February 26, 2015

Lemme Femsplain Something To You

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“Men get so much further ahead when they’re risk takers. Women on the other hand can plan and overanalyze. Then when we come back around to it and we never actually do it.” – Amber Gordon, founder of Femsplain in New York Observer

When I discover cool ladies doing cool stuff online I get a shiver down my spine and a tingle in my fingertips. So IMAGINE my delight when stumbling upon FEMSPLAIN.COM: a new online community for anyone who identifies as female, a place where trolls are NOT allowed.

This isn’t like anything else I’ve read. It’s grittier than Hello Giggles, softer than Jezebel, more direct than Thought Catalog. It’s like loads of mates all tying their blog posts all together in one place. It’s honest. It’s full of articles that get all kinds of deep, like those sunset heart-to-hearts you tend to only have on holiday. But it also does not beat around the bush. The point is that the team behind Femsplain are sick of all the bullshit directed at women. It’s time to take back the control.

I’m also interested in Femsplain from an entrepreneurial point of view. The fact that it’s founders are creative and cool hustlers. Founder Amber Gordon would get no sleep working through the night on the project, and eventually decided to quit her job (she was previously a creative strategist at Tumblr) to go for it 100% with Femsplain. The site went live in October 2014, and then a Kickstarter was launched in order to raise the funds for Femsplain to continue running, aka “feminism full-time” and by pledging you were helping in “changing the way women are perceived”. Not a bad thing to pledge for.

This week, the Kickstarter had over 600 backers (that’s loads) and exceeded their goal of $25K! AMAZING right?

So over Twitter (obvs) I’ve been showing my support for this new and exciting project, and asked Amber if she’d answer some questions, because I think what she is doing is FIFTY SHADES OF AWESOME.  <3

1) HI AMBER! So describe Femsplain in 5 words.

Safe, inclusive platform to speak.

2) What makes Femsplain different from other feminist sites and what’s it’s overall aim?

We are a safe, (troll free) environment where anyone who identifies as a woman can come share their personal experiences. We publish anyone from all different backgrounds who are experts on what they know. We’re publishing lawyers, nurses, teachers, social media editors, etc. We aim to create a large community online as well as offline through large events and workshops all across the country (starting with NYC first).
(From left) Akilah Hughes, Amber Gordon, Jeanette Fabre, Ryan Sartor, Treat Harpy

(From left) Akilah Hughes, Amber Gordon, Jeanette Fabre, Ryan Sartor, Treat Harpy

3) What’s your favourite emoji and why?

This is hard. Probably the girl with her hand to the side. Because she’s like “deal with it” and that’s the attitude I’m trying to have.

4) What sort of content will be on the site? And what WON’T you ever publish on the site?

Content can range from short stories to long-form, art to photography, music to videos. All type of content as long as it’s personal, first the monthly theme, and aligns with our beliefs. We will never publish anything that is in any way attacking another women. It’s all supposed to be sharing personal experiences that in turn create discussion.

5) In a sentence, what’s your Femsplain manifesto?

Our mission is to highlight all the amazing diversity of women on the Internet who might not have another outlet to share their experiences. We want to create a supportive and positive community for anyone to support.

6) Where did the name come from?? (ps: love it. )

Hahahaha. Well, one day a (male) good friend of mine and I were discussing about what I should call this platform I built but didn’t have a name for. He was like, why don’t you “femsplain” a name to me? And I was like, you know what? Maybe I will. So I did. The word “mansplain” is super negative and seen as bad (which it is) but our core is to redefine the way women are currently viewed and discussed so that’s what we’re hoping to do, starting with this word.

7) You’ve had shout outs  from Lena Dunham to Tyler Oakley – how did they find out about your project?

I met Tyler Oakley when I worked at Tumblr, he was visiting for the day and I was fangirling and we just talked for a bit and we ate pizza together. He’s been super supportive of everything I do and is just a great human being. Lena Dunham was really the spark that ignited people to talk about us. Honestly, I have no idea how she found us but I’m so happy she did.

8) Who are your biggest inspirations?

Can I say my mom? It’s my mom. She’s really always been there for me and cheering me on from the sidelines. I also really admire my friends. Ever since moving to NYC I’ve met so many inspiring people that have encouraged me to want to be a better version of myself.

9) How can other people get involved?

Follow us on social media and become a part of the discussion. 

10) What are you most excited about now that you’ve reached your Kickstarter goal?

I’m excited to get all our featured contributors set up in a payroll system!!! (No jk that’s gonna be super stressful) But I am really excited to compensate them for their time. I’m also excited to send out all the rewards and see everyone represent us through a cute illustrated avatar or by wearing one of our t-shirts.
FOLLOW / SHARE THE LOVE:
  • Great article and thanks for bringing this to my attention (wow, two blog comments in 24 hours).
    It’s great to see something so positive. I stumbled upon GOMI recently and was troubled and depressed by the content and the forum comments. It’s great to see something like this.

    Cheers
    Lorrie

  • Brittaney

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, but I’ve been devouring it ever since. I love reading your perspective on things, and you’re brave to share it – so keep doing you.

    Also, you might like this episode of This American Life about how one woman dealt with online trolls. I found it inspiring:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/545/if-you-dont-have-anything-nice-to-say-say-it-in-all-caps

    Thanks for your words!

  • So I have just this week found Femsplain myself (thanks to my friend Shannon, from Awash With Wonder, bringing it to my attention) and I am so in love, which is why this interview was bloody perfect for me right now (and the best post to come across as a new reader). Thank you, Emma, for this, for your supportive space, and for the follow on Twitter – it’s always wonderful to have fantastic new followers (because it means I get to follow their fantastic-ness along in return, and I ain’t gonna say no to that!)

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