I found a thousand utopias last year, each one a reflection of the last. Bringing with them a copacetic vision of hope, delicious joy, irrefutable irony, contradictory celebrations and a fickle, floundering, fulcrum of fanciful language. I saw it all. Stagnant and in motion, I held these utopias up as looking glasses into a world that was staggeringly in opposition to the one I was living. It was here, muddled within this Russian doll of universes, did I realise how much resistance there is to be found in reading. Allowing ourselves to let go of escapist tendencies and to instead become actively open to the pages before us is a primary act of resistance. Here is a place of growth, progression, unlimited knowledge and freedom; all surviving in abundance. Here is where the wild and fierce become resolute. Here is where words favour the reader. It’s clear that the feelings reading invokes are powerful. For me, this level of resistance stems further than the printed page, seeping into our everyday being. The written language begins to shape our ethics, our values, our understanding of the world and how we interact with the people within it.
The power that print holds is truly insurmountable and, for me, is not only hugely inspiring but also acts as an anchor for publishers to galvanise how they resist issues and injustices the world around. Even as I write these words as a Queer, Muslim, woman of colour, my very politicised existence is seen as a brazen form of resistance. As someone on the cusp of beginning their career in the publishing world, I am especially aware of the heavily white-washed industry I am venturing into, and the types of resistance I and others like myself will have to overcome. It was no coincidence then that I came to volunteer as an Editor with a collective as unique as Mxogyny.
Deriving from humble, post-university beginnings as just an idea, Mxogyny has bloomed over the years into a print and digital publication that puts the power of words, creativity and disenfranchised voices at its forefront. Marginalised creatives are provided with a platform that allows them to speak on ‘discussions’, ‘poetry’, ‘self’, ‘arts’, ‘prose’, and ‘collabs’ all through the pertinent lens of inciting courageous conversations. This push back through print is one of many beautiful examples of the publishing industry empowering others through a means of resistance. This canon for activism emphasises how necessary it is for the human condition and minorities that exist within it. I and others want to be a positive creative force in the world, for ourselves and for those who come after us. Breaking down the invisible barriers that exist around us begins with the words we read and write and being wary of who is consuming them and the power that said words hold.
Volunteering with a publication like Mxogyny speaks to my soul on a personal level, as someone who seeks intersectionality and inclusivity in the workplace as the bare minimum. On a grander, more sobering scale, Mxogyny is reflective of only one small percentage of the creative industry doing the hard work needed to make sure voices, just like mine, are being truly heard for what they stand for, who they are and how they wish to be represented in the world.
@brownandanxious / @azkhokhar