts that make GirlTalk so powerful. We receive emails from people of all ages, saying how empowered and educated they feel or telling us about their younger daughters who read the magazine and are growing up as feminists. New writers as young as 13 and others that are 17 or even in their 20’s eagerly await to see their articles published, beaming at thought of their someone reading and contemplating their very own words. That’s not because of Eunice and I. That’s because of the dialogue created by each and every contributor. For us, change started small, at our local Starbucks.
Thank you Charlotte Kramon for sharing your story and passions. The GirlTalk is truly doing such an amazing thing and creating a culture of education and understanding. Please go show The GirlTalk Magazine some love on their website and on their social media: Website, Instagram.