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Illustration by Tori Bodine

Is this what your quarter life crisis looks like?

GIRLS / CLUB is the zine-scene newcomer taking a tongue-in-chic approach to life as a woman in your twenties

Despite the plethora of think pieces condemning our generation as apathetic and apolitical, with selfie culture making us all narcissistic monsters and companies cashing in on our politics – women in their twenties aren’t the self-absorbed creatures the media often makes us out to be. Our quarter life crisis’ may revolve around being underpaid and overworked, not reaching over ten likes on Instagram pics or being ghosted by our two-time Tinder dates, but that’s not to say our political motivations or life ambitions are to be considered shallow.

A project journalist Georgia Murray initially started on her MA Fashion Journalism course after realising the fashion industry wasn’t for her, the 23-year-old decided to put her insta-stalks to good use and create a publication to showcase the many women she admired. Featuring the women behind web-series Sorta Kinda Maybe Yeah as cover girls, the latest issue is packed full of double-tap worthy, relatable illustration and storytelling. Below we sit down with the Founding Editor to discuss The Amanda Show, supportive self-publishing and why women in their twenties tend to feel so lost…

How did you choose ‘GIRLS/CLUB’ as the publication's title?

Georgia Murray: Did you ever watch The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon? It was Amanda Bynes’ skit show and there was a segment in it called ‘The Girls’ Room’, where her and her friends would go to the girls’ toilet and gossip and do their make up and chat shit about boys. It was amazing. So I kind of had that in my head, but also, the phrase ‘boys’ clubs’ would always come up in my English Lit and Art History degree – if we studied women it would be made into a theme, or only framed through femininity, or just made to be a token course you could take for a term before getting back to the 'serious, important' men. Obviously this isn’t a new observation, but I just got pissed off that those subjects were essentially boys’ clubs that women were excluded from. So I wanted to create a girls club that wasn’t open to people who don’t identify as women.

Why ‘Quarter Life Crisis’  for this issue’s theme?

Georgia Murray: I had had several conversations with friends about why our generation is so anxious and had read all of these bullshit articles about us being selfish, boring, and broke – so I thought it was a great subject to explore. My parents were married with a house and solid jobs at my age, and I think the generational differences are huge – jobs, relationships, housing, political engagement, and threats like global warming, and the EU Referendum are all things that are very unique to 2016. I wanted to see how other people my age were navigating these areas while having their shit together and smashing life.

What did you learn about being a woman in your twenties through making the issue?

Georgia Murray: That I am not alone in my anxiety – the creative writing and illustration was so comforting, because it was like, ‘oh shit, it’s not just me thinking and feeling and worrying about these things’. The life advice feature, where I interviewed women over 30 about their twenties, was quite #emotional to put together. It put a lot into perspective, like people saying they’d lost relatives and friends, and how they were super lucky to have everyone they loved around them in that time of their life. The whole thing made me appreciate that life is super exciting right now, and that the unknown that can make life scary is equally as thrilling. We’re at an age where we can write our own future and we don’t have to commit to anything if we don’t want to. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.

“We're feelin' ourselves and we’re confident in who we are, but also addicted to apps that facilitate self comparison and self loathing” – Georgia Murray

How tongue in cheek is the idea of a quarter life crisis?

Georgia Murray: For sure. It started as me taking the piss out of myself, like, ‘lol I’m not a real adult’, and riffing off all the stereotypes of a millennial, but what was great is that the submissions came in so many different voices. They varied from funny, like Gaia de Siena’s Do You Know How Old We Are?, to the useful, like Laura Suttle’s Quarter Life Financial Crisis, to the life-affirming, like Ailsa Fineron’s piece. It was nice seeing how each contributor had interpreted the theme, and I think the issue kind of captures the plethora of feelings most 20-somethings have. But I would never earnestly say I’m having a Quarter Life Crisis.

How do you approach feminism as a publication?

Georgia Murray: I’m a feminist 4lyf, and in Issues 1 and 2 it was the topic of a lot of features, but with Issue 3 it’s just there – not overtly in the writing, but through the fact that anyone who identifies as a woman can contribute. It’s bigging up and celebrating the creative output of women. Because GIRLS / CLUB is  contributors-led, there's a wide range of experiences and perspectives in there, which is the most important aspect of feminism - it can't be just one section of society speaking as 'The Voice’. GIRLS / CLUB is a celebration of women’s’ voices and creativity, and I think my personal feminism drives my wish to champion that.

Which feature from the new issue taught you the most?

Georgia Murray: It’s so hard to choose, but probably the life advice feature. It was so refreshing hearing women of different ages speak about their lives. I have amazing bosses and a fantastic mum, but don’t make the effort to meet women much older than me, despite the fact they can be incredible mentors and friends. One of the women I interviewed was my auntie, who was 25 in 1969, and hearing her talk about the oil crisis, three-day week, and winter of discontent was fascinating.

Why do you think so many women in their twenties feel lost?

Georgia Murray: Our lives are double-edged swords! On the one hand we're told we can do and have whatever we want, and yet we can’t afford to pay our rent or save for anything substantial. We're feelin' ourselves and we're confident in who we are, but also addicted to apps that facilitate self-comparison and self-loathing. We're more globally connected and worldly-wise than our parents were, yet we feel like we can't change the old political system. I feel like we've been fed these aspirational lines, but life can end up feeling like someone's playing a big joke on us.   

GIRLS / CLUB issue three launches 10th of June at Blondies, more info here