The Vagenda

We Need A Lie Down

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Greetings, ladybros. You’re probably wondering why, after a languid trickle of several new posts a month you have now been suddenly inundated with shitloads of new articles. Well, the truth is: we’ve been getting our house in order. No, we’re not dying, but we are going for quite a long sleep. To put it another way: this blog is going on a summer hiatus.

We know. We’re sorry. But the truth is, it’s a lot of work. It’s a full time job, actually, and one that we’re not actually paid for. And that is part of the problem – the amount of time this blog needs is not time that either of the two of us can afford. The emails (of which we get, literally, hundreds) alone would take up an unmanageable portion of our respective weeks if we even attempted to answer every single one (we’re REALLY sorry if we never answered your email).

Since the two of us co-founded the Vagenda with a bunch of our university friends three years ago, it has become bigger than we could have ever imagined. Having gone viral within the first 24 hours, it’s garnered over 20 million hits (probably lots more by now, but we stopped counting at 20 million because analytics was another thing that was taking up loads of our time and we just don’t look at it anymore), been featured in every major national newspaper, appeared on radio and television, and made international headlines (most recently because of our Protein World and #distractinglysexy campaigns). It’s changed our lives more than we could ever have imagined.

When we started this blog, we were impoverished graduates who had been living in shitty Kentish Town garret with peeling wallpaper and windows that didn’t close. We shared a bathroom with the pub landlord. A slight upgrade to Rhiannon’s airing cupboard by Holly didn’t really improve matters. Our prospects were pretty shit and the writing careers we had always dreamed seemed entirely closed off to us.

Since the Vagenda took off in the way it did, we have been lucky enough to be given opportunities we otherwise wouldn’t have had. We’ve written columns for newspapers and were given a book deal from Random House. Despite disapproving reviews by such figures as Germaine Greer, it’s sold well and has achieved what it set out to do, which was to make our readers furious about sexism in the media while also making them laugh (or “wet themselves on a sun lounger”, as one reader put it this week – apologies to the hotelkeepers).

But the Vagenda was never just about us. When we started the blog up until after we got the book deal we were both writing the majority of the Vagenda’s content for the website. But it wasn’t long before the enthusiastic emails started coming and we started featuring the work of other writers. Since then, the Vagenda has since transformed into a different thing entirely: a community. A community of furious, funny, dicked-off women who have found a place where they can rant, rage and reference vaginas to their heart’s content. We have been completely taken aback by the sheer talent that has been on display from those who have contributed to the website – we’ve covered everything from rape to domestic abuse, from racism to miscarriage, from the tampon tax to Taylor Swift, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to our contributors, this website has told stories that the mainstream media so often isn’t interested in: women’s stories.

We probably haven’t said it enough – seriously, those emails – but we are enormously proud of everyone who has contributed to the Vagenda. Some of you, since being published here, have gone on to have book deals or careers in writing. Each time this happens we want to punch the air because each time one of you makes it into the stale, grey world of media, you make it funnier, more passionate, more interesting, and a hell of a lot ruder. Though since the launch of the Vagenda we have seen the world of media change and the fight for equality take off in incredible ways (who could have imagined that Beyoncé moment, back in 2012? Or Malala? Or the sheer momentum of the vocal fight against rape victim blaming?) it should be blatantly clear to anyone with tits – and without – that the media still needs feminism more than ever.

Since 2012, women’s magazines, always the biggest source of our ire, have come on leaps and bounds (though many of them are still shit). We’ve seen new, female-focused digital efforts launched (though many of them are, likewise, shit). This shows that media owners are now taking female audiences more seriously – and not just because they think they can flog us handbags – but because the women of the internet have shown that there is room for unapologetic, sweary, intelligent funny writing for female audiences.

The question is, where do we go from here? The Vagenda has achieved a lot, and could still have more to achieve, but the question is, how? This website is not monetised. We have never accepted offers of advertising because we felt it would compromise our message. We did a Kickstarter and raised £2000, which helped (THANK YOU!!), but ultimately, like so much feminist labour, you’re in it for love, not for money. We never wanted to be one of those viral news aggregators spewing out recycled content for advertising clicks (and even if we did, we wouldn’t have the resources – there are two of us). We may have defended Beyoncé’s feminism, but we’ve never really been in it for the clickbait market. The internet’s thirst for opinion seems endless, but as time has gone on we’ve become less interested in the concept of the “news hook” because it’s never really been what our readers wanted.

As Amanda Hess so eloquently put it in her article about why she stopped “Ladyblogging”:

“The ladyblogger beat is propelled by opinions and opinions on opinions. That makes a ladyblog an interesting place for a writer to hone her rhetorical tools. But once they get sharp enough, she may begin to fantasize about impaling herself with them. Modern sexism often manifests itself in the form of innumerable little slights. Documenting them all is a monotonous task, and parrying each with an original insight or a cutting retort is an impossible one. On my best days, the dynamic challenged me to find inventive ways to illuminate old problems. On my worst, I felt like I was playing a game of feminist Mad Libs: The sexist quote and offending speaker may change, but the patriarchy remains the same. At some point, the pieces start threatening to write themselves.”

We hope that we have managed to avoid this fate. We’ve always sought to publish well-written, funny articles about the real world inequalities facing women every day, and to give a platform to your stories. We have, we hope, achieved that without becoming some kind of tedious, algorithmed feminist opinion regurgitator.

Still, as the blog has grown in popularity, our roles have changed. We have gone from being mostly writers for it to being editors for it, and when you’re trying to juggle that with making rent, things become quite tough. Journalism is not in a great state at the moment, and though we’re thankful when we are paid for our writing, neither of us are really sure what our next moves are.

And we are tired. We are ever so, ever so tired, and in order to prevent the burnout that afflicts so many feminist writers and to quote our mothers: we need a lie down.

The landscape of the internet, and indeed the world, is different to what it was when we started in 2012. Which is why, while we are sleeping, we need your help. We need you to tell us where the Vagenda should be headed. Do we stay the same, adapt, or die? If you have any ideas at all, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll be back at some point to have a chat about it, promise.

Until then, so long, and thanks for all the fish(bowls). We couldn’t ask for better readers.

Rhiannon and Holly xx


37 thoughts on “We Need A Lie Down

  1. Never change! Thank you for creating a website that I can relate to more than any other. Sending so much love xxxxxxxxx

  2. For what it’s worth, I’d be well up for donating to another Kickstarter, and I bet you’d make a lot more than £2000 these days…

    Also, I’ve massively enjoyed this bumper crop of articles and don’t mind waiting. I have no idea if it’d be viable or if it’d actually make life any easier, but I’d be ok with waiting a few months and then getting a few articles all at once in future, maybe..?

    Whatever you decide though, thank you and good luck in all your future endeavours. You’ve been magnificent.

  3. Maybe start a profile on patreon, where people can pay for a monthly membership to you if they’d like to? If it would raise enough you could do this full time while being paid for it.

    • I’d pay.
      You have created a site that offers something I can’t find anywhere else. So I’m selfishly hoping that you continue this work in some form.
      I’m also thinking, surely surely you can make a living writing and compiling what this many people want to read
      All the best, and thank you

    • I would 100% pay.
      Ever since a uni friend shared your ‘spice girls’ article on fb a few years back, I have been hooked! I can relate so well to these ever so funny, well written articles and I too am selfishly hoping you carry this on in some way!
      Regardless of the Vagenda’s future, thank you SO much for the best online blog I’ve come across. Enjoy the downtime, you ladies have earnt it!

  4. I love the fact this is the kind of blog I can dip into. I can spend days on it or minutes but it’s not an endless ream of material that becomes self referential.

    There are other blogs that if I wanted to read all the content I would never read anything else and so I create an arbitrary cut off point to stop myself going to far down the stream. Never have I felt the need to do that here. I think the format, quality not quantity, is great. Possibly unique? Definitely worth my time.

    I would happily contribute to another Kickstarter should you do it again. But you could always have a donation link at the bottom of each page. It doesn’t have to be preachy or begging. More like busking. Like the content? Want to contribute to it’s upkeep and continued existence? Donate here! Don’t want to or don’t have the money? No problem, enjoy the work anyway.

    Hope you ladies enjoy your rest, you’ve earned it. Thank you for so much food for thought and fantastic laugh out loud moments.


  5. Enjoy your well deserved rest. I am moving to London in September, I would be more than happy to volunteer my time to help behind the scenes in some way.

  6. Love time listener, first time caller. You have both done an excellent job. Rest and look forward to your new exciting life choices. Well done on this achievement.

  7. Whatever you decide, please leave the site up so everyone can read the brilliance of these articles. The world will be poorer without them

  8. Also happy to donate time/volunteer to help with anything behind the scenes. I think the people before me have a valid point – allow us to pay you back for the gift you provide us with!

  9. This might not go down well at all but could you feature adverts for decent, feminist approved stuff? For example moon cups, other blogs, or female/human being -friendly porn.
    I’d much rather have things advertised at me that I might be interested in, especially if it meant this website continued to run. Your articles always bring some new food for thought, and have inspired me to take to the keyboard myself and attempt to spew out some “unapologetic, sweary, intelligent funny writing” of my own. I really hope you manage to keep it up.

    • I´d be up for that. I´d pay, too, but a reasonable amount of advertising would be OK, particularly if it´s for decent stuff. I´d even like the idea that if I click on an add, I´d find something interesting on the other side.

  10. I only found the Vagenda last night but I was hooked, reading articles until early this morning. You’ve me even more infuriated about sexism and helped me re-establish my feminist views in life. Thank you and please come back!! xx

  11. As a guy your website helped drag me away from all of my unfortunate socially ingrained ideas about feminism (and made me laugh).

    It is one of the few websites I excitedly check everyday.

    Thank you. I will be along for the ride whatever you do =)

  12. Don’t let it die! I actually think the Vagenda has adapted and progressed a lot already. There used to be a lot more posts ripping (figuratively and probably also literally) into women’s magazines, and while these were, and still are, hilarious, I love the more serious recent posts.

    The website covers such a wide range of topics such as literature, fashion, art, current affairs, technology, education and health, and voices thoughts that we all have but have never written down. This has made it even stronger and it challenges people’s ways of thinking more than ever, which I’m sure was always your aim.

    I hope you both wake up feeling refreshed :) maybe have a think about what would help YOU to help the Vagenda, whether that is financial help, or a few volunteers to help deal with the workload. Judging from the comments on here already, I’m sure you’ll be able to find people to help out :)

    Much love xxxx

  13. Thank you Vagenda for all the years of nearly getting me fired from my job for inappropriate internet use.

    I would hate to see you change too much, there is nothing else so accessible, so readable, so mutually hard hitting and also pant wetting funny anywhere else.

    Please don’t be gone too long, but enjoy your break, we’ll all be here when you come back.

  14. From a 48 year old feminist in the United States who has always found you inspiring and provoking – thank you for your work. May the road rise up to meet you and may you continue to kick ass and take names.

  15. I just want to say thank you.

    For me, it started with Emer’s hair piece and since then this wonderful site has done so, so much for me as a woman and a person.

    So thank you, you’re brilliant and I wish you all the luck in the world with whatever comes next.

  16. Thank you Vagenda! I have read every article (minus the most recent surge) and your book. You have provided many hours of reading pleasure and rage, in equal measures. I want to echo what others have said; there is no other feminist blog like this. No adverts, no information overload, and something that I have really valued – the BRITISHNESS of it all! Of course the stories from around the world bring variety and colour to the mix, but I have really appreciated your focus on the experiences of British women today. I really can’t find this anywhere else online.

    I’ll stop gushing now, but yes enjoy the break. I would definitely pay for a monthly subscription or something to keep you guys going :)

  17. I’ve only just found you guys, and I really hope you come back. I freelance write as well, or that was the intention, but I’ve gradually slipped into doing other stuff as well that pays, so I get where you’re coming from. I hope you find a way to make this less stressful again. :)

  18. Hope this content can continue somehow, I just read the article about flags at Glastonbury and was shocked. The Vagenda has been a recent and joyous find for me. I really appreciate the clean space around such thought provoking writing, instead of crap adds. However I also get the financial dilemma and would be happy to subscribe. But in the meantime here is my small but achievable plan. I am going to buy the Vagenda book, twice. One for me and one to give to a friend or as a present. Then when I’ve finished mine I’m donating it to my local library for someone else to discover.
    Rest up Writers, hope you come back nourished. X

  19. As one of your token blerk readers(?) I find Vagenda very very funny. It keeps my attention and I look forward to it hitting the digital newsstand (you know, the side bar thing on my blog page) and will miss it. Woman’s Hour with Bollocks – WWB – is how I see it. Keep on keeping on. John

  20. From Sydney, Australia – I just want to say thanks to the amazing writers at Vagenda. Not only have you been a fucking awesome, informative, and funny (yet serious) source of feminist discourse, you’ve also taught me more words (lugubrious? klaxon? beatific?) in the time I’ve been reading you than the rest of the internet combined.

    I’ve been reading you from the front page backwards – up to page 45 now and counting – enjoy the well-deserved lie down, and hope to see you again soon. :)

  21. I stumbled upon this website last year sometime, and I probably binge read about twenty articles in one sitting. I’ve returned faithfully every few days to see if there’s a new article online, and I’ve never been disappointed by anything written on this website.

    As a teenaged girl going through all the trials and tribulations of growing up, thank you so much to Vagenda and everyone who has ever contributed to it.

    You’ve given me an environment where I can learn about other people’s points of view, see feminism developing across the world, be truly happy with the state of my vagina and so much more.

    I can’t wait to see what you two do next. Whatever it may be, I’m sure it’ll be sensational. xxx

  22. Hope you decide to come back.
    I guess it’s time as well as money, but I’d pay a sub or contibute to crowdfunding, and would accept through gritted teeth advertising for decent products – “who made your pants” and the like, but please no clickbait.

  23. I discovered this a couple of weeks ago after picking up the book in my local Waterstones and LOVING it. I’ve just spent the aforementioned couple of weeks reading every single article on here and am so sad to hear that you are taking a hiatus. Even though I totally understand you needing to.

    Anyway. I really hope you come back.

  24. I would definitely pay a monthly or annual subscription.

    You have created something brilliantly original and vital.

    I’m currently not based in the UK but would be willing to volunteer behind the scenes somehow if needed.

    Thank you for all the time, energy & love you have put into the Vagenda.

    Enjoy your well-deserved break and keep us posted :)

  25. This website means more to me than any other at the present. It gives a very down to earth and incredibly diverse representation of feminist issues. With each article I read, the more I continue to develop my ever-imperfect beliefs and the more able I am to articulate and embody them in my day-to-day life. I feel totally humbled by the extent of the problems that gender inequality create and realise how ignorant I still am, but with resources like this (and, in fact, especially this!) I can keep on learning and carry this journey on – even if this does, as I suspect it will, take the rest of my life (some sort of pledge from you guys to carry on FOREVER would be just great…).

    I would 100% pay for a monthly subscription, even it was only added as a voluntary option.

  26. Thanks Rhiannon and Holly for a blog that has given me so much pleasure over the years! Its the most relevant, funny, thought provoking and insightful collection of articles on the Internet and often it’s like seeing in typed form what is churning around my brain on a daily basis. I hope that you decide to continue with the Vagenda and I agree with others above that I would be willing to pay a subscription or make a donation for it to continue. Enjoy the siesta xx

  27. I love that the Vagenda has evolved into a feminist collective, welcoming students, married women, gay and bisexual people, mothers and fathers, childless people, older people, ANYONE and literally giving them a voice to try out their opinions and thoughts about the world. This shouldn’t change! We need more sisterhood and discussion, more genuine debate and reaching across divides, and the Vagenda is doing this!

  28. Thank you lovely ladies for your hard hard work over the years. I only found you 6 months ago but am an avid reader and love the sight of a new thumbnail popping up on the home page. I’ve stifled many a belly laugh in the office, but failed to stifle so many more. You and your writers really speak to me.

    I would also be very happy paying a monthly subscription, however I don’t think this should be mandatory to access the articles as you get fewer new readers. An optional subscription to start with and see how many of us go for it?

    Perhaps Vagenda should not just be contained to a zine, but branch out into other fields. More and more there are events that specifically aim to celebrate women, might it be worth building ties and having a presence in the physical world? I’ll keep thinking on this and hopefully come back to you with links!

  29. In an online world where the thoughts and words of bright women are stifled by a disposition towards silience your magazine is shining a beacon for change. Please don’t stop our purses are open and at the ready.

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