The influencer telling women to dump their boyfriends

Florence Given is the 20-year-old illustrator combining fashion with feminism, her tote bags and slogan t-shirts fast becoming some of the most wanted items on Insta.

At just 20 years old, Florence Given has amassed a whopping 315,000 followers on Instagram and has celebrities obsessing over her quirky designs. The British Gen Zer is a feminist queer illustrator and activist known for her popular tongue-in-cheek slogans and prints that address social issues surrounding sexuality. After fronting campaigns for Tinder and producing tour merch for Rita Ora (who described her as an ‘incredibly empowering artist), Given was named Cosmopolitan’s Influencer of the Year in 2019 – and rightly so.   

In a society that considers being in a relationship as the ‘ultimate goal,’ Given’s aim is to offer her followers and fans an alternative truth. That not only is it okay to be single, but that it’s a ‘necessary part of learning about ourselves, with a potential to be life-enriching’. With t-shirts that say ‘it’s a wonderful day to dump him’ — sure, the retro font and vibrant colours make for some highly aesthetic Insta photos, but it’s really so much more than that — she’s getting people talking.

‘I could see that Instagram was a great way for artists to showcase their work and get jobs, so I kick-started it off with my hand-drawn illustrations to open some minds and get people talking about all the frustrations I was having, existing as a woman and learning about the sexualisation of my body,’ she explains. ‘I began to see that there was a hunger for conversation about all of the things women wish they could talk about with people in their everyday lives, but couldn’t. I think my page created a space for women to relate to.’

Given is empowering women to embrace their sexuality and speak out against toxic patriarchal ideals like slut-shaming through slogans such as ‘off for a shag,’ protect your energy,’ and ‘not taking any more sexist bullshit’ which frankly, is incredibly admirable. ‘I want to encourage women to question the world that they were born into,’ she says. ‘I want them to find their power and realise that they should never settle for less than they deserve.’

Unsurprisingly, Given’s first and most revered design was inspired by her own breakup. The tee which just reads ‘Dump Him’ in swirly ‘70s lettering was born out of a realisation that she had been pouring a great deal of her time and energy into someone with no intention of reciprocating, ‘I was running on empty, and for what?’ she asks. ‘I had been constantly trying to ‘fix’ and ‘grow’ someone when I could have been putting that energy into myself.’

Tired of ‘mothering a man-child’ as she puts it and nurturing a strong desire to push back against archaic gender roles pigeonholing women into fulfilling subservient stereotypes is what kickstarted her business. What began with some simple designs packing a serious style punch, has transformed into a movement she bolstered advocating considerate dating, acceptance, and self-love.

‘I realised that this was a role women so readily accept and take on in relationships without questioning it,’ she says. ‘We just do it for the validation that someone loves us. I wanted to use my experience to hopefully lead other young women to the same liberating realisation; that you don’t have to settle, you are the love of your own life, and everything else is a distraction.’    

Additionally, if you can’t get enough of Given’s staunch feminist viewpoint, you’re in luck because she’s in the process of penning her first book which will be a look at how society’s view of female sexuality has been shaped by the prevalence of the male gaze. 

Given wants to continue spreading her message through the ‘mediums of speaking’ which the book will enable her to do, but until it comes out, expect to see some brand new playful designs on your main Insta feed in the coming months like a new one addressing issues of consent. And, if you were wondering how to style the kitsch tees, she suggests pairing them with flared trousers or a matching jacket-suit-bottoms combo because ‘the more dramatic and bold the outfit, the better!’ (in her opinion).

@thredmag

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