Get to Know Boshemia
Boshemia launched a month ago, and in light of our first month anniversary, the staff at Boshemia wanted to share with our readers a little Q & A. Read on to discover our feminist influences, ongoing projects, and more.
SARAH QUDSIA ||
Favourite feminist icon
This is a weird question for me, because I try not to iconicise people. I find that if you say someone is your favourite feminist icon, then a couple of weeks later they'll come out and make a low key racist character (ehm, Tina Fey, problematic fave) or say something super dumb and you're harder on them than you normally would be because they reached icon status. So yeah long story short I've got no idea. If we can include functional characters, I'm going to go with Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation. She's sunny, she's bright, strong willed, a hard worker and ambitious— not just for herself but for everyone around her. If I'm feeling as stressed, I often just think “What would Leslie Knope do?” And very often the answer is to eat some waffles and power through.
This year one of my modules was about creative non fiction writing (ikr, medical degree. Just wait till you see all the shit I've learned about eyeliner for my course this year). So naturally we had to write a bunch of pieces and read them out and share them and stuff. This was initially a pretty scary idea for me because I HATED sharing what I've written; I always thought I had a really immature and shitty writing style. Throughout the module I started to develop my voice and it turns out that (not to brag or anything but) I'm kinda funny. I really enjoyed all this writing and sharing my voice and stuff that I jumped at the idea of starting a website with my girls. This gives me the opportunity to share my stupid opinions and tell people about niche little things that I find cool, and at the same time Boshemia gives me a creative outlet.
What else is in the pipeline for you?
Yo I'm still a student. So far the pipeline is study. Hopefully soon we'll be fully developing Of Kale And Crying(a play) but for now finals await (so lots of crying and realistically not a lot of kale).
|| SARAH LAWRENCE
Favourite feminist icon / piece of media
I've mentioned her in an article before, but my favourite feminist icon is an underdog. Eliza Haywood was active and vocal in the 1700s and she was one of the first women writers to fight for her voice in an entirely male public sphere. She unapologetically claimed her space in the public eye and in the political, literary and theatrical worlds, ultimately gaining the respect of her peers over their disdain. She's a truly remarkable example of strong women claiming back their identity, their voice and their space in a male world even 300 years ago. A true trailblazer.
Boshemia came at a very good time for me. 10 months post-uni and still working full time in a coffee shop, my creativity and my mental health were both on a downwards trajectory. I was in a serious slump and beginning to dig myself in too deep to haul myself back out without some major work. Then two things happened almost at once: these two fantastic women and myself began talking excitedly about a project and actually acted on it, and I got cast in a play. Everything started to get significantly better after that.
In this respect, Boshemia is important to me on a very personal level as well as on a higher level in the grand scheme of things. It is so beneficial and healthy to be an active participant in feminist discussion. Not only that, but though this project us three are introducing feminism to many of our peers who are un-or under-educated in this area and turning a whole new wave of people on to feminist culture and cause. There is so much stigma still attached to the word "feminist", even in this advanced year of 2016, and it's important to reach out and educate the people in your immediate circle; it all has an impact on the greater feminist movement. By participating in feminist discussion I am in turn educating myself further and further still. There is always so much learning to be done in movements such as this. For me, the most valuable lesson that I've learned is that sometimes, when you possess a certain type of privilege, it is more appropriate to shut up and be educated by those who have lived experience than it is to speak out and have your opinion.
I have recently started a vegetarian lifestyle blog, The Kale Chronicles. The blog itself is a work in progress, but I have been active on the corresponding
account. I am also currently writing a piece for and with my theatre company
, with whom I have had an Edinburgh Fringe Festival
. In addition, I am currently appearing as Marguerite in
's production of
The Wrong Side of Prohibition
EILEEN ELIZABETH ||
Feminist icons / works of note
I am newly in love with LEMONADE, which I have previously written about. Other long-burning musical infatuations are Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence and Honeymoon. Lana's ethereal sound and her fuck-the-fuck-boys attitude, mixed with classic LA glam/Brooklyn hipshit vibe gets me.
In further praise of feminine art: it's no secret that I am really, earnestly into Lena Dunham's creative writing. Her bravado, unabashed humor, and use of her body as a tool in comedy just make me so happy. I'm over the moon to see ~Awkward Bodies~ in a femininity presented as something not “intentionally beautiful, ” or as a product to be consumed by men and media. In her work, Lena presents herself as a person acutely aware of herself and perceived shortcomings, and she plays them out to the fullest hilt. That being said, I think that she is a very problematic figure to idealize in the feminist community because she is not known for being an inclusive feminist. Her privilege rubs me the wrong way, which detracts me from consuming her work. Her creative writing aside, I think that her tv show and media presence contributes to some troubling White Feminist agenda.
Other writers that I look to for inspiration are Lindy West and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I recently finished reading Americanah by Adichie, and I think it's a masterpiece.
Boshemia is the lovechild of dear friends deeply invested in the feminist politique. Seeking an outlet to share our creativity and ideas, we decided to cultivate a community of our own. Boshemia came together to connect women through story and sharing. Like the oral traditions of our great-grandmothers long gone by, made digital. Boshemia is a testament to the free expression of feminists, to respond to pop culture, media, politics— and the idea that our thoughts and experiences have inherent value.
Have I mentioned that we're best friends IRL? Can't emphasize that enough.
After graduating college in rural America, and later after working as an actor in the UK, returning to life in America savoured deeply of anticlimax. Where was home anymore? What was I doing? I felt that art was happening everywhere else but here. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself—something influential, artistic, and of real value. This spring, after a year of working three jobs and only sometimes getting paid to make art (who pays young hopeful actors anyways?), I finally gathered my wits about me, moved to the city, and started talks about Boshemia with Sarah & Sarah.
Boshemia has only been live for a month now, and in that month, so many great things have come about. We have connected to global audiences and experienced such an outpour of positive feedback from women we know and the greater community of fellow feminists online. We have been highlighted by Wordpress Discover as an Editor's Pick, for the story I wrote about pho. Most excitingly, we are now opening our blog to guest contributors, and the pitches have started to flood in. I'm elated.
As a scattered creative, Boshemia grounds me, gives me structure, and a means to reach beyond myself— our blog participates in a greater discussion, a movement at large. Boshemia is everything to me.
What else besides Bo?
I finally quit my side hustles and now am focused on a day job at a production company that specializes in making films and interactive media for museum exhibits in the US and abroad. Besides my 9-5, I am currently putting together a collection of essays and poems, and diving into freelance writing. Above all, though, I’m dying to get into a theater project.
From left: Eileen, Sarah Q, and Sarah L in Plymouth, England.