At first glance, Girlcore may seem like nothing more than a bunch of Lindsay Lohan-wannabees partying it up in London and Paris. And that is part of the story. But they're also a female collective, dedicated to promoting talented women.
Girlcore is known for their raucous parties, which often have themes (the upcoming party in Paris will be themed "Baroque" and include costumes, macaroons, and powdered hair). A brief look through the official Flickr gallery reveals an admirable dedication to balloons, Polaroids, drag shows, and streamers. "When you think of Girlcore, you probably think of vaginas and glitter," reads their blog. But under the fun, hard-partying exterior, there is a project that can best be termed feminist.
Girlcore got their start when some early twenty-something ladies didn't want to go to bed after a night of drinking. Parisian founder Lolo Chambovet recalls sitting in the back of a car with several of her friends:
Five or six of us girls didn't want to go to sleep yet, but there was no music. One of us had a car so we went and listened to music in it and shouted "car-core, car-core, car-core!" It was really funny. Then some weird guys who were a bit fucked came along, but we just wanted to be on our own and not be hassled or anything. So we said "It's girlcore, okay? Girlcore!"
And thus, the name was born. They began throwing house parties, which soon turned into all-girl club nights. Later they begun letting guys in - but only as long as they adhered to Dragcore rules. Girlcore began creating hyper-feminine places to dance and party to counteract the overbearing machismo atmosphere of many clubs and parties.
If you think that the founding principles of Girlcore sound a little too girl power!, you're not alone. There is an element of Spice Girls-esque fluff feminism in their celebration of all things girly and glittery. Even the uninhibited exuberance seems almost immature when compared alongside the complicated and often difficult dialogues that surround modern feminism. Yet the members of Girlcore are doing something equally interesting - if not equally serious. They set out to promote female talent - including lady artists, musicians, and even DJs - not only at their parties and club nights, but also through their magazine and blog. Their online magazine describes their work thusly:
In our quest to promote female talent in the visual arts we are launching an online gallery to uncover raw new artists, film makers and photographers. With each issue we will also be collaborating with all-female bands and musicians to showcase their visual arts.
In an interview with Dazed Digital Girlcore founders elaborate: "It's not a man-hating thing, it's a girl-loving thing."
And this is what I find most exciting about Girlcore. Despite my dedication to the cause, occasionally what I like to call "feminist fatigue" sets in. There are moments where fighting the good fight is downright exhausting. But collectives and projects like Girlcore serve to remind us that even giddy girl power has its value and place. There is nothing man-hating or militant about it; they're simply excited to promote women. An early blog post from 2007 explains:
I am not saying that girls are better at art than boys, and I know it shouldn't be a question of gender but about the piece of work itself. However it makes sense because the piece of work is an extension of the artist – therefore I'm a girl so I can identify and relate more to what females have to express through their art. And that's also probably why we are always eager to find out more about the person creating rather than just appreciate the work.
While I don't always agree that women's art speaks more directly to women (this statement runs dangerously close to the type of thinking that has pigeonholed female artists into the limited sphere of "women's work") Girlcore's excitement and girl-loving is kinda contagious. And as another all-female collective once famously demonstrated, we could always use more outlets for female artists.
Image via Girlcore's Myspace