‘It’s a bit silly most of us have grown up ashamed of being a human who has no choice in what her body does, like bleed and cramp and have emotions and desires’
In an interview with dreamgirlclub on her website, Cortney Cassidy describes herself as, “I write and think about being a girl on the internet.” The internet is a wonderful place for a girl. It is, after all, a place that gives you the potential to hide behind a screen name or an avatar, confess your secrets and find solace in complete strangers. But Cassidy – through her latest zine Girl Problems – now wants to bring that from the WWW to IRL by unearthing the innermost thoughts (277 pages of them) that ricochet around a girl’s head. With previous publications like Internet – self-described as “50 poems, 15 interviews, 99 problems about the Internet” – Cassidy’s take on the female condition in the 21st century is the type of self-deprecation that might just shatter the stigma associated with being a girl. As she shares some of the pages from the zine, we caught up with her to talk more.
Could you sum up what Girl Problems is?
Cortney Cassidy: It’s about revealing my most honest girl problems, stuff that women have been taught to keep secret because of societal pressures and stigmas, or whatever. I like to laugh at myself so I just told it how it is because the struggle is real and I don't want to be embarrassed anymore. It’s interesting though, I'm still protecting myself by revealing in the form of 'humour’ because otherwise maybe no one would take them seriously.
What inspired you?
Cortney Cassidy: My original inspiration to be less ashamed were all the girls I follow on twitter who are unabashedly honest about their girl problems. I started recording my own problems on a secret Twitter as a place for my friends to either relate or learn from.
“I think it would have been super helpful learning about how to deal with my period, dating, body hair, and all that shit when I was coming-of-age if there had been less stigma around it all” – Cortney Cassidy
Several other women do Q&As and give their thoughts in the book – why did you choose these particular women?
Cortney Cassidy: I wanted to include other perspectives so it wasn’t just about me. We are all extremely different women with different bodies, experiences, sexualities, and preferences. the women I interviewed are a few of my favourite internet friends who have been open about their problems before so I knew they’d be into revealing intimate details. Not everyone is comfortable sharing and I didn’t want to push anyone.
Why do you think it's important for women to read things like this – no matter how cringe, awkward or uncomfortable they sometimes might make us, or other people?
Cortney Cassidy: I like to share my perspective of being a girl with others, I think it would have been super helpful learning about how to deal with my period, dating, body hair, and all that shit when I was coming-of-age if there had been less stigma around it all. It's a bit silly most of us have grown up ashamed of being a human who has no choice in what her body does, like bleed and cramp and have emotions and desires.
What do you hope people take away from reading Girl Problems?
Cortney Cassidy: Women are very human and we don’t smell like roses, so don’t make us feel bad about it. I'm hoping this helps girls be more comfortable with their experiences and their body and I hope it gives others more perspective so they don't react negatively to a period accident or body hair or our sadness.
What's next for you?
Cortney Cassidy: I’d like to share more long-form anecdotes of all the rules I broke as a teenager.