Deeper Than Skin: Fine Women Friday
"We really appreciate the women who have taken the step to affirm themselves and we hope that it continues to be a space women feel comfortable sharing." - Brittany B.
Unless you've been living under a rock, the #FineWomenFriday hashtag has been taking Twitter by storm each & every Friday for close to a year now. Even the legendary & iconic Chaka Khan has been on board with this woman positive movement. I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the women behind this phenomenon, and gained more insight into the "why" of Fine Women Friday.
Adriene is a twenty-something-year-old dynamo whose life motivation is to lead with love. She's an old soul, and brings the wisdom elders to the mix.
Brittany B. is a director at a non-profit organization. Her motivation is to further support women and push along Adriene's vision of women self-empowerment and love.
Krys is a communications consultant, and her motivation is to not only further support the Fine Women Friday movement, but also change the way we look at beauty today. She believes women need a safe space to be free and feel fine
OPUS - So my first question to you ladies is what is #FineWomenFriday and how did it start?
Britt - Adri was having a bad day, and tweeted me saying she wanted to see beautiful women to uplift her spirits; typical her but I will let her speak for herself. Women started sending in pictures with the tag and we had such a great time that we wanted to do it week to week. Adri really committed to it; seeing her commitment and love of all women really started something powerful. It is rare to see spaces that are created by women to celebrate women. Often times women are viewed from the male gaze, "ladies send a selfie," but that's not what we were doing.
Adri - Fine Women Friday is a safe space assisting women to maximize selfie self-love. We all love a good selfie, especially me, and I started thinking, why can't women have a day to celebrate their selves? Learning to step out of their comfort zones and taking those training wheels off to positivity.
Krys - ISSA movement, it really is! I can't speak for Adri or Brittany as to what motivated them to start the tag but we're all about creating a safe space for self(ie) empowerment and love. It's a space for women to celebrate their fine. And if you aren't celebrating you'll be blocked. [laughter]
OPUS - So did you create the name "Fine Women Friday"?
Britt - Yup! Adri just randomly said #FineWomenFriday? I said, "bet," and the floodgates just opened.
OPUS - You mentioned the "male gaze" but the hashtag has a lot of male followers including myself, how do you guys differentiate from genuine male followers and typical ones?
Britt - Personally, it doesn't matter to me what their intention are as long as they aren't being rude to the women who are participating. Quite a few seem to understand that it isn't about them and just watch, and like or RT or offer a compliment. I'm sure action is happening via DM but thirst follows happen all the time. The only time typical ones become a problem is when they say who can and can't participate. That's when we have to say something!
Krys - I agree and can testify to the thirst in DMs. Also, other women are quick to collect people that get disrespectful. Overall, I would say most men keep it respectful, even in the DMs. And they recognize that this is our (as in women) space.
OPUS - What are some of the roadblocks you ladies have experienced with Fine Women Friday?
Krys - The most obvious is probably the trolls and people that bring negativity to the tag or use the trending topic to promote something; mostly mixtapes. Then there's the stigma that taking a selfie and posting it is a cry for attention so you have to make the space safe and inclusive enough that women feel free to participate. Honestly, my biggest roadblock when I first posted was - I didn't think I'm fine/pretty/popular enough to participate. And I know other women feel the same so we really make an effort to engage with every woman who uses the tag or the @. And sometimes we miss women, and that really sucks.
Britt - Same as Krys; mainly dealing with the trolls. It’s especially frustrating when someone participates and then speaks ill of others who are.
Adri - The biggest roadblock is on the growth side of the movement. What will be the next big pop for Fine Women Friday? That creative roadblock does happen. We try to keep up with the current events in the world, as well as current events happening within local communities. Anytime anyone donates or buys merchandise from us the money is recycled back into the brand/community.
We've been able to do some really sweet things. We assisted a woman with her college tuition; we've helped young women with prom. Being in D.C. we've been able to open it up with some teachers who allowed me to head into the school and do some cool activities. Brittany knows this first hand. A lot of students DON’T eat lunch or lunch is their only meal --- The funds folks donate have fed many of high school students over the course of the 2017 school year.
OPUS - Tell us how the legendary Chaka Khan got involved with the movement?
Adri - Chaka Khan supported us randomly; on a day we didn't want to even run with the #FineWomenFriday tag, she participated in the hashtag! It was great; I ended up chatting with her further, thanking her for her support and she was very sweet in the exchange! Which led to her shouting myself, Brittany, and Krys out on IG, Facebook, and Twitter.
Check out our Fall '17 - Takeover Issue for this full article.