Fem­i­nism’s next chap­ter

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - NEWS -

Meet the Bad Girls Col­lec­tive: a book club for women who are “mak­ing moves” and “get­ting shit done” in Toronto.

Co-founders Kara Wark, 29, and Kate Chip­pin­dale, 28, are bring­ing women to­gether over their love of lit­er­a­ture.

The pair started a book club with eight of their friends around 2013.

Two years later, the group had grown to 25 mem­bers, mak­ing them re­al­ize how pow­er­ful the plat­form could be.

They brain­stormed ways to make the club big­ger, bet­ter and “broaden our girl gang,” said Wark. They came up with the Bad Girls Col­lec­tive.

“We both felt in our sep­a­rate ca­reer paths there was a ten­dency to be re­ally com­pet­i­tive and some­times knock each other down. Our in­ten­tion and our goal is to re­verse that men­tal­ity and sup­port other women no mat­ter what they’re do­ing. We bring peo­ple to­gether,” said Chip­pin­dale.

The col­lec­tive hosted its first event in April with the book All the Sin­gle Ladies: Un­mar­ried Women and the Rise of an In­de­pen­dent Na­tion by Re­becca Trais­ter.

They’ve con­tin­ued to meet ev­ery other month at local venues.

The event fea­tures local speak­ers and en­ter­tain­ment, which have in­cluded Toron­to­based women like artist Chris­tine Flynn, singer Ralph and de­signer Mary Young.

The lat­est event at the Broad­view Ho­tel in Au­gust sold out af­ter reach­ing ca­pac­ity at around 200 women.

“With ev­ery­thing go­ing on in the world ... women’s rights com­ing to the fore­front, there’s no bet­ter time to start this as a col­lec­tive and in­vite other book clubs in the city to meet up,” said Wark.

On top of mak­ing new friends, Chip­pin­dale said, the ex­pe­ri­ence has opened her mind to new per­spec­tives, like hear­ing how Haruki Mu­rakami’s Men with­out Women (the group’s Au­gust pick) per­son­ally af­fected book-club mem­bers.

“I think, too, get­ting peo­ple all to­gether in a space where no­body looks at their phone — a group of 20- to 40-yearold women for sev­eral hours — and peo­ple are there in real life talk­ing about real things,” said Chip­pin­dale. “Which is a re­ally rare op­por­tu­nity these days, given the so­cial-me­dia land­scape and how busy ev­ery­body is. It’s been a re­ally nice men­tal pause.”

Wark said the col­lec­tive isn’t ex­clu­sive and en­cour­ages women — and even men — to join, alone or as part of a book club. To par­tic­i­pate, peo­ple can buy the book and a ticket to the event.

“(It’s) fe­male­fo­cused,” said Wark.“and then if the men who want to sup­port women want to come … all for it!” Some pro­ceeds from ticket sales go to char­i­ties, such as the Stop Com­mu­nity Food Cen­tre and the Cana­dian Women’s Foun­da­tion.

The Bad Girl’s Col­lec­tive is a book club that out­grew the liv­ing room and now at­tracts hundreds of women — and some men — to events where they share a love of read­ing and em­pow­er­ment. COURT­NEY GREENBURG FOR METRO TORONTO

Kate and Kara, founders of Bad Girls Col­lec­tive, with the book they’re cur­rently read­ing.

Lance MCMIL­LAN/FOR Metroc IF YOU go the next Bad Girls Col­lec­tive event is nov. 1 at Saints edi­to­rial. the read­ing is Milk and Honey by toronto-based poet rupi Kaur. Check bad­girlscol­lec­tive.ca for de­tails.

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