Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us.
Where to begin to describe this for you…
It’s a magazine. A magazine for lesbians/feminists. It’s printed in the Netherlands and available in Belgium. And it’s in ENGLISH! Your first reaction is probably “So what?” “There is so much information on the internet, completely free, why would I pay for a magazine?”
Well, fair enough…In this age, where communication is so fast, where social media are central to our everyday life, where breaking news arrive to us within seconds, for free, do printed magazines continue to have a purpose? For sure it cannot be so easy anymore for magazines to find their raison d’etre.
I feel, however, that Girls Like Us has managed to fight against the current and find its purpose.
And it has managed to do it by being everything that social media and the free information on the internet is not.
So what is so special about this magazine? The first thing is that, knowing that it would be unable to compete with the world of online free media, Girls Like Us chose to present itself as a cultural product rather than a medium. The magazine therefore is full of lengthy interviews and playful word games, rather than naked pieces of information, gossip columns etc.
The second thing is that it is clearly a magazine for lesbians who are looking for something edgier, something beyond the mainstream media. Therefore it focuses on feminist themes and on interviews with artists, musicians, performers, fashion designers. But not the ones that form part of popular culture, but the more alternative, underground ones, the ones that are rarely mentioned in mainstream media. In Girls Like Us you will not find an interview with big names like Rihanna, because that is what every popular magazine tries to do. Instead, Girls Like Us presents an interview with Fatima Al Qadiri, because if you do in fact like this musician, you will not find her in the popular magazines. Instead, you will find her in this particular publication. So, by narrowing its readers to a very close circle, i.e. lesbians interested in alternative culture, i.e. by doing the reverse of what instinctively all big publications do, Girls Like Us has found its niche.
Playing along the same theme of doing what others are not, Girls Like Us has no advertisements. None. I cannot describe how refreshing this is.
Another aspect is the very minimalistic design, with large letters and without being stingy on paper but rather spreading words, titles, photos across the magazine. This, coupled with the lack of advertisements, provide an incredible reading experience. You can read a whole article, a whole interview, without the distractions, and without having to make the effort to read the small print. You can concentrate and understand and absorb the information.Girls Like Us targets a very narrow readers spectrum, and clearly this is a well thought out choice.
I do not see this ever becoming a very popular magazine, the type that you can find at every corner shop. But I think that through the design, the interesting long articles, the lack of advertisements, this magazine has managed to find its place.
I like this magazine. I really do. It offers something that no other media seems to do. The information it provides is truly interesting and unique and the reading experience itself is a pleasure.
I very strongly recommend it.
In Brussels, you can buy Girls Like Us at the Bookshop of the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Avenue Van Volxem 354, 1190 Brussels.
Alternatively, you can subscribe to receive it straight at your door for only 28 euro per year through this website.