Since the last decade, the internet, particularly social media has evolved from being just a tool for instant connectivity with friends and strangers alike. It has grown beyond just a playground for modern relationships, some that begin and end there, others that live to see the light in the real world.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook no longer simply serve as starting points of the latest trends, they are all now in some way platforms empowering various forms of social change. From anonymous queer accounts creating safe, interconnected communities on Twitter while raising awareness around the Nigerian queer experience to young Nigerians calling out harmful policies and Nigerian womxn fighting against gender-based injustice, the insidious claws of patriarchy, and checking anti-feminists (read: men) who are obsessed with talking about how much they hate what feminism is today.
Social media has shown us amongst many things that Nigerian women need safe spaces, designed specifically for them, and insulated from the disapproving gaze of anti-feminist sentiments and slow social adjustments to what it means to be a woman today.
While the very notion of needing a safe space shouldn’t be the norm, this is the reality we have found ourselves, and until Nigeria starts to really care about its womxn, Nigerian womxn will inevitably continue to seek spaces where their full humanity, flaws, and strengths are appreciated, echoed and understood.
One such space is the new Femme Mag, the editorial vertical of Femme Africa, an organization, founded by Ayomide Dokunmu, committed to uplifting and supporting womxn in the creative industry. With Nigeria’s media industry heavily led by men, Femme Africa’s work is one that is slowly changing the kind of support women get to receive when working in any part of the creative industry.
Femme Mag, co-founded by Temilade Adeyinka is, however, an even more important publication at a time like this. Concerned with centering the gaze of Nigerian womxn, the platform will change the way the voices of Nigerian womxn are centered, how their stories womxn are amplified, how their stories are told, and who gets to tell them.
While there are some magazines and publications created for women, there are almost none with such a feminist-edged focus, choosing intersectionality and nuance above all else.
Jus as it describes itself, Femme Mag is another online community created for womxn, to thrive, find support and engage with an editorial body that can perfectly capture what it means to be a Nigerian womxn today.
The recent wave of the fight for gender equality in Nigeria has had an emphasis on supporting womxn, creating communities, and creating for Nigerian womxn, with Nigerian womxn at the reins. We might just have the next Bitch Magazine on our hands.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.