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B-Metro

Her Story project seeks to empower women of Birmingham and beyond

Emily Smith and Mary Beth Gore

We women are our own worst critics—if you’re a woman, you’ve probably heard this before. And maybe this statement made you angry because you disagree. Or maybe it filled you with sorrow because you can say from first-hand experience that it’s true. When Mary Beth Gore heard this statement while watching the documentary Miss Representation, she decided to do something about it. She decided to start Her Story, a series of profiles on women with a connection to the Birmingham area.

“I want all women to know their story matters,” says Gore, a 24-year-old social worker. “It is a very empowering experience for a woman to share her story and know that it’s meaningful.”

Instead of criticizing other women Gore wants to uplift women by helping their voice be heard. She teamed up with Emily Smith to help her with Her Story, which they launched in January. Over the year Gore and Smith have shared stories of women of different age groups and different walks of life—from stories of women who have survived gunshot wounds and battled eating disorders to stories of college students and stay-at-home moms.

For my latest column for B-Metro I had a chat with Gore and Smith about the Her Story project. You can read it here.

Also on December 1 at 6 p.m. at the Christ City Center in Bessemer, Gore and Smith will host Her Story Celebration, an evening celebrating one year of stories. The evening will include dinner, time to explore vendor booths featuring women-owned businesses, and a panel discussion with some of the women featured in the Her Story project this year. Tickets are $10 in advance via EventBrite.com and $15 at the door. All proceeds will benefit Grace House Ministries. You can order your tickets here.

Vive Les Conteurs

Photo by Amy Dobelstein

“Qualified.” Megan Beam is not a fan of this word, especially when it’s used to ask questions such as: “What qualifies me to write what I’m writing?” or “What qualifies you to tell anyone else how to write what they’re writing?” or “How does my work qualify for publishing?” When Beam started her Birmingham–based writing workshop series Vive Les Conteurs in January one of her goals was to strip this word of its value.

“I think that there is this sort of romance around creativity that you can’t really approach it unless you’ve been born with some sort of sparkle,” Beam says. “And I’m not saying that that doesn’t exist but I think that creativity in whatever form it is can save people’s lives and give them a reason to get up in the morning and make sense of the chaos.”

Beam says her primary goal with Vive Les Conteurs is simply to give people a safe space to write so they can finally feel like writers.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Beam for my latest column for B-Metro magazine. Read the complete story here.

 

Fat Girl Power

Whether you woke up this morning elated or devastated by last night’s election results, here is one thing I want us all to celebrate: See Jane Write member Jennifer Dome King has just released her first book, a book that grew from her blog. And I hope her story will inspire you to soon write a book of your own.

jennifer-dome-king

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Why I Won’t Shut Up About Being a Girl or Being Black

black-girl

Lady. Babe. Girl.

These are three of my favorite words,

but some of my fellow feminists believe I should expunge them from my vocabulary.

Yes, I am a feminist, which means I believe in the equality of the sexes, which means I want equal pay, equal opportunities, and equal respect.

This does not mean I want society to pretend I am not female.

Earlier this year a widely read blog for female creatives wrote a eulogy for the popular hashtag “#girlboss.”

“Would a man ever call himself a boy boss?” the writer asked.

Probably not. But who said I was trying to do business like
a man?

A reader of my own blog, SeeJaneWrite.net, took offense recently when I called myself a lady writer and referred to my personal notebook as my lady journal.

Look. I get it. I understand that “girl,” “lady,” and “babe” are all words sometimes wielded against women as a verbal weapon to put us in “our place.” But it was when I decided to reclaim and redefine these words for myself that I found the courage to take my place. I found the courage to take a seat at the table and, with all my girl power and lady might, flip the table over.

I don’t call myself a girl boss so I will be less threatening to the male ego. I call myself a girl boss because I want you to know I can take your job while wearing pink and flipping my hair, if that’s what I choose to do.

This is why I won’t shut up about being a girl.

I’m also not going to shut up about being black…

Read the entire article at B-Metro.com. 

Text and the City

A big city blogger falls for Birmingham.

vic styles
Photo by Megan Tsang

Fashion blogger and freelance wardrobe stylist Victoria Sanders, better known as Vic Styles of VicStyles.com, says her friends have often compared her to Carrie Bradshaw of the wildly popular television show Sex and the City. “I think it started because I dress sort of quirky,” Styles says.

At a recent event I hosted for local women who write and blog, Styles arrived wearing a plum skirt, a black fitted off-the-shoulder top, white stilettos, and an ivory wide-brimmed hat. Since most other people in attendance were dressed in jeans or the office-appropriate frock they’d worn to work, Styles certainly stood out. If you’d been there, you might have leaned over to the person seated next to you and whispered, “She’s not from around here.” And you would have been right. Sort of.

Head to B-Metro.com to read my entire article on fashion blogger and wardrobe stylist Vic Styles. 

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