The internet is not lacking for content, nor does it have any shortage of life and lifestyle blogs where everyone and their aunt can document their lives, but there is one website that’s looking to break the mold and dig down deep into the female experience. That website is Femsplain.
Femsplain began just a few short months ago, hoping to share the experiences of anyone who identifies as female. In that time they’ve published dozens of essays on everything ranging from health to sex to sexuality to wanting what you can’t have and having what you don’t want. The essays are heartfelt, heart-wrenching, humorous, and riveting, and it’s all the product of a few friends with the desire to create a community and a conversation.
“We just really wanted a place where we felt comfortable sharing stories to each other that were sort of personal, explains Femsplain founder, Amber Gordon. “Then we thought, why can’t we do this for everyone? Why can’t everyone submit stories to us that they really want to share?”
And thus was born the self-described “shared experience publisher,” a definition that Gordon describes as a central idea of the website. The site exists, says Gordon, to “remind us that we’re all in it together.” Important too, is the distinction that they are a publishing platform for “anyone who identifies as a woman.” For the folks at Femsplain, it’s not about biological identity, but social identity. How does the woman you show to the world affect the way that world sees and reacts to you?
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Femsplain is that the site, the editors, and the contributors are all working toward a lofty, difficult, and, in my opinion, extremely important goal. They aren’t just hoping to start a conversation about the female experience, they’re hoping to change it.
But change requires time, energy, and money. Gordon, a former creative strategist at Tumblr, quit her job to devote all her time to the burgeoning website, and while currently their monthly contributors offer up their essays without compensation, they’re hoping to change that. And so they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. How much does it cost to fund “feminism full-time?” Apparently about $25,000, most of which they’ve already raised in the first three weeks of the campaign.
“It’s incredible,” says Gordon. “So many people are donating, and if they can’t they’re putting it out on their social media channels and really getting the word out.”
The Kickstarter funds will go toward paying their featured contributors a small fee for sharing their experiences with the Femsplain community, and Gordon says they plan to raise future funds as organically as possible, so as to never require banner advertising to support their endeavor.
But Femsplaining doesn’t end with a website. Proving their desire to create a community as well as a conversation, Femsplain has already hosted one IRL event, a comedy show that was live-streamed for those who couldn’t attend in person, and they’ve recently announced their first workshop, a Beginners’ Web Development course to be taught by Ally Palanzi of Vox Media.
“We see it becoming very offline community focused, where the site exists as a place for people to get their voice heard, and then the offline exists for people to come together and feel empowered.”
The female voice is always fighting to be heard, and a site like Femsplain, with its commitment to honesty, safety, and compassion, might be just the soapbox on which the future of feminism finds its newest foothold.
To learn more about Femsplain, and to read some of the amazing essays already published there, head on over to the website. To help fund the future of feminism and the female conversation, head to their Kickstarter.