In her sophomore year of college, SHE Media Partner Network’s Katie Racine was baffled by what she perceived as a “lack of diverse women’s sites”. So, she brunched with her besties and together they set out to create a platform that encompassed ideas from their experiences. Katie and her editors began creating content for Literally, Darling, a website that was relatable and opinionated while keeping multiple perspectives in mind and showcasing how multi-dimensional women can be. Check out our interview with Katie below!
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog!
Literally, Darling was born on a road trip to the beach with my younger sister in 2012. I was lamenting how tired I was of seeing such a limited perspective on being in your twenties in women’s publishing. There was nothing out there at the time for women whose interests didn’t fit into tidy checkboxes and whose lives weren’t reflective of a perfect affluent cosmopolitan lifestyle. So when I got home, I gathered all my friends around a brunch table and said “Help me build something for us. Something that reflects the dichotomies that exist inside us all and celebrates the ones that no one else cares about.” And we did. We wrote about what it’s like to actually live with crippling student debt and living at home with your parents. We celebrated the non-NYT’s best sellers we loved that weren’t “real literature.” We talked as much about not giving a damn about dating as we did about family and friendships. And somehow it worked. New writers and editors flocked to us to have a chance to tell their stories, pursue their passions, and find a community of women where we can understand what we’re all going through. Over the years, we continued to grow as a site and grow up; many of us left our twenties behind, got married, became ex-pats, and started careers as full time writers and editors. But what has never changed is the unending support the LD family shows toward each other and the confidence we’ve worked so hard to achieve at being exclusively ourselves.
Your blog is written by women who have differences in opinions from politics, to values, to religion, and more. Why do you think this is important?
Looking back on starting LD in 2012, it seems like we were living in the salad days of inclusivity and understanding compared to today, but at the time we wanted to change how the labels we put on ourselves turn into scarlet letters in mixed company. Little did we know at the time how not only would those labels become battering rams in a political divide, but they’d become synonymous with being considered a good or bad person. So by not only featuring women who disagree politically, religiously, and who have different values, but by building a community where we all come together under a common goal, we’re doing our small part to show that women are stronger when we stand together. It’s amazing how quickly friendships flourish when you stop leading with your Census boxes and focus more on bonding over your commonalities – like navigating the patriarchy at work, not having a clue how to make friends outside of college, and an utter loathing of pants. I think it sends a powerful message to women who may be struggling with their place in the world and their own identities to see a place where all voices that are willing to uplift women are celebrated, and that our differences bond us instead of tearing us apart.
You have a category on your blog called “Millennial Manifesto”. Why is it important for you to cater to the millennial audience?
Six years ago Time Magazine published the “Me, Me, Me Generation” and kicked off a multi-year, industry-wide kick of maligning an entire generation that had already had its teeth kicked in by graduating into a recession, crippling student debt, and a forecast to be the first generation since WWI to be worse off than their parents. We were blamed for killing industries we couldn’t afford to take part of and written about like we were lazy and spoiled, which was a far cry from the realities of our lives. Now Gen Z has come of age and is getting the blame as millennials are settling in to our (limited) purchasing powers and brands have learned to work within our means and meet us where we live. But while we’re no longer the underdogs, I think it’s still important to cater specifically to millennials because we need to learn to grow into our responsibilities as leaders, citizens, partners, parents, and purchasers. That means making our voices heard, working together, and standing up for what we believe in.
What are your hobbies outside of the blog?
I am an obsessive baker. After binging the The Great British Bake Off a few too many times, I decided to try my hand at a ciabatta. Now I find myself with a heaving bookshelf filled with Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, King Arthur Flour, and Bake from Scratch cookbooks. It’s become my go-to stress relief. My dogs camp out in the kitchen with me, I blare Led Zeppelin, and knead out my frustrations. All my other hobbies – traveling, photography, hiking, reading, etc. – have all been incorporated into my writing and editing career, and this is the first thing I haven’t tried to turn into a side hustle. It’s all mine and it’s become a way of expressing my creativity in a whole new (and delicious) way.
What is the most underrated piece of advice for up and coming bloggers and influencers?
The most important thing I tell my writers is to quit trying to justify your right to your opinion. Go boldly and say what you mean succinctly and with conviction. Women have spent so long apologizing for our opinions, putting caveats on our beliefs, and trying to hedge what we need to say to make it palatable. Too often we end up talking in circles and burying the lede (especially when writing about topics particularly important to us) as a way of trying to convince readers that we have the right to our beliefs. Our articles shouldn’t read like a legal contracts full of clauses to prove we have a right to a voice. State your case with conviction, back it up with evidence and facts, and trust in yourself (and your editor if you have one) to stand behind it. Don’t tip toe around your point, just wade right in.
Follow Katie and her incredible writers and editors on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and check out her articles How to Human 101: Practice Basic Common Courtesy, To All The Optimistic Millennial Parents-to-Be, and Why We All Need to Learn to Suck at Life More.