Photography Ronan McKenzie
Further proof that the women's self-publishing zine scene is one of the most exciting creative hotbeds of the moment, the beautiful and brilliant brain-child of Jamila Prowse and Chani Wisdom, Typical Girls zine, launches it's second issue in Brighton tonight, and at later dates in London. Having kicked off with a debut issue in October 2015, the brand new 'Naked Issue' sees the zine go from strength to strength -- presenting a diverse and fascinating range of women addressing topics from gender and identity politics to birth, art, music industry sexism and climate change. i-D caught up with editor Jamila Prowse to find out more...
Why did you launch Typical Girls zine?
Typical Girls was founded with the aim of creating positive representations of women in the media. The magazine stems from the walls of a fudge shop in Brighton, where myself and my partner Chani Wisdom work in our spare time. We take our name in homage to the Slits song, as a way to satirise the traditional idea of what it means to be a woman. We observe that there is no such thing as a 'typical' girl -- we are all individuals and though we may have shared experiences, no two of us are the same. By allowing women to share their individual stories we encourage a diverse look at womanhood.
Photography Leah Rustomjee
Tell us about the Naked Issue -- why did you pick that theme?
The Naked Issue works in two ways, it explores the female form, and simultaneously acts as a way for us to display ourselves honestly and authentically. It was important to us that our contributors could present themselves by their own terms, rather than having an editorial team dictate what kind of person they are. It is a move away from our first issue, which focused on beginnings, as a way for the publication to become braver by baring all.
Photography Glacier Girl
What can we expect to find between the pages of Issue Two?
We are so lucky in the incredible stories that are submitted to us. The issue itself has become a way for myself and Chani to learn about the exceptional lives of so many different women. We were honoured enough to be able to speak to Viv Albertine, who shared the inspiration behind writing Typical Girls. We spoke to young creatives about the ways that they create their own platforms, such as Zahra Swanzy (the creator of Roadfemme), Liv Little (the creator of gal-dem), actress Thea Gajic and activist-artist Glacier Girl.
Issue Two also creates a safe space for women to share their personal experiences. Grace Jackson revealed how she uses art as a way to cope with the trauma of rape. Jennifer, a transwoman, shared her experiences of early transition and how working with photographer Jessie Edwards Thomas helped her in this process. Maggie Norman spoke to us about the birth of her second child, and the power she felt in her pregnant body.
The issue itself is composed in a way that is akin to a book, separated into three chapters. We hope that it takes the reader on a journey, touching on the lives of many inspiring and incredibly powerful women along the way.
Photography Ronan McKenzie
Which are your three favourite quotes from the zine?
Viv Albertine: "Often when I'm interviewed by a bloke, or a bloke in the audience asks me a question, all they want to know about is Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious and Mick Jones. Those guys were such a tiny part of my story but men love to hero worship don't they? Pack animals. My mother had much more to do with me picking up an electric guitar without any precedents, talent or role models than any pimpled guy ever did."
Liv Little, gal-dem: "The inspiration behind gal-dem was really a response to the lack of diversity within my university. A lack of diversity which carries through to all aspects of life. I decided that I had to facilitate some sort of change in my life, something which unlike the curriculum, I could be in control of."
Glacier Girl, on climate change: "The world's telling us to wake up. There's a limit to the amount of times we can press snooze, and we've reached it. Hey everyone, we've got to act now!"
Cover photography Flora Maclean
What's next for Typical Girls zine?
Typical Girls hopes to extend beyond a publication, as a living magazine. We want to be able to have conversations around the issue, and the best way for us to do this is through events where we are able to meet readers and create an opportunity for them to interact with our contributors. This evening (24 March) we are holding a preview and Q&A at Magazine Brighton, an independent magazine shop run by Martin Skelton who has been incredibly supportive of us throughout our work. On Saturday 26 March, we are running a club night at Komedia in Brighton to celebrate the launch of issue two, with an all-female DJ line up including our art director, Chani Wisdom. Finally, on the 7 April we will be holding a London launch with an exhibition at the Depot in Clapton, in collaboration with Queen Mary's art students.
The wonderful thing about TG is that we have been welcomed into the zine community, full of incredible people. We will have stalls at Zinester (run by Sister Magazine) on the 3 April and DIY Cultures (run by OOMK zine) on the 29 May. We will also be starting to put together volume three, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Buy your copy of Typical Girls online at typicalgirlsmagzine.bigcartel.com or in store at Magazine Brighton on Trafalgar Street.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography courtesy Typical Girls