Florence Given: “People don’t want you to break the mold… you needed to” | Wrote

FLawrence Geffen is an illustrator, writer, and feminist. She started her Instagram page as a 17-year-old art student in Plymouth to showcase her quirky female illustrations: she now has nearly 600,000 followers, and her merchandise has garnered fans including Rita Ora, who asked her to design products for her 2018 tour. Geffen’s first book, Women don’t owe you beautifulIt sold 100,000 copies and spent months on bestseller lists. in 2019, worldwide She was named Influencer of the Year, and she launched this year exactly The podcast in which she interviews women like Jamila Jamil, Monroe Bergdorf and Sophie Hagen. her first novel, Liked girlis the story of Irtha, a young bisexual woman who became an overnight internet celebrity.

What prompted you to resort to the novel for your second book?
I wanted to write a book that showed people are messy, and I wanted to create chaotic characters. Nothing makes me better than making people laugh, making people think, and also gently lifting a mirror to the reader so that they can think of themselves in a way that doesn’t feel judged or ashamed.

Social media is a topic in the book. How do you manage boundaries as an influencer?
The hardest thing for me is extrapolating who I would be even without the internet. Social media is my gateway to the world and to making connections with people. When it comes to the physical limits I have with my phone: it’s never in my bedroom, it’s always charged in the kitchen. And when it comes to what you share online, I always excel.

Sexuality comes here, and in your other work. What is the thing you are most interested in communicating with?
She has described Legacy as a bisexual hot mess. The thing is, especially for bisexual people, we don’t really feel like having a home. Then there’s a house in that mess, and you don’t really know what you’re up to.

As a bisexual woman, and as someone who has a podcast with a tips section, I get hundreds of questions from women every day. Most of them are: “Am I bisexual? I don’t know if I am.” And I can’t tell people! I’m not you. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know your life. What I wanted to do with this novel is that it’s okay not to know. It’s okay to get confused.

Women don’t owe you beautiful It was a brief, intelligent, compassionate guide to navigating feminism. Did you achieve what you want?
Sold in Tesco: Women have attended my book events saying, “I’ve never considered myself a feminist. I bought your book because it looked beautiful. And then I came out the other end saying no to my husband, throwing my armpit hair out, and telling him when I didn’t want to have sex.” They think they haven’t been educated to be feminists to talk about these things. It should not be saved by the gate.

What did you start?
I was a teenager in Plymouth and was sexually harassed in a nightclub for the first time. All my friends were, like: Thread, that’s just the case. I would complain about it and other women would shut me out. And here’s what I didn’t like: I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. I was in art college studying fashion, and there was a part about fashion illustrations. You can do whatever you want with your illustrations. I fused this anger with the naked women I was drawing. Then I put it online because no one in my life was listening to me.

Illustration by Florence Geffen.

I moved to London. Have you ever felt like you can’t do what you want in Devon?
It was a great place to grow up. I have so many great memories there. But I went to an all-girls school, and if anyone tried to break the status quo, it was more like a cult. Someone betrays the cult or does something different from the cult, you are ashamed and try to come back again. In small towns in general, people don’t want you to actually break the mold, and you need to. There weren’t many gay bars in Plymouth – there was one for gay men. I needed something to get me out of. And I’ve been thriving since I’ve found people I love so much.

What is the difference?
My friends never talk to me about their weight. We talk openly about the sex we have, we talk openly about masturbation, and we are very honest about our feelings for each other. We say no when we want to. But that’s also because my friends are gay or bisexual.

I have some direct friends though. I’ve made friends with a bunch of straight people in the past year, based solely on music tastes; An amazing group of women. And I’ve never heard people talk about their bodies that much. It was a shock to me because I hadn’t been around her in a while and I couldn’t believe it.

Can you explain why young people love love islandWhen does such a regression appear from a feminist perspective? How advanced is the younger generation?
I don’t think I can explain it to you because I agree to it love island Horrible, but I still think it’s fun as hell. I can see why people are drawn to it, because it’s entertainment. this is funy. This is just reality TV. My generation is much more progressive [than previous generations]: We learn. There are a lot of people who come out as trans and gay because there are examples of that now. And I don’t think you can ever give yourself permission to be something you feel unless you see an example of that.

What’s Next?
I was asked if I wanted to get into politics. number! I’d be terrible at that. I know my strength. I am a writer, I am an artist. And I’m good at talking. But I don’t want to become a politician. I want to write books for the rest of my life.

Liked girl By Florence Geffen Posted by Brazen (£16.99). to support guardian And the observer Request your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

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