Florence Given is a British feminist queer illustrator and social activist, born in Plymouth and now based in London. She is known for her popular slogan designs which address social issues surrounding sexuality. She is the author of the 2020 book Women Don't Owe You Pretty, promoted as an accessible introduction to feminism. She has a following of 299k on Instagram and uses this platform and Twitter to raise awareness of issues of sexuality, race and gender.
Life and Career
Given's career started at the age of 14 when she received unexpected comments on the social media platform Instagram about her image, as well as being bullied at her all-girls' high school. She had her first experience with sexual harassment and was immediately called “frigid”. Given stated in an interview with the Daily Mirror, “Being able to go on a night out legally and seeing so many women groped, harassed and objectified for going out and loving themselves pained me, because they didn’t realise that this was actually sexual assault, not just ‘boys being boys’".
This launched Given's stand against sexism. She also stands against victim-blaming which she has experienced first-hand. She refused to wear a bra in classes and she would be stared at by her fellow classmates. She began creating videos (vlogs) on YouTube and posting on Instagram about her experiences and advising people in the same situations that they are not alone. Given attended Plymouth College Of Art from age 16 to 18 before she moved from Plymouth to London in 2017 to study at the London College of fashion. Here she learnt to draw from fashion illustrator Julie Verhoeven. In 2018 she hosted her first exhibition. Launched in partnership with creative debuts, "Girls uninterrupted" included work from female and non-binary artists showcasing their experiences in society.
A few months later Given received a message on Instagram from Rita Ora's stylist Kyle De'Volle, who asked her to design official merchandise for the singers 2018 European tour. Given started off as Rita Ora's merchandise designer for her ‘Girls Tour boosting the visibility of her designs. Given created her own company “Floss” which sells T-shirts, bags, prints and phone cases all displayed in bright colours and printed with Given’s influential designs. All products sold on her website are vegan approved, created with organic cotton and vegan ink.
Florence later wrote and illustrated her book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty which is to be released in June 2020. The book is based on lessons that she wished someone had taught her at a younger age. Filled with Given's artwork and knowledge on issues such as body image and mental health she explains that women do not owe it to anyone to be pretty.
Given also created her own self-published magazine, Don’t call me baby, which features her designs and nude edits and photography. From this she received further threats.
Appearances and press
In 2018 Given launched a petition to cancel the Netflix fat-shaming series Insatiable, gaining over 300,000 signatures. She appeared on the UK and US news debating the matter. Given has done multiple interviews on Live BBC radio on the roles in society that are assumed about the stages of a woman's life and how double standards of women and men in the media come to light. In June 2019 Given joined Tinder's “Single not sorry” campaign where she explained that she loves meeting new people and exploring her identity to learn that she is enough on her own. Given attended the BAFTA awards for the first time in 2019.
The first time the Given saw the quote “dump him” was when Britney Spears wore a T-shirt displaying that quote after the end of her relationship with Justin Timberlake. When Given experienced a break-up herself, she adopted the quote into her designs as a “cathartic release.” Given hopes that someone in a similar situation as she was in would see the quote on a T-shirt, phone case or a Tote bag in the street and take it as a sign to put themselves first.
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- "Her's Women of the Year 2019: From politics and culture to sport, we raise a glass to the female leaders who have inspired us this year". Her.ie. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
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