Mauritshuis Borch - Woman Writing a Letter

Why I started LYRA

I don’t relate to the way the mainstream media portrays women, and it makes me angry. All the time. It’s the paradox on which they operate: selling unobtainable beauty while shunning women for being, well, women. Relying on an ugly sexualisation, using sex to sell, while leaving the issues that make many of us, women especially, uncomfortable around sexuality and nudity. Never spreading an understanding of sexuality because such an understanding liberates.

I wanted to read something that ran contrary to this, that celebrated women, rather than using them. A smart magazine that offered a female perspective on the world and issues that concern us all: world politics, culture, social issues, science. Women make 50% of the world’s population. We are politicians, scientists, doctors, academics, activists, farmers, plumbers – everything. We are interested in so much more than fashion, make up and handbags. A magazine that went beyond an obsession with the unreal, with celebrities and ‘must-have’ lists. And I couldn’t find one.

The deciding moment occurred two years ago, when I discovered an issue of Nova magazine in a second hand bookshop. Nova described itself as ‘A new kind of magazine for a new kind of woman’ and it was wonderful: it showed how much we can achieve, how we can look, how we needn’t be told. Yet, while covering ‘women’s issues’ it remained topical and politically engaged, and – importantly for me – was read by men as well as women. Because we have so much in common, our humanity.

But, the last issue was published in 1975.

So, LYRA was born, because, I thought, if I can’t find it anywhere I’ll make it myself. I wanted it to be everything, to cover ‘women’s concerns’ but to be aimed at everyone. To invoke deep and meaningful socio-critical debates, to be of a very high quality, to publish journalistic and investigative writing. To analyse our times. And not be complacent in the face of apathy I see everywhere today. This apathy that fuels the vast number of social, political and economic problems we face today. I wanted a magazine that would give each individual hope and an understanding that, in our little and kind way, we can create a change.

LYRA I hope – no, know – does all this.

– Georgina Gray

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Image: detail of Woman Writing a Letter by Mauritshuis Borch