Clitbait is an online intersectional sisterhood. We founded it based on our desire to empower and embolden those who have been traditionally marginalised by wider society.
Feminism, in our view, is all about space. It is about creating the opportunity for marginalised groups to take up space in a world where they are so often spoken over. However, accompanying this should be an awareness of privilege. Individuals need to learn when to step back to allow others to take up space.
We had wanted to start an intersectional Feminist blog for a while. The more we thought about it we knew it could only be intersectional if it was a platform for all womxn, trans and non-binary people.
The more voices heard and experiences shared, the better.
We believe it is vital, particularly for young womxn to engage in conversations (both online and offline) regarding their concerns and trials; hence creating a community through collective vulnerability and solidarity.
From body hair to harassment, from vaginas to virginity, from gender identity to racist microagressions. If only we, as the founders, were sharing our personal stories and feminist reflections then it would not be as relatable or empowering to our audience.
Therefore, providing an inclusive platform is central to our cause at Clitbait.
The trans community and womxn of colour in particular are often excluded from Feminist narratives and that is not acceptable. Only by including contributions from a diverse range of people for our site can we stay true to its claim of intersectionality.
A vital part of the process of sisterly empowerment has been encouraging the active discussion surrounding the sexuality of womxn and reclaiming the associated language by taking it out of a taboo context.
This is a particularly prevalent theme in our Dear Past Me and Bodies sections, and it also explains the ‘Clit’ in ‘Clitbait’.
We have tried to create a space where womxn’s bodies can be de-stigmatised and explored through the lens of the female gaze rather than the traditionally sexual male one.
So many people with vaginas are embarrassed about talking about them. This impacts on their relationship with their own sexual pleasure which we think is a disaster. And even more seriously, it can negatively impact on their health.
A study from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has shown that in a survey of 2,005 young womxn, 81% said they either delayed or didn’t go to their cervical screenings due to sheer embarrassment of their own bodies. The stigma needs to be removed.
We also feel that the celebration and representation of diverse bodies is particularly important for trans and intersex people within the feminist community.
Trans bodies in particular tend to be excessively sexualised and objectified or intrusively questioned. They are so rarely just allowed to be. It is important to address and interrogate these taboos, hopefully with the result that everybody feels accepted and normal.
We have, of course, faced active criticism for our site, the most aggressive of which was a hacker who attempted to shut Clitbait down a few times.
For a couple of weeks it felt like we were playing some twisted version of the cat and mouse game.
We felt the hacker’s presence even offline. It was hard to occupy physical space when we felt like we were being stalked online; the hacker would often strike when one of us would upload something to the site.
They once even replaced all of our content with the transcripts of the commentary from Canadian ice hockey matches. Assuming our hacker is a cis-man, it was such an aggressive and stereotypical assertion of traditional masculinity: SPORTS.
However, when we posted about our issues with the hacker on our Instagram, the wave of support and encouragement we received from our audience gave us an unparalleled feeling of empowerment.
It felt that our site was more than just us two, and that maybe we had truly succeeded in creating a community that was willing to protect and fight for the survival of this platform. In that way, Clitbait has also shown us the effects of sisterhood and its incredible healing ability.
In light of this, we are looking to expand Clitbait in the very near future by adding various editors to the team who will be both sourcing and creating thematic content each month.
Not only will this mean more regular content on the site but will also hopefully lead to an increase in the variety of voices and opinions we can share.
We are also planning on hosting events offline such as supper clubs, poetry readings and a particularly special event in January, follow us on social media to stay in the loop.
Additionally we will be selling Clitbait merchandise such as t-shirts and tote bags to raise money for feminist charities and to invest back into the site.
All in all, founding Clitbait has been thoroughly enlightening as well as liberating. It has provided us with a sisterhood that has nurtured us, and we can only hope that it has done and will continue to do the same for others.
Image: Laila Ghaffar and Lilah Hyman