Category Archives: Girls Roar

We’re delighted to bring you Megan Cooke’s review of The Suffragettes film. Megan is 10 1/2 and watched the film with her mum, Jackie.

Megan Cooke
Megan Cooke

“This film has a lot of lows, but one big positive message. It is about a 24 year old lady called Maud who gets involved, unwillingly at first, into suffragettes, encouraged by a courageous strong lady named violet. And from there, well let’s just say it has many downs. It does have some violence and the bit my mum warned me about was the hunger strike scene. I didn’t watch it, but it sounded pretty horrid. Also my mum cried during the film a lot too. I would not advise children under the age of ten to watch it. However, I am very grateful that I did watch it. I think all girls should watch it at some point during their young lives, and be inspired and grateful to those amazing women who took their lives for us. Imagine if they hadn’t done that! If your child is mature and over 10 they should watch it. I would rather watch it than not. One of my favourite films”. 
Stars *****. 5 out of 5.


Lots of planning at Girl HQ

Greetings from Girl HQ!

We hope you’re having a lovely summer, we’ve been hard at work putting something brilliant together for day of the girl. This year we’re changing it up a bit and will be celebrating International Day of the Girl at the beautiful Guildhall (or as we like to call it, the Girldhall). Just look at how beautiful it is!


B32C6A Norwich Guildhall Norfolk 15th century Medieval English Gothic architecture East Anglia England UK flint stone city landscape


As well as a change of scenery, there’s also been a change behind the scenes. One of our co-founders Sarah has taken a short break while she welcomes a new baby to her family. Congratulations Sarah! As a result we are delighted to welcome Helen and Erica to the organising team. Both have been really involved with the project over the past few years so fit in perfectly – we are very pleased to have them!

This year we are continuing our exhibition of art and creative works from young people in the region and invite anybody who’d like to get involved to get in touch with us:

Our theme this year is: ‘Working Together to Create a Brighter Future’ and we’ll be hosting lots of fun activities for those of all ages.

This year there will discussions and creative workshops covering topics such as:

  • Pubishing
  • Zines
  • Politics
  • Norfolk Men Say No
  • Girls in Sport
  • The Suffragettes

We’re hoping to provide workshops that include practical activities such as rosette making (support votes for women!), zine making (have your say!), artwork (get creative!) and if all goes to plan, a ping pong table!

So, watch this space and be sure to follow us on facebook and on twitter as we announce more details in the run up to International Day of the Girl 2015.

Much love from all at Girl HQ!



Day of the Girl Norwich was a hive of activity around International Women’s Day but the highlight was the GirlsRoarLive open mic night which took place on Saturday 7th March. Held in conjunction with our friends at The Wharf Academy we were joined by a number of local female artists who shared with us a range of songs, poems and spoken word pieces.

On the night 5 acts performed their work which included a range of original work as well as cover songs and spoken word. The acts, which included Erica Horton, Regal Escapee (Anna Carter), Melissa Jesney, Mide Sotubo and Kayleigh Watson entertained the audience with performances covering a range of eras, genres and styles. The event was made possible with the support of The Wharf Academy, a female-led music school who provided a beautiful space in the former medieval church of St Martin at Oak and with the technical support of Matt Watson who kindly offered his services as a sound engineer on the night. All who attended and took part agreed that the performances were inspiring and that the event was a fitting way of marking International Women’s Day celebrating the musical creativity of local women.Erica 3
erica horton Erica Horton
Kayleigh Watson 2

Kayleigh Watson


Melissa Jesney 2 Melissa Jesney
Mide, Erica, Kayleigh and Regal Escapee

L-R Mide Sotubo, Erica Horton, Kayleigh Watson, Regal Escapee


Mide Sotubo


Regal Escapee 1 Regal Escapee 2Regal Escapee

‘It’s Not Just Make Believe’: Girlhood and Fantasy Fiction – Carolyn Rickards

We are delighted to bring you a guest blog from Carolyn Rickards who hosted a cafe conversation about Girlhood and Fantasy at  International Day of the Girl.


‘It’s Not Just Make Believe’: Girlhood and Fantasy Fiction


From recent blockbuster adaptations of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood through to the Harry Potter phenomenon, fantasy and fairy tale continue to dominate popular culture.  And children are often immersed in fantasy worlds from a very young age through books, films, television, online and other affiliated merchandise such as toys and games.  They grow up to recognise and understand the meanings and messages inherent within these texts.  Fantasy worlds can provide a unique arena in which to question or even challenge established norms and stereotypes.  However, fantastical stories can also promote more conservative and traditional ideals, particularly around issues of gender.  Given the continued popularity of the fantasy and fairy tale, we should perhaps attempt to address whether such fiction resonates with the interests and concerns of young girls today.

This post was inspired by a lively public discussion which took place as part of the International Day of the Girl Event in 2013.  The aim was to debate and answer some of these questions and we began by talking about the enormous appeal of the Disney Princesses.  Created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney in the late 1990s, the franchise features a line-up of fictional female heroines, including Snow White and Cinderella, who have all appeared in various Disney animated films.  In this period, Disney have also released dolls, costumes, jewellery, stationery and a variety of other products designed specifically to appeal to young female fans.  In a sing-along video starring all the princesses and aired on the Disney Channel in 2006, the cheery lyrics announced:


I look in the mirror and I’m not who I used to be at all

You got me glowin’!



I’m Cinderella at the ball

I’m Alice growing 10 feet tall

It’s not just make believe

Here comes the prince’s kiss

I’m positive the slipper fits

It’s not just make believe




This song captures perfectly the narrative arc of the typical Disney Princess who experiences dramatic transformation in the fairy tale story.  In the examples of Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel, each character goes through some personal change either in their bodily appearance or through the sudden presentation of expensive dresses and fine jewellery (thanks to a certain fairy godmother!).  And it is also clear that this process of transformation is initiated, or at the very least endorsed and supported, by a powerful and highly influential male figure – the prince.  In the lyrics to the song, the fantastical experiences of the Disney Princesses are transposed to the everyday.  The young girl listening or watching at home is encouraged to engage with their highly fictionalised adult lives; to grow up and become a princess themselves.  The message underpinning this song is that the magical stories presented in the fairy tale are really ‘not just make believe’ at all and should be embraced as a normal and expected transition from girlhood to womanhood.

So – one of the questions we discussed was whether the Disney Princesses presented positive or negative role models for young girls.  The opinion in the group was certainly mixed.  It was agreed that the fairy tale narrative would appear to be promoting a certain femininity based on good looks, pretty clothes and conforming to societal norms with an emphasis on the prince getting his newly transformed girl.  The Disney Princess could therefore be seen as problematic; a female figure who is defined by her appearance and countenance, and whose personal story is bound to the fate of the male character all the way through to the eventual proposal of marriage.  However, on the other hand, some people in the group made the extremely valid point that their own daughters, nieces or sisters loved the Disney Princesses from a young age and still grew up into confident, intelligent and independent women.  In this context, the princess character was more associated with the nostalgic past, constituting an ultimately benign figure from childhood.  Such complexities are considered by Bella Honess Roe who recently posted a similar discussion on this topic.  Yet, despite conflicting opinion in the group about the possible lasting effects, most people agreed that the Disney Princesses have the potential to influence young girls.  Disney constitutes a major, multi-million dollar international corporation with a massive global reach.  There were some concerns that if certain representations of gender are problematic, then the extensive marketing campaigns and distribution of merchandise merely acts to disperse such images to a wider audience of children.  In doing so, the princess archetype is provided repeated exposure as a prominent feminine figure across a vast multi-media landscape.  And as the fairy tale continues to dominate popular culture, with Disney’s new adaptation of Cinderella due for a big screen release in early 2015, this particular debate will no doubt continue.  We may then wish to reflect on the significance and impact of the fantasised princess on our own everyday lives…


carolyn 2