Femme Up Your Consumption

Laurence Boag-Matthews offers some tips on how to support women when spending our money.

It can be extremely difficult in today’s world to make sure that all the time and money we spend is supporting the brands and creators that in our eyes ‘deserve’ our support. However, with the internet so present in our lives and accessible for so many, it is also easier than ever to find alternative creators to those that are the more accepted to be the ‘giants’ of their field. 

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and find comedy podcasts to be a great way of regularly consuming content by comedians I like, especially if it’s too expensive or inconvenient to see them live. Recently I’ve been enjoying Nicole Byer’s (host of Netflix’s ‘Nailed It!’) podcast ‘Why Won’t you Date Me?’, in which she candidly discusses sex and relationships with a guest each week. She also co-hosts the podcast ‘Best Friends’ with Sasheer Zamata which is almost like listening in on a conversation with friends of your own as it can get very up-close and personal. The light tone and transparent herself-ness Byer has is really refreshing amidst the somewhat difficult territory of the comedy scene. If you prefer a true crime podcast, ‘All Killa No Filla’ is hosted by English comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McClean and is released pretty sporadically, but is always reliable for a laugh even amongst such dark subject matter. They also recently released a crossover episode with ‘The Guilty Feminist’ which is surely worth a listen.

Shopping-wise it is becoming increasingly urgent to me, for example, that I try not to give my money to larger corporations that actively contribute to the climate crisis. Personally I try to buy second hand; Depop is my main shopping site for clothing now as it’s more sustainable than buying new clothes. However I do follow the brand TALA on Twitter which was founded by Grace Beverley, Oxford university graduate and influencer also known as ‘Gracefit’. TALA is a sustainable gymwear brand which makes its clothing from plastic bottles, so it’s more ethical than buying from a standard workout brand. An Instagram clothing creator I follow is Stela Vitsu (@stelavitsu_lingerie), a Moldovan lingerie seller on Etsy whose pieces are gorgeous and may be a more independent alternative to Rihanna’s ‘Savage X Fenty’ line which is itself a woman-led alternative to the male-run, reportedly trans and fat-exclusionary Victoria’s Secret. The Savage X Fenty new collection is available online and the show is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, promising to be a “shoppable visual event… Modeled by incredible, diverse talent; celebrating all genders and sizes; and featuring performances by the hottest music artists”. Speaking of Rihanna, her makeup line Fenty Beauty is cruelty free and has some of my absolute favourite products, the Killawatt Freestyle highlighter duos are gorgeous and the Gloss Bombs are a fantastic lip gloss formula. It is priced pretty fairly, the foundation comes in at £27 and a little goes a long way, while the lip products are £16-£19 and really pack a punch with some very diverse, creative tones. If you prefer to shop on the high street, Superdrug stocks Drew Barrymore’s brand Flower Beauty which is also cruelty free, high quality, and affordable: the foundation is £12.99 and liquid lipsticks are £7.99. 

One of my favourite Instagram accounts is @ripannanicolesmith run by Kristen Cochrane, a PhD student who is mainly known for posting quotes from academic writing over images of cultural figures such as the Kardashians and Paris Hilton. Just following the account is amusing in itself, however Cochrane also runs a patreon on which she publishes a great bi-weekly newsletter on cultural studies which you can subscribe to for $5 a month and has covered topics such as ‘Is there a Male Gaze?’, and ‘Pornography Studies’.  On a less serious subject, @swipes4daddy is run by Erika Gajda, the bio reads, “‘Paul Simon fan. Looking for a man.’ Set my tinder age 45+. These are the results.” The account consists of hilarious screenshots of older men’s responses to matching with a woman in her early twenties and is endlessly entertaining.

At the moment, The Goldfinch is out in cinemas and has generally negative reviews. I would recommend that rather than wasting 2 hours on the film, read Donna Tartt’s (the author of the novel The Goldfinch) debut The Secret History. I know everyone and their mum raves about it, but it’s truly worth the hype and definitely is relevant for back to uni vibes, admittedly in a very dark manner. It’s also a lot shorter, involves less rambling than her later two novels and is totally addictive; you can nip through it pretty quickly despite its 600 pages. If you went to see Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, you may be interested in learning more about the Manson family. The podcast ‘You Must Remember This’, by Karina Longworth who was previously Film Editor and lead critic at LA Weekly, ran a hugely popular series called ‘Charles Manson’s Hollywood’. It’s now available as its own feed ‘You Must Remember Manson’, and explores the story of the Family through its connections to people in Hollywood such as Dennis Wilson, Doris Day and Sharon Tate. Furthermore, the book The Girls by Emma Cline was loosely inspired by the Manson family and looks through a woman’s eyes, as opposed to the ‘aging male star’ direction Tarantino chose to take in his film. Finally, for those new to Bristol, my personal favourite alum is Angela Carter, who is best known for the magical realist, post-modernist feminist fairytale collection you may know from English Literature A-level, The Bloody Chamber. However, her writing also translates beautifully to journalism (her collected works, Burning Your Boats, is great) and novel. In The Magic Toyshop, which explores female coming of age and sexuality, Carter refused to shy away from uncomfortable truths which makes her writing somehow truthful and visceral though it has so many magical realist and fairytale elements. 

So these are just a few recommendations of female-led brands and content. It can sometimes seem like culture is dominated primarily by male-fronted endeavours. However, once you start looking, the possibilities are endless. Now, compared to even five years or so ago, women’s projects seem much more easily available and normalised. 

Artwork by Izzy Guest.

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