Glitoris… 🤨 I thought it said Clitoris!?! 🙃
“Glitoris…? 🤨 I thought it said Clitoris!?!”🙃 Giggles, chuckles, deep belly laughs and even a snort from the group of friends ensue. Admittedly, the Glit Gang have witnessed this response once or twice or maybe a few thousand times before… But this delight never gets old. We relish in the joy from the discovery. The A-HA! Moment of what is a very clever pun for a glitter biz.
But beyond being a bit of a laugh, an effin awesome pun, and a great marketing ploy, there is so much more to this name than first meets the eye 👁️.
As we grew from a small glitter gang to a nation-wide glitter biz, so did the meaning and values attached to our name. So gather round young 👶 and old 👵🏽, I am going to tell you a secret tale: the story of why-oh-why we are called Glitoris. And more importantly, why we are bloody proud that that is our name.
⏰ Waayyyy back to the beginning.
It's a bit hard to actually pinpoint the beginning of “Glitoris'' as a “business”. If I am honest, the concept was spawned from a sequence of by-chance events. The founders of Glitoris: Victoria May, Ali Gay and myself (Grace Richards) had a long term obsession with dressing up, fashion (aka farshun darllling), festivals, festival farshun 💃 and, indeed, glitter ✨✨✨.
Most likely this stems from our performing arts days when we became members of a Tassie youth contemporary dance company - Stompin. It was at Stompin that we all met. At this time, we had a life that seemed to orbit the arts.
We were known as always having glitter.
Always seen wearing glitter.
Always talking about glitter.
Always rambling about a glitter biz (mostly after a few drinks).
Always doing other people’s glitter. (I recall a NYE festival pre-Glitoris where I did over 50 friends glitter - all while working my other event job. Shhhhhssh!)
Image: The morning of a festi. The afternoon of a festival.
We were also keen festival goers and did anything we could to attend festivals en masse - and soon had to find ways around the entry fees, working and volunteering wherever we could. It was around the time a group of our friends started a festival called Party in the Paddock (PITP). Turns out, this festival was fated to be the start of something truly, and quite literally, beautiful. 🌻🌸💐
The day 📆 we were named.
Though I can’t quite remember when the business first officially started, I can pinpoint the exact moment when the name Glitoris was founded. I’ll take you on a journey back to that moment. It was early in December 2014. We, the founders, had attended our favourite-of-all-favourite music festivals - Meredith Music Festival (MMF). We had spent the weekend raising our boots 🥾 to our favourite artists, lazing on couches 🛋️, toasting sunsets 🌅, dressing as mermaids 🧜♀️ and covering ourselves head to toe in glitter🌟 #BLISS.
At one point, while dressed as mermaids at MMF, the seed for a glitter biz was planted. We couldn’t leave the idea alone, and continued jabbering about a glitter biz non-stop on the drive home. Dusty and tired, we finally arrived back at my Melbourne terrace share house fondly known as “Station Street” in Carlton North. A brainstorm to find our name was suggested (most likely by Hailey Cooperrideer who is undeniably the best collaborator, game maker and naming genius known to humankind. And if you hadn't guessed it yet… Hails is credited with the naming of Glitoris.)
We got out the whiteboard markers and the house's tiny whiteboard. Names were scrawled onto the board.
”Mermaids on acid?”
Nothing seemed to fit, so I suggested “I kinda want something that is like glitter plus a body part.” Glitter + a body part was written on the board.
Finally the 💡 lightbulb💡 moment and Hailey (the aforementioned genius) proclaimed “It has got to be Glitoris.” This was the first time anyone would ROFL, giggle, chuckle, deep belly laugh or snort at our new name. It was an instant winner. 🏆
We mulled it over for a few seconds and that was that. BOOM 👏🏻. CRASH💥. POW 👊🏽.
We were Glitoris. It all made sense.
(Also because Ali and I had taken to glittering our vulvas earlier in the year. Funnily enough it was at a MMF sister event - Golden Plains. It was honestly all too fitting.)
Image: Amazing artist @Carabrooks recreates the day the seed of an idea for Glitoris was created using the actual glitter we used on the day. Featuring Ali Gay + and Me (Grace Richards).
Thanks 🙌 to Hails + her brain 🧠 + her vag.
So whenever I am asked “why Glitoris?” I am transported back to this day, to the kitchen of Station Street. Sitting with my gal pals having a laugh 🤣 about glitter and vaginas.
I will admit vulvas’s were often a topic of conversation around this time... It was also during this time that Hails, a proud trans woman, was to embark on a new part of her transition journey. I haven’t transitioned. So I will never know what this is truly like. Nor can I comment on this experience.
What I can say is that to me it seems fitting that the most awesome, proud, beautiful trans women named our business at this time. I see the name Glitoris as an ode to her. It’s a subtle shout out. I am forever grateful for her, her brain 🧠, vag, this community, and this time. 🙏🙏🙏
Glitoris = inclusion.
We were proud we chose a name that steered clear of the usual glitter puns and rhetoric around “bohemian ✌️ free-spirited lifestyles.” Some other cosmetic brands have unknowingly fallen into this trap choosing words that offensive or derogatory to particular minorities e.g. "gypsy" and "tribe." But that is a story for another day...
I guess thats Glitoris icon manifests itself a bespoke set of FAT in-your-face braces. An embrace if you will 👐. Really its just like a 2 am -post-rave-cuddle 🤗 from a very new d-floor b3stie this symbol represents the act of a warm, genuine hug. The moment of an embrace.
We see our purpose, as the act of creating/bringing together a community, celebrating our uniqueness, and embracing everyone equally. At Glitoris everyone is invited and everyone is included. We wanted a symbol to represent this great love... But also be an artistic vag. Obvs we love a fanny pun.
And though we haven’t named ourselves using a slur, the name ‘GLITORIS’ certainly has not existed without some of its own controversy.
The insanity 👻 of the "Glitoris" controversy.
When we were starting out, it became apparent that some people found this name “shocking” or “obscene” or “inappropriate.”
We were asked to change our name.
We were told other brands would not like to sit alongside us.
We were told we would never be able to advertise on tv, in print or on social media.
We were told that Glitoris was inappropriate for children (we often tell super young kids our name is pronounced “Glitter-us”).
To us this all sounded insane 👻👻👻. A clitoris is anatomical. It is a body part! I mean, you wouldn’t get offended if our name was “arm-or-is” or “leg-or-is or even “fing-er-oris.”
Glitoris is about all liberating bodies.
In Western society, there has been a long held double standard between female and male genitalia and sexual expression. A woman’s body is more sexualised, objectified and censored than a man’s. Nipple liberation is a great example of this. Men were lucky enough to liberate their nipples in the 1940s… while women are still fighting today to free theirs “#FreeTheNipple.”
Image: Free the nipple Glitoris style.
As a blanket rule, our culture has long associated anything ‘sexual’ with being obscene. Which has meant the “clitoris” has long been a no go topic area. #Obscene. Kids don’t learn about female genitalia in the same way they do about mens genitalia. As a result many people know very little about the clitoris. In 2017 Alli Sebastain Wolf created an artwork aimed to combat this. Also known as the “Glitoris”, the piece aimed to raise awareness about the intricacies of female genitalia.
We live in a society where women’s bodies continue to be both a political battleground and, often, a mystery to their owners. We aim to challenge this. We love that our name normalises the word clitoris.
And in case I haven’t already made this explicit: Please, let’s stop being so afraid of women’s bodies… including the clitoris, shall we? (That was obviously a rhetorical question; the answer is definitely yeeessssss!)
Image: Yeah. Let's stop being afraid.
Glitoris is about celebrating people + striving for equality 👩🏾👶🏼🧏🧓🏾👨🏿🦲👨🏻.
Yes we will admit that at our core we are, not so subtly, feminists. But more than that, we believe in all types of equality. Our gang often describes themselves with a plethora of -ists. Although we are not perfect activists (or people for that matter), we strive to be better and whenever we can, we join pride marches, eat vego, promote body positivity and fight gender inequality and racism 👩🏾👶🏼🧏🧓🏾👨🏿🦲👨🏻.
When it comes down to it, we 💖 love people. We love + honour differences.
Glitoris is simply not just a place to buy sh*t. Being “glitorised” is an experience; an experience of people connecting. (There is nothing more personal, more intimate than getting your face glittered by a total stranger… except, of course, getting your bum 🍑 glittered by a total stranger.)
In our staff induction manual (how profesh does that sound?), the first thing we talk about is the importance of inclusivity. From day dot, we stand for acceptance and non-judgment. 👊🏾 Glitoris is intended to be a place where everyone gets celebrated 🙌🏽 (because you’re god damn magical and don’t you forget it.)
Glitoris is about 👅 tongue-in-cheek light-hearted fun.
So yes, we are a hybrid of in-your-face feminism ♀️ but also gentle indirect lightweight fun. Many people just get this. Most wanna join our party. We have been clickbait for Pedestrian and the front-butt of the joke for many other media orgs.
I love the idea that we straddle a position of being “informed hardarses,” with a subtle refusal to take life (and ourselves) too seriously. 😛 We have a secret ethos that we can tackle the challenges of today, while having a really good time. We are about pleasure and colour. Fun times. About friendships and feeling goooood.
The glitter tent ⛺ today is reminiscent of festival days with my best friends. We would sit around a camp esky, champagne in one hand, brush in the other.
Talking 👄. Debating 💬. Celebrating 🙌🏻. Loving ❤️. Glittering ✨.
And this is the essence that I hope our name, or our biz, never loses. ;)
Lots of love, Grace = founder + bo$$ biach of Glitoris.