Meet: Hazel Mead
Never afraid to talk about taboo topics from periods and female sexuality to ego and humanity, we caught up with illustrator turned author and full-time feminist Hazel Mead as she celebrates the launch of her brand new book ‘Why Aren’t We Talking About This?!’... Readers: Keep reading to see how you can WIN a copy of Hazel’s new book!
Hey Hazel! From viral illustrations to the release of your debut book, for those you haven’t heard of Hazel Mead (PSA: where have you been?!) can you describe what you do in five words?
Drawings to provoke the mind
They certainly do! Talking of… congratulations on the release of Why Aren’t We Talking About This?! Can you tell us what to expect in this illustrated guide to life?
Thank you so much! This book is essentially the life lessons we never got but desperately needed while entering and navigating this beautifully messy adult life. It’s the crucial bits that we should really be talking about. From vital health information: how to check your boobs and balls, what your period could be telling you, how to maintain mental health, all the way to some more nuanced discussions.
All are packaged in a playful, beautiful way through infographics, comics and standalone pieces of art, it tackles consent, the ego, healthy relationships to the ‘definition’ of good sex.
We loved discovering more about those important subjects in Why Aren’t We Talking About This?! We especially loved the pieces on tracking your periods and explaining what the clitoris really is: which ‘taboo’ topics did you enjoy researching the most?
It was one of the first chapters I wrote: “What is sex?” I really enjoyed delving into the history behind the construct of virginity. How societal expectations and shame around sex came to fruition in the first place and how they still impact many commonly upheld beliefs today.
What’s the greatest myth you debunked in this book?
That period pain is normal - I think it’s important not to normalise period pain! If your period is debilitating, that can actually be a sign that something more serious is going on and should be checked. For those who do have periods, pain, a lack of period, or changes in your period can be indicators of what else is going on in your body.
It totally needs to be normalised - we’re clutching a hot water bottle as we speak! What made you start tackling taboo subjects through illustration?
While studying fine art and illustration at university. I had a bit of a daring edge, at the time I wanted to be a political cartoonist - the nature of that work pushes the boundaries of what you can and can’t say.
But it was when I started attending women’s health events and talks around endometriosis, vaginismus, periods, and pain that I felt empowered. Hearing others being so open and sharing personal stories made me feel like I could also share personal things. It was powerful, and I knew that was what I wanted to start doing with my work. Making others feel less alone and opening up conversations with what I knew best - drawing!
And you’ve totally made that happen! If you could gift a copy of Why Aren’t We Talking About This?! to anyone, who would it be?
I wrote it for my younger self and anyone of that age! So perhaps I would borrow a time machine and fly back and give it to 16-year-old me, in a comforting “Hey, it’s okay, you’re normal, you’re not alone, others struggle too” sort of way.
If not that (because I don’t think it’s wise to mess with time travel if I’m honest), then to my younger siblings, which I’ll be doing for sure!
Let’s leave the time travelling to the experts - haha! Have you got any exciting adventures coming soon?
I’m going on a short break with my besties to be cosy, play board games and go for cute walks! Does that count? I’m very excited about it! Workwise, I’m attending Eroticon, a sex writer’s conference, so I’m excited to get lots of inspiration and creative fuel there!
Make like Hazel and reach for statement-making earrings.
Sounds great! Quickfire round…
Choose one: Earrings or Necklaces?
I do have a wonderful Tatty Devine Lion Necklace, but you’ll catch me in earrings most of the time!
What are you listening to right now?
I’m catching up on Esther Perel’s podcast 'Where Shall We Begin?’... think couples therapy! I’m also listening to Stephen Fry’s ‘Mythos’ audiobook all about Greek mythology.
Who should we follow on Instagram right now?
It depends on your vibe!
For some beautiful art: Maria Corte and Malika Favre
For some useful knowledge: Karen Gurney aka The Sex Doctor and Anxiety Josh
For a cute dog - ‘Lil Hobbs’
It’s drawing time: Pencil on paper or digital drawing?
Right now, digital drawing for me!
Thanks, Hazel. Competition time! Head to our Instagram for your chance to WIN a copy of Hazel’s ‘Why Aren’t We Talking About This?!’ plus our bestselling Viva La Vulva Necklace in PINK…
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