Attia Taylor, Founder of Womanly Magazine
Media has always been a competitive industry to break into, but what make publications sustainable? Diverse Voices covering meaningful topics and telling stories that create an impact within their communities. We chatted with the founder of Womanly Magazine, Attia Taylor, who created a publication centering around women’s health - physically, emotionally, and mentally and the importance of it all. Read her story in today’s spotlight below on how she founded the publication and the importance of health stories within marginalized voices.
Attia, besides running Womanly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Aside from Womanly, I’m a musician in a psych-pop band called Strange Parts. We just released our first studio album in June of this year. We play shows quite often in NYC and Philly and plan to tour in the very near future. I also work as a Community Manager for an innovation & collaboration firm in NYC called SecondMuse. We work with organizations to build better economies and communities in the US, Australia, and Indonesia.
I love my work, but I also love my down time when I get it. My favorite thing to do is watch indie and foreign films. I’ve also been on a documentary kick lately.
Now back to Womanly, how do you make this publication different from the rest of the digital platforms out there?
Womanly is a health magazine at its core. We have talented health care professionals on our team that dedicate their time to researching and reporting on the most accurate and relevant health information. We then take that information and pair it with art. We have a talented team of artists who are committed to creating pieces that are accessible. We also collaborate with artists from our communities. Our approach to presenting health information is both unique together and apart. We are constantly learning from, challenging and inspiring each other to do what isn't being done in the worlds of health and art.
We’re also constantly learning and challenging ourselves to do what isn’t being done in the art world and the health world. That means speaking to and giving voice to women of color and other marginalized groups who are traditionally excluded from those worlds.
In your opinion, why is it important to cover discrimination in the health care system, intergenerational concerns, and physical and sexual health and expression?
There are an overwhelming amount of reasons but the driving force behind this work is taking a look at the disparities that currently exist in our system as it applies to women of color. I’m absolutely desperate to get these magazines into low income communities because for many of these women, the difference between information about their health and bodies is one of survival. For this reason, we've decided that all of the proceeds from fundraisers and online magazine sales will be used to donate the magazines to low income communities in NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Oakland.
We've learned that many of the women who have been excluded from or even mistreated by our healthcare system are raising children. We hope to share with these mothers the resources that they need to raise children equipped to care and advocate for themselves; creating a source for our youth that will feed them for generations to follow.
Given the climate we are in, who is having a “moment” and how do you differentiate what is a "trending" moment vs. something meaningful that will sustain?
What has been some of the difficulties and rewards of starting your magazine?
The rewards are in the feedback we’ve received from the community. While visiting a mobile mammography clinic in Flatbush, I met an older Caribbean woman with whom the magazine really seemed to resonate. She has recently had a heart attack and expressed how grateful she was to be reading a magazine that helped her understand how to continue to thrive after such a serious and traumatic event. Feedback like this makes working on this 100% volunteer ran magazine so fulfilling and absolutely worth it.
The difficulties are in realizing what we’re up against. This magazine is in response to centuries of violence and oppression and that comes with a number of challenges in reaching people in a way that can actually affect real change and leave a lasting impact. We are doing workshops and receiving feedback as a barometer for this and are very conscious of our impact and how we promote change in and around our communities.
How do you hope womanly magazine and you evolve into years to come?
We are releasing our third issue on geriatric health, aging, and the sharing of wisdom on November 12th. This issue is so beautiful and full. I see so much growth in our team and content and I hope to see that blossom into a community that can create positive change in health and livelihood in a real way.
Interviewed by Chary