Empowered Women Unite: 25 Must-Follow Instagram Accounts
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No need to spend time lurking your favorite accounts to figure out where they get their inspiration -- we did all of that work for you already.
Comparison really is the death of joy. Mark Twain had it right, all those years ago. At Career Contessa, we think your social media feeds shouldn't be about comparison. They should actually be nothing short of witty, inspiring, roast-fully sarcastic, sassy, motivating and uplifting all at the same time. And to help you out, we compiled a list of our very favorite accounts -- so grab your phone and get ready to "follow" along. (Haaa, get it?) It's ok, we eye-rolled, too.
Here's our decisive list of the accounts every empowered woman simply must follow.
Women Under the Influence
All the female filmmakers who weren't nominated at the Golden Globes (thank you, Natalie Portman). Women Under the Influence features a stream of incredible female-directed films, helping you support all the women in cinema, whose time isn't up.
Self-described as "Migrant. Queer. Poet." plain and simple, Sonia Guiñansaca also happens to be Culture Strike's managing editor. Oh, and an author. Unsurprisingly, Guiñansaca's feed is nothing short of inspiring and empowering -- and always authentically her.
Girls At Library
Seriously, where would be without Girls At Library? GAL (for those in the know) is one of the best resources today for insightful interviews with intellectually savvy, creative women. This is a site that celebrates women who read and makes us want to read a lot more in 2018. Their Instagram account is there to make sure we stay on track.
As the founder of the bubble-gum-and-gen-z-yellow-hued brand, ban.do, Jen Gotch is maybe one of the best known creative entrepreneurs on Instagram. So it's nothing short of profound that she's committed her feed to talking honestly about the good, the bad, and the ugly in equal measures. Take a cue from Gotch -- embrace the wince-worthy moments and just enjoy the ride.
17.21 Women is a platform dedicated to showcasing absolutely incredible Asian-Pacific Islander women throughout history, whose stories have been left untold, or whose legacies have been forgotten with the passage of time. The feed is set up as a photo-journalism style of storytelling, and each post will uplift and motivate you -- by remembering all of those who have come before us.
Julia Turshen and Grace Bonney
We're cheating a little by combining two Instagram accounts here, but we think that Julia Turshen and Grace Bonney won't object. As life partners and occasional collaborators, this duo is changing the way we talk about women. You probably know Bonney from her site, Design*Sponge, while Turshen is a coauthor of numerous cookbooks (including, ahem, Gwyneth's) and a former host of Radio Cherry Bombe. On top of that, each published incredible books last year with their own unique spin (Turshen wrote Feed the Resistance + Tips for Getting Involved and Grace Bonney is responsible for In the Company of Women). So yeah, they'll make you want to tackle some projects of your own.
Ladies Get Paid
We're obsessed with all that is Ladies Get Paid (and love partnering with them on various projects), but above all, we're diehard fans of their Instagram account. Every time a post pops up in your feed, you'll find yourself fist punching the air within five seconds (prove us wrong, we dare you). The account's about women's empowerment -- with a capital E plus an exclamation mark or two -- but Ladies Get Paid takes it a step further than that by offering the resources you need to take charge of your work and life, too.
Up until recently, the 31-year-old Elaine Welteroth was the editor behind Teen Vogue, which, if you haven't been paying attention, is one of the most daring publications right now when it comes to speaking out against gender inequality. Recently, she announced she's leaving the publication to work on a new, exciting project. What exactly? You'll need to follow her to find out.
Since we're on the subject, you might want to follow Teen Vogue's newest sibling publication, Them, while you're at it.
Unbothered launched quietly a few months back, but it's already garnered tons of fanfare. It's a social offshoot created by Refinery29 that's specifically targeted at (and run by) black millennial women. This is one of the feeds we've needed more than anything -- where you'll find the real perspectives, real feelings and real bodies of real women -- that will lead you to demand "more voices like these, please."
Rupi Kaur a poet and we all know it. She's also an artist, photographer, and feminist. Her words have uplifted, challenged and comforted so many of us -- whether they've helped us embrace love, loss, revolution or our own femininity -- and there's plenty more to come right there in her account. To be honest, there are few things better than scrolling along and finding one of Kaur's aesthetically (and soulfully) pleasing poems pop up to brighten your day.
In the last few years, Roxane Gay's collections of essays have helped redefine how we see 21st-century feminism. We also have her to thank for this mic drop quote: “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all." Hit her feed to follow along with her book tour, see what she's reading personally and just generally feel a bit closer to one of the most unique and unparalleled voices of our age.
Feministabulous is a bold, real and relevant account run by Liz Plank, an award-winning journalist and the producer of the Divided States of Women podcast. Sometimes she's sassy, sometimes she trolls us all with a meme, sometimes she roasts people and sometimes she graces us with an uplifting dose of motivation. Regardless, it's (dare we say "magically"?) always just what you need.
Issa Rae is a daily reminder that it's OK to just be you. More than OK, actually -- it's essential. So make like Issa and embrace your awkward, insecure, badass, beautiful, paradoxical self, ladies.
We started following Man Repeller's editor, Haley Nahman, on Instagram in part to prove to ourselves that the Man Repeller team is only human, too, and in a way we did: Nahman is a funky, funny mess, just like us. ...Except she's also as cuttingly clever as her think pieces and op/eds imply and she's got the world's best cat.
"Wear what you care about." Prink Shop isn't exactly a brand even though technically they sell goods. Instead, a better description might be "the visual and playful manifestation of activism that we all need in these often dark times." Mouthful, right? Just follow them and you'll get the idea. Oh, and about those eye-grabbing totes and tees: the team donates 30 percent of their profits to relevant causes (so you don't have to feel too badly about buying everything they post).
Kimberly Rose Drew
"Writer, Curator, Activist." Sometimes, the best summary is the Instagram bio itself. Kimberly Rose Drew is currently the social media manager at The MET, and she's got more than a few things to say about women in the workplace. How is it possible to be this cool and this wise?
Girl Gaze Project
Started by a rad group of women including Amanda De Cadenet, Inez van Lamsweerde and Amber Valetta, GirlGaze is a simple yet effective project: by showcasing photography and films made by Gen Z women, they seek to narrow the gender gap in a male-dominated industry. So basically, by following their Instagram account, you'll flood your feed with the work of underrepresented women photographers and creatives. Sounds pretty glorious to us.
Trust us, you've seen her in something. Whether it was in Girls, one of her earliest roles in Parks and Recreation or more recently, in Battle of the Sexes, Natalie Morales has been sneaking into your consciousness, one comedic quip at a time. But it's her refusal to play by the rules -- or even acknowledge that some rules might exist -- that lands her firmly on this roundup. She's written outspoken op-eds about the problem with us romanticizing Cuba (her home country) and last June came out as queer in a letter on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. We have a feeling she's got plenty more to say.
As a band, Best Coast exploded onto the indie music scene thanks to beach-lazing, teenage daydream lyrics like "So when I'm with you, I have fun." But the Instagram account -- actually run by Bethany Cosentino, the band's frontwoman -- is less about fun, more about honest responses to the post-Trump world and current sexual harassment issues. Cosentino has spoken out about her own experiences in the music industry with male aggressors and serves as an advocate and ally for women everywhere.
Female Collective is all about intersectionality, self-love and loving other women, too. And, of course. intersectional feminism is the name of the game. Following this account feels like an act of rebellion, but you're joining an entire empire of your sisters at the same time. Every post pulls us all a little closer together. Oh, and all those incredible feminist t-shirts you've been seeing around? Yeah, you can definitely find them here.
"The queen mother of all that is feminist obvi." This is what our editorial director, Kit Warchol, jotted in her notes about Gloria Steinhem as we did research for this piece, and honestly? We think that about sums it up.
Dee Poku, The Other Festival and W(IE) Network
We're not really sure how Dee Poku manages to do everything that she does, but we are sure that she is a total badass. Leave it to her to come up with gems like, "If #feminist was 2017’s word of the year, I think #sisterhood be 2018’s." Beyond her personal account, she also runs The Other Festival, in celebration of all female creatives -- focusing on embracing "Other", and embracing you. Oh, and she's co-founder and CEO of the W(IE) Network, a network for women to help lift each other up in our careers.
Seriously wondering how many times we've mentioned the podcast, Call Your Girlfriend on our site, but also not embarrassed about it. Well today, we're switching things up by giving a direct shout out to Aminatou Sow, one of the show's co-hosts (she puts it together with another of our favorite women, Ann Friedman). If you've listened to CYG, you know that Sow is the friend we all need. This Instagram account will help you get your fix in-between podcast episodes.
We could list a bunch of adjectives to try to describe Rosario Dawson, but the only one that really does her justice is this: warrior. An absolute warrior. She will motivate you, comfort you, and inspire you to take action. Most of all, she is always unapologetically herself. And we absolutely love that.
If we don't love our own feed, [Career Contessa], what are we doing here?