As the first autumnal leaves begin to tumble and the humidity of summer rolls out, we at Boshemia thought that now would be the perfect time to pause and take a second to mull it all over, wondering what it all meant.
The past few months have been an incredibly busy time both in front of and behind the scenes at Boshemia HQ. Q & L’s visit to see E in the USA back in June was a big landmark in the Bo-calendar, and this season has also seen the launch of our new Women to Watch Wednesday series; reviews on pop culture and politics; no fewer than seven guest articles; and behind the scenes, two job scores and one impressive placement in South Africa.
By way of review we crafted a couple of questions for each other to reflect on Summer of 2016.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you guys have learnt during the summer?
E: This summer I learned that I am still terrified of driving. Happily, I live somewhere where public transport is super accessible. But this existential dread that consumes me when I’m behind the wheel of the car– still happening. I’m trying to make that fear meaningful, in some artistic or comedic sense.
L: It’s taken a long time for this lesson to get through to me, but this summer I finally managed to not feel bad about giving myself a break when I need it, including being able to say no. By that I mean admitting when I need a few hours to wallow and practice self-care rather than trying to force myself to go about my day as usual; I mean being able to let things go and not beat myself up about things which don’t matter in the grand scheme; I mean acknowledging my own need to progress and bloom and grow without panicking too much about what it means for other people.
E: What was your favorite pop culture moment this summer?
L: I have been embarrassingly a pop culture hermit this summer – something about spending most of my life working in a coffee shop and the rest of the time I’m not in said coffee shop frantically applying for new jobs doesn’t exactly make for ideal conditions in which to keep up. That said, I have been SO on the PokémonGO bandwagon (#nerd) and avidly followed the Rio 2016 Olympics, particularly the female athletes.
I am, however, gearing up for multiple very exciting pop culture releases this autumn / winter so check back in January fellas.
Q: Pop culture has been weird this summer. The typical summer movies have failed to inspire the general public and in the same vein, we haven’t really got a proper song of the summer. That being said, I think it’s been a great summer for pop culture, and this is going to be a long answer (sorry.) I feel like the “correct” answer to this question is Stranger Things, which we’ve already discussed at length. Also, since having written this, the two part Stranger Things OST has dropped on Spotify and it’s astounding. Speaking of music, the B side to one of the best albums of last year, EMOTION by Carly Ray Jepsen was recently released and, much like the A side, it’s a perfect combination of 80’s style music with romantic yet relatable lyrics. In terms of specific moments, Beyonce at the VMA’s was pretty astounding; she performed a medley of some of the hits from LEMONADE, and slayed. In about twenty minutes, she stole the entire show, highlighted some of the poetry from Warsan Shire, and spotlighted the Black Lives Matter movement. Other brilliant moments include Hillary Clinton accepting the historic nomination for Democratic Candidate, women dominating the Olympics, and the salacious Kim/Kanye/Taylor feud which ended up being a guilty pleasure gift that kept on giving. All that being said, my favourite pop culture thing of the summer is Season 3 of Bojack Horseman (available on Netflix). In the past two years, Bojack Horseman has gone from silly show about an anthropomorphic horse celebrity, to an in depth portrayal of addiction and depression akin to that of Mad Men. This season ended up being particularly heart-breaking as Bojack goes on the awards campaign; he ends up pinning all his hopes, happiness and emotional stability on a stupid Oscar, and as someone who’s struggled with depression, I totally get that! The show also tackles abortion and celebrity feminism in a hilarious episode featuring one of the most inappropriate songs I’ve ever wanted to make my ring tone. It’s not a typical summer show but I cannot recommend this show enough. It’s beautiful, heart-breaking and hilarious. Plus there’s tons of animal puns. Puns!
L: What was your favourite or most significant personal moment this summer?
E: Our first official meeting as an organization was by far the most significant moment for me. From when we launched in April until we first met up in July, we had been conducting Boshemia remotely from the UK and US. And then at last in July, there we were, sitting around a table at a wine bar, talking about the articles we wanted to write and the stories we hoped to read in our feminist community. Pouring a glass of wine, smiling with my best friends, savouring that feeling of “we are doing this, we are making this happen together.” That was my highlight. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Q: There are so many contenders for this one! Every moment of the #boshemiababesreunion, my first Gay Pride Parade, passing med school finals. This is such a douchey Vice-esque answer, but it has to be getting high at the Boshemia soiree. I’m such a lightweight that I turned super giggly after like three tokes. I ended up making a complete fool of myself in front of some Boshemia collaborators who were, let’s be totally real here, strangers. We all looked so elegant; E’s apartment was decorated beautifully, and we were surrounded by beautiful food and cake and drinks, and I could not stop laughing. I was trying to tell a simple story about E’s aloof-ness, but I couldn’t get it out, setting L off; and then the sight of us two giggling Brits set E off. Then we ended up watching a bunch of nature montages on Netflix while our psychedelic/jazzy/poppy playlist played on. As the warmth faded, I think we all looked at each other and just thought “what the fuck is wrong with us.” The last few times I’d gotten high (and given my embarrassing light-weighted-ness I really should stress that I don’t do this often) I just got super mellow and kinda boring, but this was sheer unadulterated glee in the best company possible. My face felt warm. It was ridiculous. It was super embarrassing. I loved it.
Q: Now that summer’s over, what are you looking forward too? (events, pop culture, jobs, pumpkin spice lattes etc.)
E: I’m really stoked about digging into some new projects this fall, like finally putting together my poetry anthology and making new work. In Boshemia-land, we will be producing a new podcast! We’ve been talking about it all summer. Most of all, though, this September I’m looking forward to breaking out my hilarious knitwear collection and mulled wine spices. And going to every pumpkin patch in my proximity.
L: This is where I un-embarrass myself on the pop culture front! This autumn I am hugely looking forward to The Great British Bake-Off, the Gilmore Girls revival, Fantastic Beasts, my birthday, the smell of autumn rain, the crunch of amber leaves underfoot, the crisp frost in the air on bonfire night. I am looking forward to starting my new job and having the time and energy to read, write and create. Most importantly, I am looking forward to this next spurt of activity and creativity that I can feel bubbling inside me, both within Boshemia and within my own creative interests.
E: In what ways can you make yourself a better, more inclusive and active feminist this Fall?
L: So far in 2016 I have been learning that my voice is not always relevant or appropriate in every issue or discussion. I have listened all summer and learned a lot about giving voices to the right people and making sure that those with lived experience are heard and not spoken over or spoken for, so this autumn I would love to expand Boshemia’s web of voices and choose to reach out to those most qualified to speak on certain topics.
Q: I was literally just discussing inclusive feminism tonight with a dear friend, so excellently timed question E! She bought up a social psychology theory that when you align yourself to a certain group (feminism, liberalism, libertarianism whatever,) it becomes practically impossible to have your view swayed away from that group. For that reason, I think it’s so important to listen to members of other groups and engage in discourse. I don’t necessarily believe that all political and society discourse has to be arguing and yelling and making piss poor arguments, so as long as both parties are willing to listen, I think it’ll be a worthwhile experience. Boshemia is a unique platform that gives anyone, not just us three, voice; this autumn I’d love to showcase different voices with different perspectives
This one might end up being difficult, but I’m going to try and be a more conscientious consumer, at least with pop culture. In light of Nate Parker’s new film and old rape, a lot has been written about the ability to separate art from the artist. This article by Roxanne Gay wrote a wonderful article about Parker and the limits of empathy, and it’s a must read for anyone on the fence about seeing his new film. While it’s true that everyone in Hollywood / the music industry etc. has ties to some shady or dangerous goings on, if the facts are out in the open, you feel kind of obliged to not financially support them.
I had to cut a lot of this down, so expect a future post on being a conscientious media consumer.
L: In one sentence describe your journey with feminism during 2016.
E: My journey with feminism in 2016 was marked by becoming steadily disenchanted with Celebrity Feminists TM and falling more deeply for feminist writers; Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie and Lindy West changed me forever.
Q: Ongoing; I just realised that’s more of a word than a sentence so I’m just bulking it out now.