Shanae Fyke (left) and Jenessa Greer (right) pose in front of room 207 in Luther College, where they met in a Women and Gender Studies class. Photo by Jayda Noyes.

 

Two University of Regina students have created an Instagram account for women to support each other.

Founders Shanae Fyke and Jenessa Greer say @bloom.grl is a safe place for women to open up about their struggles. Issues discussed there include abusive relationships, motherhood and body image.

Fyke and Greer created @bloom.grl in October 2017 and currently have over 500 followers.

@bloom.grl’s logo is a sketch of Greer and Fyke with flowers as heads. They each hold a watering can over the other to symbolize helping each other grow.

Noyes Bloom Logo Web

One of the pictures they posted is of Barbie getting plastic surgery. In the caption, Fyke and Greer say neither of them are society’s ideal woman. Greer is “5’10 and full figured.” Fyke is “known as ‘too curvy’ with stretch marks and scars covering her body.”

They ask their followers what features they have that don’t fit society’s ideal view of beauty.

One comment is “small boobs (which i love), scars and acne.”

In another comment, a hockey player says she wasn’t “looked at as a girl,” but “can lift more than most guys.”

“I think that’s so important,” Fyke says, "just to have people behind you that you don’t usually have.”

She says their intention is not to teach people or to speak for them.

“As we are both privileged people, we feel like there’s a point where we can’t just hide behind our privilege and we need to do something to help other people,” Greer says.

Fyke and Greer met in a Women and Gender Studies Class. They found they had the same values and dreams of helping other women.

“We were just sitting there one day doing homework,” Fyke says. “We were like let’s just dive in.”

Greer says experiences at bars are one thing that encouraged her to create @bloom.grl. “Guys just think they can grab your boob, your bum…what gives them that source of entitlement that they think they can do that?”

Fyke and Greer say their hopes for @bloom.grl in the future are to reach a younger audience. They want to speak to schools, community groups, and non-profit organizations.

They want girls to “know right away that they don’t have to go through these more or less bad experiences and have to learn from them, but they go into life already knowing what to expect and have a set of tools that they can combat that if those situations were to arise,” Greer says.

Fyke says their 10-year goal is to do interactive workshops. Further on, they would like to start a camp where they can share self-care tips.

@bloom.grl emphasizes vulnerability because it encourages women to share their stories. “We kind of lost that as women,” Fyke says.

She says “It’s so important to be vulnerable because it allows you to reach different states of your own being.”

“Women need to know that they can stand up for themsel[ves], and when they do, there’s a whole group of women behind them,” Greer says.

Fyke and Greer are also preparing a speech for The Storyteller’s Club. They will be giving the speech on March 30 on this month’s theme, young bright minds.  

This is one of the steps to Fyke and Greer’s long-term goals for @bloom.grl.