The Tab Meets: Ladybeard
The Tab talks to the creative minds behind Ladybeard, a brand new feminist glossy.
The much anticipated launch of Ladybeard, a brand new, Cambridge based, feminist magazine, is happening this Sunday. We spoke to the team behind it – Sadhbh, Kitty, Bridie, Maddie, Tyro and Megan – to find out more.
Why did you choose the name Ladybeard?
Bridie: We wanted a word which would encompass the forum that the magazine is, a place where lots of opinions can come together. It means a lot of things. It has, I think, resonances of gender bending, but also of speaking for men and women, aesthetics and the body. The word is as open minded as we are in our magazine.
Sadhbh: We’re creating a space in which if you want to identify as man, as woman, whatever kind of person, you can do.
Maddie: My Dad doesn’t quite get it. He keeps on calling it Ladybird.
What’s the long term aim for the magazine?
Megan: To keep on producing interesting issues which go with a theme for as long as possible. ‘Theme’ has been an interesting way to open up discussion. With the ‘Body’ issue, so much stuff came in which you wouldn’t have initially thought was to do with the body.
Maddie: I would love the magazine to be something which could reach beyond Cambridge and remain accessible, fun and hopefully self-sustaining; to have a wider reach than Vogue and Elle and to help to change common thought amongst women and men.
Tyro: To give a voice to people who don’t necessarily have one. We’re all quite privileged, we’re all at Cambridge, and I think in the long run it would be good to have people writing for the magazine who come from completely different feminist backgrounds.
The first issue is about ‘the body’. Could you give us any clues as to what the future themes may be?
Megan: Sex. Both the act and gender, any indication of the term.
Sadhbh: Submissions are open until the 30th November!
Kitty: We definitely want to do one on politics.
Maddie: We’re still trying to establish our aesthetic and our voice. We wanted to tackle the body and sex first, because they are so embroiled in gender politics and very exploited in mainstream media right now. After that, we definitely want to expand.
When did you first come up with the idea to start your own magazine?
Sadhbh: I had the idea in July last year. I was complaining that there were no magazines like the ones I’d like to read, when a friend suggested I make one. I initially thought she’d had too much to drink, but then I went home and frantically messaged a load of people. It evolved out of that initial pipedream. This time last year it was just us sitting in coffee shops asking “What should we call this?”
Kitty: It’s very different from what it was originally going to be, which I think is a good thing. I hope the next issue will be different from this one, that it grows organically. We want to take feedback and create something which is better and better.
When did you all start self-consciously identifying as feminists?
Megan: My parents are total feminists, so I had that from a young age. Caitlin Moran too, she’s funny and she manages to make feminism very accessible.
Kitty: I thought feminism to be intimidating and frightening and man hating. I remember being asked if I was a feminist and I said “No, I love boys”. My friend then told me that wasn’t what feminism meant. It just means equality, and that’s all it has to be.
Sadhbh: I think it’s very important to emphasise that every single person on this team has a different view of feminism, which is what makes it so exciting and important.
What issue currently angers you the most concerning women?
Kitty: The Lad Bible.
Maddie: Casual sexism.
Sadhbh: It’s insidious.
Kitty: Everyday Sexism is amazing, but it’s a depressing thought that so much of it still exists.
Bridie: I also think that it’s about the way girls talk about themselves. I remember in Year 10, my friend’s boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn’t have sex with him, and someone declared “It’s probably because she’s frigid.” I didn’t know what the word meant, but I went home and repeated it to my mum, who was then absolutely furious. She sat me down and explained its meaning and what ‘solidarity’ meant. My little sister now comes home and says things like that, without an awareness of what the words she’s using actually mean.
Megan: The body image issue is also upsetting to see. My younger sister is so intelligent, but the way she looks often overshadows that.
Kitty: I think the sad thing is that most of us would feel as though we’d achieved many of our life goals simply by looking like that girl [Emily Ratajkowski from the Blurred Lines Video]. If you’re young and beautiful and thin it’s ‘okay’ to be a feminist because you’ve got no problems anyway.
What would you say have been the biggest challenges in setting up your own magazine?
Kitty: The dream originally was for it to be free. Obviously that’s not sustainable in the economic climate we’re in now, but it was meant to subvert the culture of buying magazines which then tell you to buy things. This issue is going to be free, and we’re hoping the next can be too.
Maddie: Everything was hard…
Sadhbh: And it still continues to be, yet ultimately it’s exciting and it’s so much fun. We talk about it all the time.
Ladybeard is being released at 20:00 this Sunday at The Forum, Jesus College Cambridge. This launch party is your only chance to get one of 400 free copies of this ground-breaking magazine.