Happy International Women’s Day, friends!
March 8 has become a day synonymous with a celebration of women and the ongoing fight for gender equality all around the world. At FLARE, we take what women care about seriously—whether that’s the latest in Canadian politics or who just got booted off The Bachelor—every. damn. day. So, rather than highlight more of our own content, we decided to do something a bit different. This year, FLARE is lending our platform to five independent women’s magazines to highlight some of the amazing work they’re doing.
The Gist will teach you about the challenges professional athletes face when seeking maternity leave. GUTS will have you in your feels with a personal story about finding the sexy side of psoriasis. Shameless will make you realize who is often left out of conversations about eating disorders. Sophomore will show you why we need more coming-of-age stories for young Black women. And Lez Spread the Word will take you into the world of VR porn, and explain how empowering it has been for queer women.
We’ve reposted each of these articles with special bylines and bios about each outlet, so you can learn who they are, what they do and why their work is well worth your time.
Lastly, our reporter Katherine Singh spoke with the teams behind each outlet to get their take on how women can better help other women—and the result is a whole 2019 mood.
Ironically, our International Women’s Day plan started with Mean Girls—particularly the scene where Regina George (Rachel McAdams) tries to sit with her clique in the cafeteria, but isn’t wearing the right outfit. In response, Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) explodes, delivering the line that has become a meme: “You can’t sit with us!”
Mean Girls may be fictional, but this scene taps into a very real issue: female competition. Or rather, the trope of female competition, and the way pop culture so often pits women against one another. This narrative has been around since Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s infamous Tinseltown feud in the 1960s and Princess Diana and Fergie’s rumoured battle for public affection in the ’80s and ’90s. These days, the players may have changed, but the premise remains the same. Whether it’s Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj or Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, we’re still obsessed with the idea that women just can’t get along.
Positioning women as competitors does everyone a disservice—it distracts from what we’re each able to achieve, instead measuring our worth in comparison with each other. For celebrities, manufactured feuds become talking points that divert attention away from their work, adding yet another barrier that their male colleagues do not face. For the rest of us, this trope perpetuates the narrative that women cannot work together, and furthermore, that it’s in our best interest not to work together, because there’s only one spot to be “won.” And that is simply untrue.
With the resurgence of the #MeToo movement, Time’s Up and the ongoing fight for gender equality, women need to stick together and lift each other up, which in our case means using our privilege as a relatively large online platform to help bring attention to these independent, intersectional Canadian women’s media outlets. We want to help amplify the work these publications are doing to serve a diverse array of millennial Canadian readers. It may seem counterintuitive given the current cutthroat nature of the media landscape, but we believe that there is power in supporting our sisters and celebrating their stories alongside our own. It’s not us or them, it’s all of us—and that makes for a richer array of women’s media that better serves all Canadian women.
We are so honoured to be able to share the work and vision of these outlets and we hope this International Women’s Day package helps change the narrative. You CAN sit with us—because there’s room at the table for everyone.
How Can Women Better Help Other Women? 5 Women’s Mags Respond
GUTS: I’m Still Sexy with Psoriasis
Sophomore: We Need More Coming-of-Age Films about Young Black Women
Lez Spread The Word: How VR Porn Can Empower Queer Women
The GIST: Motherhood and Maternity Leave in Sports