We first had the idea for The Heroine Collective at a pub quiz. The pub wasn’t too far from Eton College and the quiz master was set on challenging his punters to a pseudo-intellectual brawl, with needle-in-a-haystack questions only your grandpa’s grandpa’s friend Lord Higgingbottom-Fitzalan who worked in early aerodynamics would know.
Sitting by the fireside sipping ale, we gradually became more and more infuriated by questions about men’s history, men’s hopes, men’s dreams, men’s clubs, men’s wars, men’s art, men’s music, men’s writing. The only woman that got a mention was Madonna and there were twelve rounds. We waited until the bitter end, in the hope they would rectify themselves. Needless to say, they didn’t. In a rage, we daubed ‘Where are all the women?’ on our quiz sheet and left the quiz master dribbling self-importantly into the mic. The next day, we followed up with a complaint letter… which went unanswered. We never went back. Aside from the misogyny, their ale was over-priced.
But, of course, the quiz was merely the straw that broke our backs. The suppression of women’s history is well-known, more well-known than the history itself, and the representation of women across our international media is something that has troubled feminists everywhere, for a very long time. Women have contributed enormous, mind-blowing amounts to the world in which we live, and we all need to hear those stories for our psychological growth and development.
The feminist fight for equal representation of women’s stories, past and present, is alive and kicking. Activists, archivists and researchers are working tirelessly to platform women’s stories, and as writers, we wanted to add our voices to that. This project is a way for us to contribute to re-aligning society’s perspectives of women.
Shortly after the pub-quiz-from-hell, Kate was lucky enough to spend a bit of time in America working on a play about women’s lives across key moments in American history. It was here that Kate met Amber Karlins. Amber is super smart, educated in women’s history and a talented writer. Kate told her about the project straight away, and without hesitation, she was on board. Tom came out and met Amber shortly after, and we all bonded over feminism (and our love of The American Office).
Since then, Amber has been working on The Heroine Collective as our Contributing Editor, helping decide on content and supporting our interns, doing anything she can to make things happen. We really can’t thank Amber enough for helping us get this little thing off the ground. We’ve a long way to go yet, but it’s been a lovely journey so far. Amber, you are a complete gift from the universe. Thank you.
We’ve also been lucky enough to have some talented contributors coming our way including the feminist campaigners Miranda Bain, Jo Liptrott and Diane Goldie. We conducted a short internship with English Literature graduate Kyra Hanson, who has penned some fantastic articles for us, and English Literature A Level student Kathryn Shortt, who completed a six-week internship with us, where she proved herself to be a real budding journalist.
Enormous thanks to the deeply talented artists Will Elliott and Carrie Love who have created some beautiful bespoke work for us. Every time they sent a picture in, we would clasp our hands to our mouths in fitting awe. Will is an old friend of ours and he’s been so generous with his amazing work. Carrie came out of the ether, a feminist activist with the same aims as us and a whole lot of talent to boot. Throughout the process we’ve been continually reminded of special way in which activism brings like-minded people together, and we felt so lucky that Carrie dedicated herself to the project.
We want to thank Ben Chew and Miranda Parry at Catalyst Web in Cornwall for doing the website for us at such a generous rate – they were great to work with and offered detailed technical support to the project.
And finally, a huge thanks to Robtel Pailey, Susie Orbach, Lucy Anne Holmes, Bidisha and Finn Mackay who so generously supported this project by giving us interviews when they didn’t know us from Eve.
We do very much hope you enjoy reading what we have so far. We should say that the collective is never a complete entity, but is ever-growing. We’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of the heroic women there are out there, and have a huge database of articles to commission. Of course, there will be plenty of women we’ve not heard of too. Do keep us updated if you hear of an incredible woman that you think we might have missed. In fact, just generally, if you would like to suggest a heroine, please get in touch. We’d love to hear your ideas, and your thoughts about the positive impact individual women have made.
We hope you’ll enjoy watching us grow and get better and better at telling the global stories of our awesome sisterhood. Stick with us for the journey, we’d love to have you.
Editors, The Heroine Collective
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