I distinctly remember the day that I decided to found Feminartsy. I was at home in the evening, watching 10 Things I Hate About You by myself and revelling in the rare evening of having the house to myself.
I got to the scene where Heath Ledger walks into the feminist nightclub, Club Skunk, to woo Julia Stiles, and started thinking – if only there was a feminist nightclub in real life. Somewhere where like-minded people could hang out and revel in really great art, literature, and popular culture without having to justify their feminist views or necessarily engage with politics all the time.
Sadly, I can’t afford to start a night club, but that night saw the sowing of the first seeds of Feminartsy (originally called ‘Club Skunk’ in an ode to 10 Things).
At that time, I was still editing Lip Magazine (an amazing feminist website for young women), and it wasn’t until I had left my role at Lip and started really planning that this seemed like it could become a reality.
Feminartsy is an online feminist nightclub/coffee house/lounge room/library, where readers can enjoy in-depth, engaging and quality content from a wide variety of authors and artists. Each month, the content on the site is curated to a theme, and includes poetry, art, fiction, essays, and interviews.
There are two critical aspects of Feminartsy that make it particularly important to me:
1. Everyone who contributes to the website gets paid (except me, at this stage).
It sucks that writers and artists so rarely get paid for their work. When I edited Lip, we couldn’t afford to pay our team of writers or editors, and that was really tough – whenever we did have the money, people were paid, but it made me think about what an ideal situation for a not-for-profit website would be. With Feminartsy, I deliberately limit the amount of content on the site so that it’s affordable to pay everyone a token amount (varying from $40, to $50 to $100 depending on funds). I don’t get paid myself, but if the website were to take off in a bigger way, I would definitely factor in admin and editing fees.
2. Monthly events are hosted that raise money for charity.
Because having an actual feminist nightclub was a bit too difficult to make happen, instead, Feminartsy is hosting monthly events in Canberra, with funds raised at events going partly to paying writers and partly to a different charity each month. It’s about creating a feminist community, and maintaining the ethos of the site. Eventually, it would be great to take these nights interstate!
For me, Feminartsy is not quite a straight-up website or journal, and not quite a community organisation. It’s a bit of a hybrid, and hopefully there’s something for everyone.
So far, the website has featured some really amazing content, and it’s been a huge amount of fun editing and running it. There will be more opportunities for people to join the team in the coming months (although I like to pretend I’m some kind of superwoman, I do work full-time, am finishing my Masters, and also do a lot of guest-editing/writing, so some help is much needed), and if you’re a writer or artist keen to contribute to the site, the best thing to do is email me directly and we can chat.
Feminartsy is still a fledgling at the moment, but hopefully it’s set to fly for some time!
Zoya Patel is the Founder and Editor of Feminartsy. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Lip Magazine, and currently works in Communications and Advocacy for YWCA Canberra. She is also finishing her Masters in Communications, and tweets intermittently from @zoyajpatel
Feminartsy is an online feminist literature and arts journal, founded in 2014 and curated each month to a new theme. Throughout the month, new content is added weekly, including memoir, essays, fiction, photo essays, and art spreads. www.feminartsy.com, www.facebook.com/feminartsy, @feminartsy
Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.