The daring digital and print platform embraces, explores and interrogates anything and everything that epitomises global womxnhood
See. Hear. Act. Do. Shado, is the latest publication to be “born out of frustration with the lack of space for voices across different fields to co-exist”. The daring platform is a magazine that embraces, explores and interrogates anything and everything that epitomises womxnhood. The emotive biographies and challenging narratives woven between empowering illustrations imprint the publication with an overwhelming sense of union between the reader and its contributors. I found the process of reading it both inspiring and challenging, as the content compelled me to continually question my position and privilege as a woman living in a society that doesn’t explicitly hinder my potential to be powerful.
Shado’s guest editor, Dr. Leyla Hussein, says “[Shado has] tried to gather features and articles which will inspire and give you insights into the life of the exceptionally good people who are sometimes called bad as they strive to make our world safer and better.” What resonates so beautifully within the features and articles, is this sense that the contributors have unapologetically embraced what it is to be a womxn, even if their culture, ethnicity or faith challenges their right to do so.
A feature that rendered significant in light of this, was ‘Boby - a photo series by Nancy Hurman’. The photographs of Boby, a trans woman working in Nepal as a sex worker who never heads to work without her deep, red lipstick, invited me to ask why she was dressed so vibrantly, who she was and why she had to do it. This remarkable photojournalist captured in a series of shots exactly what womxnhood means for Boby, encouraging readers to recognise how different ‘womanism’ is for our sisters across the world.
The stunning selection of illustration, digital art and photography peppered throughout Shado often depicts womxn as not just themselves, but also as an activist, an athlete, an outreach worker, a Muslim and so on. The carefully composed imagery in my opinion, is what declares Shado as ‘not just another feminist magazine’, but rather a publication that both questions and celebrates everything there is about being a womxn.
Such strong visuals force the reader to humanise each article; the imagery acting as a reminder that the oppression, discrimination or struggles are faced by real womxn in real time. This was particularly poignant for me when reading interview with Tasneem A Tawil who discusses how being a Muslim female athlete often makes people feel uncomfortable. Unphased by those who oppose her choices, Tasneem says [as an athlete] “We’re not here to make you comfortable, we’re here to be the best we possibly can in our sport”, transgressing the all-too-familiar notion that women are here to pleasure men. If a woman chooses to do so, then that’s her choice. But who decided she can’t do both?
Tasneem is pictured fiercely embracing her sport, completely unphased by suggestions that her hijab has no place in sport.
A credible strength of Shado is the mindful editing that refuses to ‘other’ womxn based on their experiences. Tasneem says “The media constantly wishes to paint us [Muslims] as the ‘other’ that needs to be either eliminated or saved”, which is exactly the notion that Shado defies. Further to this, I admire the editors’ choice to “adopt the alternative spelling of womxnhood by way of promoting inclusivity and intersectionality in this issue”. Many mainstream women’s magazine lack this progressive and necessary adoption, so it's refreshing to see Shado stepping up and challenging the publications that disregard inclusivity.
Shado is a magazine that is diverse in its strengths. I believe this is because they don’t shy away from recognising that the womxn who contributed are versatile in their strengths, too. The only downside is that print publication comes at a steep price, which can limit its accessibility. However, Shado also offers a digital download at a lower price and has a strong digital presence, which aims to create a space for conversation to ignite across all platforms.
Despite this, whether photojournalism or poetry, conversations or prose, the publication amplifies the voices of those at the frontline of political, social and cultural change. Shado is not just a magazine, but a platform for womxn to find their tribe, igniting the sisterhood between passionate creatives, academics, activists and feminists. I would argue that is worth investing if not your money, then at least your time into.
Shado Magazine is available monthly to digitally download for £4.50 or to buy in print for £12.50 here