A few weeks back I had the opportunity to interview the curator of The Wandering collective, an amazing place full of feminist musings and art. Here’s how it went…
Hi Eva, so why did you start up The Wandering Collective?
I originally had the idea to start up The Wandering because I felt there really wasn’t a place for teen girls (and boys) to share their creative work. I found that a lot of my favorite websites, like The Ardorous and Rookie, were more exclusive. While I still love those websites with all my heart, I just felt there was a need for a nonexclusive collective where everything people submitted was published, whether they be anonymous submissions or submissions from our contributors. Even if something is submitted that I wouldn’t necessarily print out and hang up in my bedroom, I publish everything, because to me it’s not about aesthetic, but about expression and encouraging my fellow teens to create.
Are you surprised by the success as well as the number of people who’ve signed up as contributors?
YES! Within the first week, I think we had already accumulated maybe 50 followers. I didn’t expect it to be successful that quickly. I had emailed a couple of my blogger friends in advance — maybe 5-10? — whose work I admired, and asked if they would like to be regular contributors, just so that I would have work to publish regularly. From there on, it just kept growing. I get a couple of emails a week from teens and young adults requesting to become regular contributors (meaning they are required to submit at least 3 times a month), and I have yet to turn anybody down. At this point, I think we have 35-40 regular contributors now, and I’m just hoping the numbers continue to grow. I’ve received so many wonderful messages of encouragement and support from readers. I remember one girl said she loved my relaxed vibe as a curator, and that she loved how she felt so encouraged to contribute, like she was surrounded artistic sisters. It really meant a lot to me hearing that, because that was really my goal in the first place.
You’re Collectives an amazing place for young feminists to express themselves, what do you think are the most important rules of feminism (if there even are any)?
For me, being a feminist is all about empowering and respecting myself, which I define for myself. To be a feminist, I think it’s about awareness, but also just a journey to gain love and respect for yourself. I don’t think there are really any rules for feminism, but it’s more so just trying to accept who you are, rather than punish yourself for what you believe to be your “flaws.”
Another important thing would be the ability to challenge society and challenge your peers. Not every situation is worth confronting, but being able to confront sexism and challenge other people’s beliefs is very important.
Do you think that teenage girls today are able to express themselves as much as they’d like to?
Teenage girls are definitely capable of expressing themselves as much as they would like to. Societal pressures and pressures from peers can make it hard to do that though. I feel like it’s very important to teach youth to value the individual, value differences, and value change. Deep down, everybody is a nonconformist, but many people find it difficult to really be themselves, say what they believe, etc, and the longer you suppress that, the harder and more difficult it can be to do it. I think one thing that teen girls should remember, is the most fun you will have is when you’re being yourself, dressing how you want, expressing your own opinions, asking questions, and accepting yourself. It’s fun to be who you are, and being someone else is boring.
What did your friends think when you told them about it?
The friends who know about it think it’s cool. I didn’t really make it a big deal to tell them. They either saw me working on it and asked about it, or I asked them to become a contributor.
And finally what are your future aspirations for The Wandering Collective?
I’m hoping to compile a zine at some point, which I hope some independent bookstores would consider carrying. That would be the biggest goal I have at this point, other than just trying to gain a wider audience.