11 British Feminists To Follow On International Women's Day For Some Everyday Inspiration On Your Feed
While social media can often be an ugly place, it's also a platform that has given those striving to make a change the opportunity to extend messages of equality, empowerment, body positivity, and inclusivity. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of the online world, it allows for a direction connection to an audience who also supports these ideals and wants to make their mark. And if there's any group that benefit most from this platform, it's the awesome number of British feminists to follow on social media that are spreading messages of hope, confidence, and truth through the likes of Instagram and Twitter.
By making their followers aware of the injustices that are still prevalent in today's society, it allows these to be heard which can lead to positive action being taken. Whether it's combating period poverty, eliminating beauty standards, or ending stigmatisation, these feminists are determined to scrap stereotypes and create a world where everyone is equal. It's not much to ask, is it?
With that in mind, below is a list of British feminists that you need on your radar (if you haven't come across them already). Not only will you be up to date with feminist culture, politics, and other goings-on but you'll more than likely be introduced to even more kick-ass feminists.
1. Sonny Turner
Originally from Birmingham and now based in London, 20-year-old model Sonny Turner champions body positivity and speaks openly about the pressures of body confidence not only on social media, but also in the modelling industry. She garnered pretty substantial attention back in the summer of 2017 after calling out high street stores not catering to every body type.
Championing the mantra that "being different is OK" and "being different is also beautiful," Turner utilises her platform to spread the importance of being you through empowering selfies and inspiring captions. Also, she recently began working on a campaign with The Body Shop to highlight the the importance that Shea produce has for the women of Ghana.
2. Phoebe Collings-James
If you're in need of a kick-ass female artist, look no further than artist and model Phoebe Collings-James. She began her modelling career at age 13, but it's her inspiring feminist artwork that has captured the attention of many.
While being labelled as a "feminist artist" wasn't something she originally welcomed, she began to realise that "somebody has to speak out about it," as she explained to Vogue. "I think it's much too much of an easy way out not confront those things," especially working in a medium that sometimes lends itself to being dominated by men. "[A]nyone who is female and young and at all desirable-looking to a male gaze is going to be immediately passed over for potentially not being serious. I think you have to let the work prove people wrong."
Follow Collings-James on Instagram.
3. Kat Hawkins
You'll most likely recognise Kat Hawkins from her presenting work on the BBC's technology programme Click, but she is also a strong advocate for the acceptance of disabilities and providing those with unheard stories a voice.
After contracting meningococcal septicaemia at age 18, Hawkins had both her legs amputated at the knee. She has since documented her journey through social media, which in turn has created a supportive community where others can share experiences of their disabilities. By sharing these important stories and experiences, Hawkins strives to "deconstruct most of the portrayals of human bodies that we see in mainstream media," as she wrote in one caption.
4. Luciana Berger
As a member of parliament and a working parent, Luciana Berger is a prominent voice within the Commons and takes no issue in making her support for "equality for all, opportunities for all, anti-racism against all and social justice" abundantly clear, as she recently told the Guardian.
While she left her position as (the first ever) Shadow Minister for Mental Health in 2016 during the mass resignation within the Labour Party, she has continued to support her core beliefs whilst also advocating for gay rights and endorsing better maternity support within parliament, as GQ reports. She also famously led the break from Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party in response to the lack of support she experienced in the face of anti-semitism. In standing up for her beliefs and against abusive behaviour online, this is a politician of principle and self-belief.
5. Mariam Khan
Author of It's Not About The Burqa, Mariam Khan is striving to change how Muslim women are portrayed in the media, and the West as a whole. She first began advocating to change the stereotypes associated with the religion after David Cameron described Muslim women as "traditionally submissive."
"For me, it was a really pivotal, significant moment. We all said: 'no, hang on, you do not get to make us something we are not'," she told iNews. "We do speak up, we are present, we do contribute. His comments stayed with me."
6. Charlie Craggs
Founder of Nail Transphobia and author of My Trans Sisters, Charlie Craggs utilises the close bonds that can be made through social media to enact change. TBH, I can't think of a better way than bonding over a manicure. Through one-on-one sessions at her pop-up booths, Craggs aim is to humanise discussion, "because prejudice and hate comes from fear and misunderstanding," as she told Vogue in 2017. "I wanted to create a safe space where I could help educate people in a super friendly, accessible — and fabulous way."
Through Nail Transphobia and her book, she received the Marie Claire Future Shaper Award in 2017, and has been named as "one of the most influential and inspirational LGBT people in the UK" by the Independent and Guardian newspapers, as Women for Women reports.
7. Otegha Uwagba
Founder of Women Who (a working platform for creative women), host of podcast In Good Company, and author of Sunday Times Bestseller Little Black Book, Otegha Uwagba is — to put it simply — a total boss. She's also her own boss in fact, and while that in itself can bring forward a myriad of challenges the benefits outweigh the negatives — especially when it comes to giving women in the creative industry a platform to spread their voice and to be heard.
"I think having women — particularly women of colour, black women — in positions of power within any industry and having them be visible and successful, and having them share their stories is so important," she told INDIE magazine last year. "The thing I really try to do with Women Who and In Good Company is to share stories and go into detail and depth."
8. Paris Lees
Ambassador for All About Trans, editor of Meta magazine, and a regular columnist for the likes of Vogue — she became the first transgender columnist for the magazine last November — the Independent, and the Guardian, Paris Lees has been making waves as a campaigner for transgender equality.
"I'm trans and feminist. Most of my female friends in their 20s are feminist too, though few call it that," she wrote in a piece for the Guardian. "We see ourselves as equal to others, even if [other people] don't."
9. Reeta Loi
Writer, singer, producer and DJ, Reeta Loi was selected by Penguin Random House "as one of fifty writers to watch" this year, especially since she'll soon be releasing her debut novel that will be a collection of poetry and short stories. Loi explores "themes relating to identity including gender, caste, class, and sexuality" in her work, highlighting the issues that need to be tackled head-on.
Loi is also the co-founder and CEO of Gaysians, "a platform that promotes visibility for South Asian LGBT+ people," as described on the site. Gaysians provides a wide spectrum of resources for those in the community through support groups and meet-ups. Loi is very much one to watch.
10. Enam Asiama
Plus-size advocate and model Enam Asiama is totally slaying the game on Instagram. From collabing with Missguided for their Keep On Being You campaign to continuously posting inspiring snaps advocating self-love and body positivity, you need Asiama on your feed.
As Slink magazine aptly summed up: "She has always believed that empowerment of women and women of colours comes from self-love and self-care which she represents through visuals she shares on social media." It's impossible to come away from her feed feeling anything but joy.
Follow Asiama on Instagram
11. Amika George
The UK's problems with period poverty — with people resorting to using newspaper, socks, and other materials to deal with menstruation — have been well documented in the last year. Amika George is who we have to thank for that documentation. Thanks to the ridiculous taxes applied to period products, many people — especially the young — are finding it increasingly hard to afford something that in all honesty should be free.
After starting the #FreePeriods online movement at the age of 17, Amika George has become one of the world's most notable advocates to end period poverty in the UK. Now 19 years old, George was recently listed as one of TIME magazine's most influential teens of the world for her efforts to end period poverty, and has was awarded the Goalkeepers award by Bill & Melinda Gates last September.
"We all have a responsibility to inspire the next generation, and to teach them the power of periods, this amazing natural process that allows us to put life into this world," George said during her acceptance speech. "So, enough with the shame, embarrassment, and stigma that enshrouds menstruation, enough with euphemizing and belittling periods, sticking tampons up your sleeves, hiding rags and pads in our bras!"
Follow George on Twitter.