Wonderful websites that changed my reading habits forever

When I gave up reading women’s glossy magazines in my 20s, it was partly because I found very little of interest to read in them any more, and it was partly because I was erroneously beginning to think that so-called “women’s things” were unimportant (thanks for that patriarchy!). I thought that reading about superficial stuff like clothes and skincare was “too low brow” and I should instead be reading about current affairs or at least broadening my interests. Nowadays, I’ve embraced my love of traditionally feminine things but I also seek out a more in-depth view of them, plus more variety in my reading matter.

Although glossies like Elle and British Vogue have upped their game and you can now read about a broader variety of topics in their pages, there was something that happened in the years in between which changed my perspective. I started jotting down notes for this blog post last Sunday, intending it to be a joyous ode to the wonderful women whose online content lifts me up. However, with this week’s news of The Pool going into administration, the tone of this post has somewhat changed and I’m now writing with a heavy heart. There were and are many websites with great writing aimed at women, but these are the main publications I need to thank for changing my world:

The F-Word – This feminist website was my first discovery after realising that I’d lost my love of magazines. After reading many inspiring articles on a variety of topics, I was determined to write my own and had a number of pieces published between 2003 and 2006, under the editorship of founder Catherine Redfern. The F-Word is still going strong, with a fresh team of young feminist writers and editors carrying the torch for a new generation.

BitchBuzz – After finding this women’s lifestyle website, founded and edited by Cate Sevilla, I quickly became obsessed with it. Varied, intelligent and original, BitchBuzz gave women interesting content without assuming to know what’s best for them. Although it was an honest magazine, despite the site’s name, its writers were never bitchy. I was lucky enough to be part of the core team at for BitchBuzz between 2009 and 2012, writing a weekly sex & relationships column, plus additional stories when required for the culture, life, style and news sections. Sadly, BitchBuzz closed in 2013.

Stylist – This free magazine was first published in 2009 and, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with it in the beginning. However, the publication went from strength to strength, raising the profiles of a great many remarkable women and embracing diversity in their fashion shoots. You can pick up a copy of Stylist free every Wednesday in cities across the UK (London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Birmingham), check them out online, or sign up to their Emerald Street emails for a dose of Stylist in your inbox every weekday.

The Pool – Founded in 2015 by Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne, I have adored the writing at The Pool since the very beginning. Their daily emails have brought news, analysis and opinion to my commute, and their video content is always spot on (and I’m not just saying that because I had the pleasure of making a video with them!). I was very sad to hear the news that the site is closing, and I sincerely hope this talented team find themselves in demand. While you still can, I thoroughly recommend exploring all their best bits online.

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