Never apologise for being yourself.
For International Day of the Girl, we’ve teamed up with long-time partner, Plan International, and created four limited-edition sweatshirts designed to spark dialogue about gender equality. 20% of proceeds will go towards Plan International’s #Girls- GetEqual campaign, demanding power, freedom and representation for girls and young women globally.
Along with Plan International, Monki will share a series of tips from collaborating creators across social media channels, to guide the community on how to discuss the topic of gender equality.
The partnership aims to educate that gender equality is about acknowledging our differences, understanding our privileges, and working together to fast forward the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal 5 for gender equality.
Speak your mind, challenge gender stereotypes, break stigmas — and never apologise for being yourself.
"As a purpose-driven brand, Monki wants to empower women to empower the world. Together with our partner, Plan International, and our strong community, we are proud to continue the important dialogue of gender equality this International Day of the Girl - and every day,” says Jennie Dahlin-Hanson, Managing Director at Monki.
Disclaimer: when we use the word ‘women’ we are including everyone who identifies with that word.
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Meet the influencers.
We got the opportunity to chat with Nikita Uggla from Sweden, Tatjana Almuli from the Netherlands, Tori West from the UK, and Luciana Brücker from Germany about gender equality and how to find the courage to be yourself. Get to know them better and be empowered by checking out the full Q&A below!
Follow them on Instagram:
Nikita Uggla – @nikitauggla
Tatjana Almuli – @tatjanaalmuli
Tori West – @toriwest
Luciana Brücker – @staci.swan
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1. Tell us about yourself and what you do
Nikita: I am a 20-year-old girl from Skåne who loves to be creative. My life revolves around my family, friends and of course, my cats. I work as an actor, and I love it.
Tatjana: I’m from Amsterdam. I’m a published author — I write books and articles about all kinds of topics I want to create more awareness about. Such as grief and loss, female sexuality and equality on all levels of society. I’m a photographer as well. In all my work I try to tell and capture stories that deserve to be heard.
Tori: I’m mostly known as being the editor and creator of BRICKS Magazine! Growing up with severe social anxiety, working-class and low income, most of my work aims to make the publishing and fashion industry more accessible — and a much less toxic place to work in.
Luciana: I am 22 years old, and I study graphic design in Stuttgart, Germany. I have a passion for creating content, especially for Instagram. My main topics are intersectional feminism, activism, sexpositivity and spirituality.
2. What makes you unapologetically YOU? Create a list of words that describe you. Try and keep it short, but above 3. (i.e bubbly, kind, strong, gentle etc).
Nikita: I am who I am and have learned to love and acknowledge what makes me ME. Bubbly, funny, kind, good listener, corky, smart, strong.
Tatjana: Creative, emphatic, rebel.
Tori: I had to ask a friend, they told me; friendly, loyal, caring and resilient. I’ve spent years compromising myself for other people’s comfort, but I’ve started putting myself first. No one should ever walk into a room and not feel comfortable, safe or seen. If someone brings toxic energy to my safe space or community, I will politely ask them to drop it or leave.
Luciana: Honest, confident, open minded, kind, proud, caring.
3. What sweater did you choose, and why?
Nikita: I chose the “If we don’t speak up, who will?” sweater. I thought it was most fitting because I have always been that person who would never be quiet if I heard something that just didn’t sit right with me. I feel like speaking up is my way of expressing myself, and for a long time, I thought it was my weakness. But it isn’t — it’s my STRENGTH!
Tatjana: I chose the ‘My body isn’t political.’ sweater, because as a fat woman, I experience a lot of interference from others over my body. If you don’t meet the social norm, I think it’s extra difficult to accept yourself and to free yourself from all kinds of expectations, bias and opinions. But I believe everyone should be able to live as one wants, in total freedom — regardless of your appearance, gender, sexual preferences, socio-economic background. That’s why I believe this sweater best suited my mission in achieving equality.
Luciana: I’ve chosen the pink sweater with the imprint “We all deserve equality.“ because pink is my favourite colour and I truly believe in intersectional feminism. Equality only works if everyone is considered and included. Muslims, Jewish people, trans* persons, black BIPoC's, people with disabilities, poor people, sex workers, fat people, people of any age, especially those who represent more than one of the aforementioned. We must include them and make them visible; we must listen to them! Because without them, we will never achieve equality.
4. What are some tips you can share with our community in finding courage to be yourself?
Nikita: Finding courage to be yourself can be hard. But I believe that if you try and find stuff about yourself that you love and keep manifesting those things, I, at least, feel like that helps me. Start small and give it time. Self-love is not something you can rush, in my eyes.
Tatjana: Invest in time and space to get to know yourself. What makes you happy? What do you find important in life? What do you want to fight for? Surround yourself with people who make you feel alive. Detox your Instagram — unfollow those who make you insecure and question yourself. Dare to dream and connect actions to it. Go to therapy if you feel like you're carrying unprocessed s*** with you. Feed yourself with art, books, music, culture. Learn to take good care of yourself by exercising enough, being outside in nature, by having fun, allowing yourself enough free time, good food and less self-loathing.
Luciana: Open up to people you can trust, find people that share the same values as you do. Choose your own community, it will help you bring out the best in you and who you truly are. Make yourself aware of who you are, what are your capabilities are, your worth. People who lack self-confidence fear, in principle, two things — the fear of being rejected and the fear to fail. People need to realise that life is not about what other people think of you. The only thing that matters is that you should be the version of yourself that makes YOU happy. And it's natural to fail, everybody fails. The best thing about mistakes is that you learn and grow from it
5. How does owning who you are, and gender equality intersect?
Nikita: A strong mind and confidence makes it easier to stand up for what you believe in. When I feel strong and confident there is nothing stopping me in a discussion. Everything goes hand in hand. Owning who we are will make us stronger and we can make the world a more gender equal place where everyone as human beings can have the same rights.
Tatjana: I’m learning to take up more space as a woman and to stand up for my rights. I demand more money, because I know that men often still earn more than women. I demand sexual pleasure, because there is still an orgasm gap in heterosexual relationships. And I always try to keep on learning and stand up for people with less privilege than me.
Tori: As queer people, we often spend our time growing up masking and repressing our true selves for our safety or other people’s comfort. We then seem to spend a lot of our adulthood unlearning that. When you’re comfortable in your identity, you’re learning things about yourself that you may not have shown before. We are often asked as queer people the struggles and hardships of our identity or gender expressions, but there’s so much joy in being queer — we have the most fun! But we’re rarely asked about that. We’re so creative and caring people, we should be asked to show more of that.
Luciana: To take gender roles less seriously and realize that all gender roles are man-made, reflecting a construct of the patriarchal society.
6. On the topic of empowerment and gender equality, what are some great IG accounts to follow?
Nikita: I follow @feminist and it is my favourite on IG right now.
Tatjana: @fatmagenctrouwee @lovaeij @deengroothuizen @de_sekswijzer @naomipieter @florencegiven @jeanettechedda
Tori: Char Ellese, Jamie Windust and Kenny Ethan Jones are some of my favourite people ever and I feel so blessed to know them. Also, Charlie Craggs and Munroe Bergdorf are powerhouses and deserve the entire world
Luciana: @timurs.time and @minaandherchaos (activists focusing on fat shaming). They speak alot about structural discrimination against obese people, how it feels to live in a fatphobic world, not being taken seriously by the doctor, clothing stores that don’t offer large to extra-large sizes, non-inclusive public seats, and so on.
@waystomore & @sorah.beh (black activists). They talk about everyday racism, how they get threatened as black women, how a racist society affects them and their families lives.
@luisalaudance & @raulkrauthausen (disabled activists). They talk about how ableism, which is deeply rooted in society, affects their lives. They also talk about how ableist our language is and how “normal” it is for non-disabled people to use ableist language.
@jona_thanuki & @happyneass (trans* & nonbinary activists). They talk about queerphobia and how life is as a nonbinary and/or trans person. They also talk about (neo)pronouns for example and how it feels being queer in a cis & heteronormative society.
7. Are there any books or podcasts you can recommend that have taught you a lot on gender equality?
What a time to be alone - Chidera Eggerue
Women don’t owe you pretty - Florence Given
Feminist Fataal - Dorien van Linge
Krabben - Daan Borrel en Milou Deelen
Tori: Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis
Luciana: “Weltbilder” written by Sira Busch, a nonbinary and trans activist. They talk a lot about autism, being trans, and intersectional feminism. In their book they talk about many topics around intersectional perspectives. Big recommendation.
8. When we refer to intersectionality within the context of gender equality, we are talking about how our overall differences impact what’s important to us and our needs for change. What’s one area within gender equality that’s extra important to you?
Nikita: I mean, all I want is to live in a world where I am just as respected as anyone else in the room. And honestly, I can’t choose just one area. Everyone should have the same rights and be treated with respect.
Tatjana: There is no single area, because everything relates to each other. It's about power, about systems that sustain each other. If I must name one topic, femicide is something that still gets too little attention. Thousands of women are killed every year worldwide just because they're women. I have also experienced violence up close in my childhood and it destroys so much. I hope that more policies will be made for this, and that we’ll collectively declare that (sexual) violence is never acceptable.
Tori: I’ve always found that people take me less seriously in positions of power as a queer woman in the publishing industry. It’s been something that I’ve found insanely difficult since starting my own magazine. I’ve seen cis men in my position do the exact same thing as I do (most of the time, afterwards) and absolutely thrive, whereas I’ve always had to fight twice as hard for credibility in my role. I get the smaller budgets. It’s important that we have more representation in the publishing industry behind the scenes, while only 16% of the industry is made up of working-class voices and, in a space that’s made me feel so uncomfortable, it’s important to me to keep giving opportunities to other people like me.
Luciana: There’s nothing “extra important” — like I’ve already mentioned, equality only works if EVERYBODY is considered and included. Not only thin, non-disabled, attractive white women with an academic degree. Feminism is so much more than equality between "men" & "women" — we often forget that discrimination and oppression has much deeper roots. We need to make those groups who are frequently discriminated in this society, visible — listen to them, let them speak, give them a platform! This is the only way we can restore normality and, in turn, equality
How to stay safe online & own your digital space.
In order to live your best life online, you need to understand the importance of digital security.
Together with Plan International we’ve put together some tips and tools on how to create an online space that leaves you feeling empowered.
Some of the tips may seem “basic”, but they play an essential part to strengthening your digital secruity.
Passwords are out. Passphrases are IN.
Rather than creating an ordinary password, try a passphrase. A passphrase is a kind of password that is made up of a group of words, which when put together, makes sense to their creator and lets them sign into accounts. Consider something simple and make it detailed to you.
(which means: “I like my friends and family!”).
You get the picture.
Set up a Two-Factor Authenticator
If you want more security for your most important accounts, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Most of the popular websites (like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram) offer 2FA as a more secure way to log in to your accounts.
Understand your privacy settings
Go through your privacy settings on your social media apps and sites, and limit permissions (i.e. location, microphone, contacts) and who sees your stuff. This way you have more control over who sees the content you post online.
Block and report unwanted followers and/or content
Control who follows you and who you follow. Block any accounts that seem suspicious or use their platform for bullying. The same applies for content in your social feeds.
Look out for each other online!
If you see any form of bullying happening, remember to report the account and check in on your digital friends.