A Disgraceful inspiration
Melissa Hawkins is currently in her second year of studying BA (Hons) English with Publishing at Plymouth and in her role as founder and editor-in-chief she published the first issue of the brand new Disgraceful magazine on 1 December 2020.
The concept for Disgraceful was formed from an idea Melissa had queuing up in Tesco one day during the first lockdown period earlier in the year – however, the force behind the magazine manifested itself years prior.
“At eighteen, I left college with an abundance of ideas but no actual idea of where to take them. I was working at my local supermarket and had recently been made a duty manager; the pay was good, I enjoyed the job and the long shifts were made up for by the people I worked with.
“However, despite my role, and the differentiating uniform that came with it, it was clear that the majority of customers (often men) who came into the shop had a very hard time accepting I could be in charge when I was a woman.”
A Disgraceful mission
The experience Melissa gained in management was far from similar to those of her male colleagues, even after leaving her supermarket role – a string of retail jobs proved to be no different.
“64% of women have experienced microaggressions at work, including sexism, racism and elusive comments. Women are three times more likely to consider leaving a job due to this issue; an issue that, by the age of twenty-one, I had already experienced more than once. This needs to change.
“Disgraceful's mission is to claim space in this world where women are expected to do the opposite; in a world where women are pushed to be thinner, talk less and smile more.”
Melissa used her creativity and range of skills and experience within marketing, PR and events management to make Disgraceful a magazine created, designed and written by and about women, for women.
She held an internship placement at Penguin Random House in 2019 and has had six months as a social media marketing intern at the University this year.
Melissa is also the founder and owner of Feed, a female-run brand management agency working to close the the entrepreneurial gender gap.
“The publishing industry has always fascinated me and the modules on my course at Plymouth fuelled my eagerness for some real industry experience. However, with the pandemic and general lack of opportunities within the industry to learn, I decided to create a platform that created opportunities not only for myself, but for the people who came to work with me.”