A Brooklyn zine wants women to show some affection to each other, from Le Tigre to Jenny Slate
Got a Girl Crush is a gorgeous zine all about girl crushes and the extraordinary women who inspire them; stand-up comedian Jenny Slate and Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre are among the talented ladies featured. But you might find yourself having the biggest girl crush of all on Got a Girl Crush’s co-founder and editor Meg Wachter. The Brooklyn-based photographer created the Got a Girl Crush blog (from which the zine developed) with her friend Andrea Cheng the same year she started the awesome community-building endeavor Brooklyn Skillshare. When I think of things that are girl-crush-worthy, not much ranks higher than supporting other women and your local community in earnest.
Got a Girl Crush was an exhibitor at the Brooklyn Zine Fest this past month, and will release its fourth annual issue in July. We spoke to Meg Wachter about the meaning of the term “girl crush”, her dream interviewee, and other feminist blogs and zines to watch.
How did Got a Girl Crush get started, and what led the blog to develop into a physical zine?
Meg Wachter: Got a Girl Crush the blog started in 2009 after Andrea Cheng (in San Francisco, California) and myself (in Brooklyn, New York) met through Tumblr. I was drawn to Andrea's well-crafted music mixes that introduced me to a lot of artists I would have possibly missed otherwise after being out of the college music loop for some time. She apparently felt similar about the random things I'd post as well, and soon mutual reblogging turned into internet pen-pals. As internet pals go, we didn't meet in real actual life until around 2010, and the magazine came to being in 2011 after I had a lot of downtime and needed a serious project to take on. The internet has been an amazing tool to connect, but you lose a degree of intimacy through only a computer screen. The print magazine has afforded us to meet women we admire in person and carry that to a physical manifestation to our readers. We are working on our fourth issue currently, so I think that speaks to the fact there is still a want/need for a tangible thing to consume and share.
“There's enough societally forced competition between women out there and we really just wanted a positive place for some serious shine theory” – Meg Wachter
Your project seems to have at its heart the notion that girl crushes are an empowering mode by which women can wholeheartedly support other women without reservations and without jealousy. How do you personally define a “girl crush”? And what is your response to claims that the term is a variant on “no homo”?
Meg Wachter: Ultimately I think “girl crush” changes depending on who's using it and why – and in our case is expressing this particular and wonderful type of affection, which is neither specifically about or without attraction. There's enough societally forced competition between women out there and we really just wanted a positive place for some serious shine theory. I consider myself an ally to the LGBT community, and I am genuinely horrified that anyone would think or associate the meaning of “girl crush” in a homophobic way. In the six years of running the blog and the magazine, we profile women regardless of their sexual identity unless it has been relevant to their story. I agree “girl crush” may come across as juvenile – but it's tongue in cheek. And I know we're not the first to be criticized for the title of our publication (like BUST or Bitch). We try to be completely inclusive and the different women we choose to feature has nothing to do with their deemed level of attractiveness, race, or orientation.
Got a Girl Crush features a diverse range of smart, driven women and their awesome projects. How do you usually discover your subjects?
Meg Wachter: Since the blog originated and is still a Tumblr, yes we definitely cull from there – but less and less so the last few years. Mostly now it's word of mouth, news stories, family lore, suggestions from friends, and submissions from readers. We're working harder on generating more original content interim to the annual magazine, rather than just reblogging stuff already out there on the internet. Although pretty broadly stated – we want to introduce people to all the rad shit different women everywhere are doing.
Who is your dream interviewee?
Meg Wachter: I'll keep saying this in any interview in hopes she'll finally see it: Björk. No question.
And have you had a favorite interview, shoot, or feature thus far?
Meg Wachter: Meeting/shooting Johanna Fateman (featured in Issue #2) from Le Tigre was pretty amazing. But also befriending women that I've met initially through this project (be it featuring or collaborating) has probably been the best and most rewarding part.
What can we expect in the forthcoming Issue #4?
Meg Wachter: Without giving too much away, the one feature I shot was of the only person to say the words (repeatedly) "cum on my face" during a TED Talk. But she's only one end of the varied spectrum of women we are featuring which also includes a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda, a hip hop artist from Minnesota, a natural apothecarian, a few different types of artists, a documentarian, a street artist/activist, and more. That said, Issue #4 is slated for release in July 2015!
For proponents of girl power and women empowering women, are there other zines that should be added to our reading lists?
Mag Wachter: Zines/blogs/podcasts I'm into currently: Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, Bitch Magazine, BUST Magazine, Call Your Girlfriend, Girls Like Us, Grown Ass Lady, The Riot Grrrl Project, Rookie, Shotgun Seamstress, Slutist, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Tom Tom Magazine