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Building An Empowering Community For Women With Chloe Laws

by Chloe Laws

Chloe Laws is a freelance journalist, GLAMOUR contributing editor, poet, and founder of 'FGRLS CLUB' - an educational, community-led platform fighting against everyday misogyny.

It’s 2017, I’m sitting at the kitchen table of my Hackney flatshare, sweating in a London heatwave, and I decided to just…create the space I was looking for. People regularly ask me what made me start FGRLS CLUB, and I always say it was born out of a lack rather than some huge eureka moment or business with a strategy. 

I’ve worked in media for almost a decade now, and I’ve only started to see some mainstream media represent the people, conversations, and politics that I want to see, in the last couple of years. I wanted a place to read women’s stories, a place to see a critique of the government, a place to educate on misogyny, a place of nuance and progressive feminism. And at the time, in the UK, that didn’t really exist. I thought ‘why not me?’ 

FGRLS CLUB began more as a digital magazine, and over the years, with the rise of social media, it’s become a social-first space with nearly 100,000 Instagram followers. The community you’re able to build on social media is so instant, so intimate. Our audience is mostly UK based (around 60%), between the ages of 18 and 34, and 97% women. One of my favorite things is how they self-community-manage. If a troll or incel comments some nonsense, they respond so quickly and so eloquently that I rarely have to step in. Being a public woman, and a feminist, always garners some critique and it can take its toll, but thanks to the support of the community at FGRLS CLUB, my mental health largely feels protected. 

Building a genuine audience is hard with so much competition and saturation. You can use every algorithm trick, every new feature - but if your message isn’t strong, and your content hasn’t got a point of difference, it’ll be tricky to grow. People can tell when your platform is inauthentic. From the outset I never had a ‘goal’ for FGRLS CLUB, never wanted a certain amount of followers, or had plans of monetizing, everything has been done from the heart and not from some corporate machine. I think our community can tell the difference, and that’s appealing to them: there’s a lot of Girl Boss feminism around, places trying to use gender inequality as a trend to profit off, rather than a cause and crisis that needs work.

Something that is often forgotten, in a time when people can go viral overnight or get instant success, is that this isn’t the case for most people. FGRLS CLUB has grown steadily, slowly, and consistently for over six years. Along the way, I’ve learned so much about my own personal feminism and the platform has changed with me — I like to think the community of women has had a similar journey.