We started the Jar Belles after becoming increasingly frustrated with the day to day bullshit sexism we encountered. We wanted to express ourselves but felt limited to ranting on Facebook or retweeting feminist celebs who had the kind of platform where it might actually make a difference. While social media activism has its place when done right, we wanted somewhere we could physically meet other feminists, to feel that we weren’t crazy or alone and speak and act with them. We wanted to reconnect to that old idea of sisterhood. This idea was prevalent during the 70s and 90s but where is it now? Local feminist groups were few and far between, with obscure or exclusive meeting arrangements, and one by one we ruled them out.
It was the 90s riot grrrl movement that persuaded us. We’d both been fans as teenagers and were guilty of the odd Le Tigre solo dance party still but the message of doing-it-yourself had almost been forgotten. Then a well-timed biopic and history of the movement came out and reminded us – we didn’t need permission from anyone, we didn’t need any special experience, all we needed were our opinions and hot damn, we gobby two certainly had a few of them.
The first meeting was better than we could have ever hoped for. As if by magic, a group of truly awesome women and men came together that night to try something new and created a place for self-expression, support and action. The newly formed Jar Belles had the following goals:
- To raise awareness and fight the inequalities faced by women
- To create a safe zone for women to express themselves
- To promote body positivity and acceptance
- To fight the perpetuation of traditional gender roles
- To discuss feminism as a cultural as well as a political movement
We also decided to create this blog as a place for people both in and outside of the group to explore these goals and comment on other feminist issues. In addition to articles, this blog will (hopefully!) include reviews, poetry, fiction, etc. Some of us will be anonymous and some of us won’t – it’s completely up to the writer of each individual piece. Again, if you don’t come to meetings you’re still more than welcome to contribute. We’re well aware of the struggles in finding a suitable local group and you can still be a Jar Belle online – we got enough love to go round, baby! We’re inclusive of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, races, religions, etc. Feminism benefits everyone and anyone can make a difference if they bloody well want to.
Jade and Kasia xx