all womxn project blog - an interview with amy beecham
we speak all-things-awp with the blog’s editor-in-chief
What is the All Womxn Project, and what is the overarching message behind it?
I think the most important thing to remember about AWP is that, as much as it is an online campaign and there are brand endorsements and photoshoots and features in Vogue, it is actually a 501-c-(3) non-profit. So, we’re a charity, and the work we do is for change, not profit and publicity. A large part of our work involves our local groups, where we go into schools and help teach young womxn how to shift the way they think about themselves and their bodies in accordance to what they see in the media. It’s about supporting people, online and IRL, in breaking free from societal pressures and preconceptions surround body type to inspire them to be and express their authentic self, with all that includes.
What does The All Womxn Project mean to you?
When I joined earlier in the year, AWP was just an account I followed on Instagram. But as soon as I was taken on, I immediately felt this pride and protectiveness like I had been there years. Most people don’t see all the work that goes on behind it and how we all live and breathe the ideas we put out there. As much as it’s a side hustle, because bills gotta’ be paid, it’s so much more elevated than a hobby. Every single day I get hundreds of messages from the girls – content ideas, inspirational accounts, ways to develop our on the ground presence. We’re constantly sharing what makes us feel joy and acceptance, so that’s really what the blog is going to be about: creating that sense of community on a larger scale, and with an amazing creative element.
What kind of content can we expect to see from The All Womxn Project blog?
When we first began discussing the idea of the blog, my bottom line was that I wanted it not only to feel safe and inclusive, but familiar and homely. You know, this isn’t highbrow or exclusive and it’s not supposed to be, which is the main reason why we made it a blog rather than a print publication, for that accessibility. My editorial strategy is going to be much more relaxed in comparison to previous positions I’ve held. It isn’t about having polished content, but real, engaging stories. We want the young girls who have never written anything before but have something to say, we want the womxn who have been toying with the idea of sharing their art but have never quite plucked up the courage. It’s going to be real, and hearty, and wonderful.
What will make The All Womxn Project blog stand out from other similar publications?
I think it is that community element: the fact that we aren’t a media company or a brand. We’re changing things from a grass roots level and appealing to an editorial audience, so we’re tackling both worlds at the same time. The sheer amount of heart that is going to go into it will be what carries it through. It’s a platform for inspiration and inclusivity – not an exercise in wokeness or an attempt to sell or promote an idea.
The All Womxn Project campaigns thus far have been so powerful in their diversity and representation of all womxn, how are you going to make sure the blog delivers the same impact?
As an overall organisation, we are rebranding later in the year to make our name more inclusive to our non-binary siblings. The thing I love and admire most about AWP is that everyone involved, from the president to the local volunteers is constantly striving for more. More representation, more inclusivity, more power. It’s the mark of a truly benevolent organisation not to settle and to know that they can keep doing better and better. So, the blog will be a natural extension of this constant development.
Do you think the body positivity movement has been successful in pushing the fashion industry to move forward and be more representative of ‘real’ bodies? Can it be pushed further? If so, how?
Wider acceptance, for anyone or anything, is always progress. However, as a womxn that is considered the societal standard of “thin”, I don’t feel it’s my place to speak as an authority on this issue, you know? It would be irresponsible for me to sit here and say, “yeah it’s all coming good”, when I’ve never been subjected to stares, or insensitive comments, or given “health advice” by a stranger.
People might ask why, then, am I the Editor-in-Chief of a publication from an organisation that is so deeply involved with the body positivity movement? And they are completely entitled to ask. I would just say that this is something I truly care about. However, just like my passion for LGBTQ* rights, my interest and passion are a choice, not a necessity. I recognise that these movements are not for me, and yet can still be an ally and a champion of them and the work they do. I am not the star of AWP – I’m here to correct the grammar and swap the syntax and act as a support to the people whose voices do need to be amplified, far above my own. Our organisation is here for anyone who feels the pressures of the warped perception of body image in the media, thin-passing people included. But as someone in a position of power amongst it all, I must be very aware of my privilege in the situation – to benefit from what we do without feeling the complete oppression of the alternative.
What advice would you give to young womxn growing up in the today’s society?
I could spit motivational Pinterest quotes for hours, but I’ll leave you with just my favourite: do your thing and don’t care if they don’t like it.
All Womxn Project is a 501-c foundation aiming to better the life of girls and womxn worldwide by displaying a true, beautiful, positive and un-retouched image of womxn in photo and video campaigns throughout the year. The AWP is also taking actions where body image and self-esteem is the most challenging, in schools, by organising events, workshops and meetings with schools and colleges.
Amy Beecham is a writer, editor and content creator studying on the Warwick Writing Programme. You can visit her website www.thegirlandthewords.com or find her mouthing off on Twitter @amyjbeecham and posing for fake candids on Instagram @amy.beecham
Interviewer: Alex Scott