Exactly one year ago today, The Unedit launched.
For a little website that was made initially to lay bare all the frustrations of mainstream media and focus on the positive, that’s a pretty big milestone. When The Unedit was just an idea, months before it even got its name, I knew that I wanted to create something that individuals could read, and come away from their computers, phones, tablets, whatever, feeling refreshed and good about themselves, rather than the uncomfortable, unhappy, self-conscious feeling that often washes over us when we delve into the more popular women’s glossies.
My career grew in a world where the women were young, thin, mainly white, and hungry. I constantly felt the pressure to be the same, but I’m not going to go into that because that’s a whole different story. What I’m saying, though, is that I knew - at regular intervals in my career in high fashion - that the world needed something that gave them more than clothes and a body complex. What I also knew, though, was that the world wasn’t ready for something like this, but I thought that as money, time, and technological skill were not on my side, what I could at least offer was something that could help just a small fraction of those women.
Clicking the button to let The Unedit go live was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Despite knowing that there was very little like the site, at least in a real media capacity, and that there were people out there who needed something like it, I still didn’t anticipate the kind of response that it garnered. At our six month mark, we’d been seen over 100,00 times across 154 different countries. I can’t even name 154 countries! I remember looking at the site’s analytics and being blown away by the support that The Unedit had received; the same feeling that hits me when I sit down to reply to the hundreds of messages of love and support that so many of you have taken the time out to send in.
Today, our figures have more than doubled, only a matter of days close to tripling even, and there’s currently only 11 recognised countries in the world that haven’t visited our site at one time or another. We’ve taken this shit international. Like, really international. Sure, in comparison to many other platforms, these numbers are minimal. But, for a website that’s aim was to fight against the sea of diet culture and unattainable beauty standards out there, and promote some often unpopular opinions, I think that’s pretty fucking incredible. Besides, comparison is the thief of all joy, so I’m just going to continue being eternally grateful for everything I’ve been able to do and everyone I’ve met as a result of The Unedit’s existence.
Prior to putting The Unedit out into the world, it took months to learn how to code, amongst many other things I’d never been able to do that a project like this requires. And it’s not just our readership that’s grown - I have too. Not only because I’ve learnt to code (very basically - I’m by no means the next Steve Jobs), but because my outlook and understanding on topics that I’d previously only just scratched the surface on has flourished. My knowledge surrounding activist spaces, social justice issues, and intersectional feminism has allowed me to keep The Unedit as inclusive as possible, which was one of my primary goals for this website.
When I planned the kind of content I wanted to write about initially, I had no idea of how wide our spectrum was going to turn out. We’ve covered everything from abortion, rape laws, and reproductive rights, to white supremacy and racism. We’ve followed the highs and lows of the media and its quest for diversity, as well as that of the feminist and LGBTQA+ movements. Mental health has always been a topic that we’ve wanted to work towards destigmatising and opening up the conversations, and we’re doing that, alongside criticising the beauty standards that often act as the catalyst to a large portion of these issues.
We’ve looked at social justice issues and how society continues to oppress marginalised bodies; allyship and privilege; as well as making sure that the very people who find themselves marginalised find a home at The Unedit. Beyond fatness, thinness, we’ve opened up dialogue around how other bodies - bodies of colour, disabled, queer, trans, non-binary, pregnant, and more - deserve to be seen, and deserve to be celebrated. We’re not afraid to confront sex and sexuality in a real way, virginity and purity culture, not to mention the other aspects of life that are often stigmatised - periods, sexual and reproductive health, et al.
As we move towards the next chapter of our story, here at The Unedit we will continue to create a safe space, with the help of our contributors both new and old, and a platform where those who feel most silenced, can step forward and be heard. Exactly a year ago, The Unedit promised to you, the reader:
You will never be told you're not good enough. You will never be shamed for your appearance. You will never be judged. You will never be spoon fed diet culture in disguise. You will never feel left out or discriminated against. You will never be forced into following a new trend or fad.
You will, however, be celebrated for who you are. You will be embraced. You will be made to feel at home. You will be allowed to live your life as you wish to. You will be encouraged to love yourself. You will be part of a community that you inspire just as much as it inspires you.
Know that this still stands, and we will continue to provide you with what you deserve: unfiltered, unapologetic, unedited content. No beauty standards, no bullshit.