​​​​​​​​​WOJO Magazine    Issue #1

Welcome to WOJO.

For over 20 years I've wanted to create a magazine for women like me; women who feel that the majority of women's magazines on offer don't reflect them or their interests;  that they don't recognise themselves or their friends in the glossy pages of celebrity profiles, high end fashion modelled by beautiful but unrepresentative women, and interviews with the famous and the wealthy .  

Women, like me, who enjoy the visually luscious styling of many women's magazines but are left feeling somehow empty and unengaged by a lack of content and diversity.

Last year, sitting at the kitchen table with a group of female friends, I realised that I wanted a magazine to celebrate and extend the sort of conversations that we were having, to ask the questions that were being raised by us and thousands of other women across the country and beyond who are passionate about their work, families and communities and who juggle commitments and interests (not always expertly or without accident).  Sometimes the conversations are hilarious, drunken, outrageous;  sometimes compassionate and profound.  Always meaningful and supportive.  This is what I want a magazine for women to reflect, and sitting at the table I was aware that I had the start of one around me.  

Developed in collaboration, WOJO is an intelligent and visually exciting magazine that is underpinned by feminist principles of gender equality, diversity and compassion, that celebrates and explores the female gaze and the richness of the female voice; the complexity and flexibility of female conversation.  WOJO shares and listens to the experience of grown up women whose interests and capacities are wide ranging and deep, yet are sometimes excluded from popular media.

With regular articles and features exploring culture, creativity, food, the environment, style and the body, as well as interviews and new writing,  each issue of WOJO will be themed (mostly) by its main feature.

In this first issue, we're talking about death.

In 'Between Despair and Distraction' I talk about my experience, this year, of bereavement and introduce four personal stories about grief.  It's a subject that still isn't discussed openly and our inability to talk about death causes unnecessary suffering to those experiencing loss.  Two people worldwide die each second, the mortality rate in the UK is rising annually and for each death, how many family members, partners, and close friends are affected? Two, ten, twenty?  As part of my own grieving process I've begun looking at the people I pass in the street and wondering how many, affected by the death of a close relative or friend, are feeling something like my grief.  There are times I've wanted to look less 'normal', to wear some kind of mourning - not to have to talk to people about my loss, but to signify a solidarity within a community of sorrow.  

'Between Despair and Distraction' is my way to connect with others who are, or have been, in that community.

As well, in Issue #1, Gill Fothergill shares her recipes for   Comfort Food :  Seasonal, healthy and delicious food that offers an edible hug and looks towards coming festivities  (I'll be having her crumble for breakfast and giving her rillete as Christmas presents) ;  in ' The Last Days'   Wendy Cotton discusses the threats of an environmental dystopia and asks how we can recognise our choices and remain positive.  Natalie Ramus, online Wojo curator, introduces her own work about the A bject Body,   and Tottie Aarvold's photographs explore and articulate absence. Emma Rawlins discusses the Death of Desire   in an article in which she talks to women about the experience of desire in long term relationships, and Helen Finch, our Style editor, presents ' Streetstyle' - images of grown up women whose style we want to celebrate.  In Life & Style:  Wojo Profile, Jenny Ellerton  - artist and tennis coach, talks about her individual style and an exciting life that combines art practice, sport and family.

In addition to our regular features, each issue of WOJO will include articles by guest contributors and though the WOJO team is made up of women, WOJO is not gender exclusive.  Though directed by women ,we welcome contribution by, and celebrate, all genders.

In each issue, we'll be putting out a call for new creative writing in response to the theme of the next one. The working title for Isuue #2 is 'Good Girls and the Celebration of the Slut'.  Women of my generation and before have been hampered by an education that privileged the need to please others over the need to please ourselves, by the male gaze over the female, that resisted female objectivity and distrusted both the very clever and the very corporeal women (demonising them as the witch and the slut). Distanced from the glorious knowledge of our own pleasure  in both the mind and the body and denied access to (until quite recently) patriarchal power systems, all that has been left for us is to be good . Where good is neither a spiritual nor a moral quality but rather means 'well behaved'.

If you would like to contribute a piece of creative writing in response to 'Good Girls' then please email contact@wojomagazine.com.  The WOJO team will select pieces from the entries.

Celia Johnson