Through the not-so-dark winter of 2016 I began a new hobby.
I’m collecting luminous women.
No, not female ornaments that glow in the dark, but a long juicy digital list of weird and wonderful females that inspire, assert, challenge, interpret or make me laugh out loud.
These are the women that look at life the way I do, or wish to. They urge me to get up in the morning, put myself out there and be part of the change. They remind me to keep my cool and make sense of what I am feeling. They help me to navigate my life with grace and aptitude.
They do what they do brilliantly, with all their heart and soul. And they never, ever give up—much like the formidable women in my personal life.
There’s no mistaking the utter release you get from spending time with your own female crew. It’s second to none. You laugh, you share, you wee, you drink, you dance, you cry, you vomit—together.
You have their backs and they have yours. All the memories, the mammaries, the baggage and the wit amalgamate into one big fat hairy love affair with your beautifully cherished circle of girlfriends.
Okay, my simulated list of luscious ladies may not spend hours with me on FaceTime putting the world to rights. They don’t prize me open like a tin of baked beans when I’m holding back, or have a cheeky boozy lunch with me on a Friday afternoon. They certainly won’t buy me knickers and flowers and nice velvety things to put on my face or, for that matter, even know I exist.
But if there’s a problem, they will look at a situation in a different way than me and help me to see the light. They can offer just the motivation I need to finish what I have started and if I need to laugh or cry, they’ve got a bucket-load of gags and a virtual box of Kleenex at the ready.
For these reasons and more, my uber-exclusive Chick Hit Twitter List was born and I stalk the living daylights out of them all on a regular basis.
It’s like the most delicious spread of exceptional cheese you could ever wish for—and the exciting thing is, there’s more to come. Some are gloopy, and better at room temperature, some hard and like the cold, some are plain and some have spicy bits added and some have been through a whole different process to others. Some down right stink.
It’s a not-yet-complete smorgasbord of editors, journalists, artists, musicians, film-makers, comedians, business women, teachers, charity workers, activists and friends—and filling this feline folder is now part of my weekly routine. It’s like an addiction.
I read everything they’ve penned, research almost all the things they share and if they make the grade, I prudently stack them up, one by one in my #CHTL. I want to know what they are saying, who and what they are championing, what they agree or disagree with and everything in between. If something happens in the news, I go straight there to see what the general consensus is and if there is a personal situation that needs attention, I will go to the chick who knows.
I love these girls, these warriors, these trailblazers.
They observe our funny old world and everything in between and make sense of it all in their own inimitable way. They tell their story with passion and present their art with utter honesty and a big fat dollop of understanding. They are positively drowning in girl-power and are anything but anti-men. They are my modern day role models—genuine celebrities.
Caitlin Moran who translates the eras of my youth to a tee sums the notion up perfectly,
“Art should be an arena to reinvent and superseded yourself. I don’t want a load of normals trudging around, moaning about water rates and blackheads. I want David Bowie pretending to be bent and from space.”
Take the inspirational Joyce Banda for example.
Joyce was Malawi’s first female president and was married to an abusive man for ten years. Despite having come from such a patriarchal society, she did the unthinkable and left him. Now she spends her time empowering women with similar stories.
But they are not all women with political power. I mean, I would’ve ended up with an ulcer named after my teenage son without Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Amy Ellis Nutt who co-wrote The Teenage Brain and Brene Brown’s “Vulnerability” Ted Talk—they made the list.
As did Lucy-Anne Holmes, for putting a victorious stop to boobs being splashed over the national tabloids and Naomi Wolfe for writing a brilliant book about the vagina, among other things.
Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer, Grace Jones, Lena Dunham, Jo Brand and Sandi Toksvig are all firm A-List favourites along with Danielle LaPorte, for her transparency and prevailing business sense, Vivienne Westwood and Tracy Emin for being utterly brilliant and bonkers, and Jenni and Jayne from Women’s Hour for continually being an absolute hoot! I mean, where else can you learn that a tampon could save your life in an apocalypse?
The only downside to collecting super-women, as I am rather a perfectionist, is realizing that some of my heroines are missing.
I mean, why doesn’t Germaine Greer tweet any more? And why on earth can’t Eve Ensler spend a bit of time on Social Media? It’s not like she’s busy or anything. In my particularly obsessive moments, I find myself waking up in the dead of the night shouting, “Is Tina Turner on Twitter?!”
She’s not, in case you wondered.
Seriously though, collecting super-women is a great idea and everyone should do it. It’s much better than collecting stamps, watching mindless TV, becoming drenched in a world of self-deprecating women’s magazines or going to the gym.
My top tip: be choosy. Remember your elite group must be firmly roped off with a large VIP sign and their name is not down unless the following applies.
They are a fearless pioneer, an activist, a tryer. Someone that makes you fizz, pop and bang with their art, honesty and commitment personified. They have to stimulate, motivate, encourage, inspire and importantly, do it all with intelligence, grace and humour.
So from Paulette Perhach to Dawn French, from Miranda July to Roisin Murphy, my list says,”When is the world going to stop obsessing about what Victoria Beckham wears and what Cheryl’s current last name is?”
It says, “Be inspired by the work of others!” and “Don’t take life too seriously,” and “You can do it!” and “Be true to yourself at all times,” and it also says, “Your opinion matters!”
I could go on.
Whether these girls are fighting for equal rights or expressing their souls through their art, they were all given a gift and in turn they’re giving us one.
They’ve taken the time to understand and refine their gift. They are pursuing it and acting upon it and their legacies already speak volumes.
So, long may my new soul-hobby reign and be filled with and fueled by chicks with dicks, lovers and fighters!
These are the people who should be celebrated on a daily basis and today in particular, on International Women’s Day, which also happens to be my birthday, I’d like to raise a glass and say a mighty big, “Thank you!” for being my perpetual shiny, sexy and motivational guiding lights.
Author: Andrea Britton
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Photo: Author’s own/Art by Faye Dobinson