This summer, I seemed to completely lose my drive to write. I had so much to say and do but nothing to put into written words.
So instead, I put it onto t-shirts. Ever since I started my Mighty Girl girl club at work one year ago, I knew that it was something I wanted to do all the bloody time and to work with more girls. One way I can do this is by creating an online community so that I can share resources, activities and books that I use in my work as an intersectional teacher and Mighty Girl leader with others who either have daughters and/or work with girls.
I had previously discussed with the girls how we often use clothing to express ourselves, whether it is our gender identity, our politics or simply what we like. We had made slogan bracelets with things like ‘girls support girls’, ‘girl squad’, ‘I am brave’ and ‘mighty girl’ on and the girls loved wearing them around school. If you know me, then you know that I love a slogan t-shirt and I thought this was the natural next step.
I have started with a small run of silk screen printed t-shirts for girls aged 8 to 13 (I hope to expand the size range if there is a demand) and 25% of all profits will be going to charities and organisations who support and empower girls, women and the LGBT+ community. I will be posting details about activities I do with the girls at our weekly meetings as well as reviewing and recommending child-friendly books and films with strong, powerful female leads, particularly with women of colour in central roles. Each month, I will be giving away one of the books in an Instagram giveaway. The books I will be giving away will be from the Letterbox Library who ‘specialise in books in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity.’
This new project is far from perfect and I know that I am going to mess up at points. I already have. I know that I want to take the business in a far more ethical direction and I’ve already been seeking out printers who can help me do this. I also have no idea how to build and maintain an e-commerce website and the thought of other people looking at my basic WordPress template and judging me absolutely terrifies me. I guess I’m going to be doing a lot of learning on the job.
There are not a lot of things that I do know about (mostly websites, e-commerce, online networking and marketing) but I DO know how to talk to children and raise their confidence levels. I know how important it is for children to see themselves reflected in the media they consume so that they grow up seeing their place in the world. I know that our girls are living in a time in which their self-esteem peaks at 9 years old and 1 in 10 children experience mental health problems. They are growing up in a world where 22% of 14-year-old girls have self harmed and these figures raise to 46% of children who are attracted to the same or both sexes. I could go on.
I know that a t-shirt is not going to change the world for one child but I hope that it will give me an opportunity to grow my work with the Mighty Girls on the ground and at the same time, raise money for charities and non-profits who do truly amazing work. I chose the name ‘Mighty Grrl Movement’ as a tribute to the feminist punk movement, Riot Grrrl, which, I have previously written, helped me find my voice as a young woman using music, writing and fashion to express myself.
So, if you have a Mighty Girl in your life, come and join the Mighty Grrl Movement!