If you know Girls Related - After Dark (a.k.a. GRAD), then you will understand my struggle at putting the group into words. If you don’t know GRAD, then let me introduce you to this wonderful world where women talk openly about sex.
Girls Related: After Dark is a Facebook group made up of over 100,000 women based in New Zealand and Australia. Members make posts to the group, which go through admins and often come with the tagline along the lines of “sorry to anyone here who knows me xx”.
Despite those taglines, the posts are unapologetic. They’re explicit. Scrolling through the group is like ripping open the sealed section of Dolly magazine, but on Facebook. The spirit, of celebrating sex while also laughing at ourselves, is the same.
There are embarrassing stories, but there’s no shame. There’s just a whole lot of roasting bad Tinder pick-up lines. And god, some of the posts are good. The all-women space is like a giant group chat with no holds barred.
I think the peak of GRAD is roasting men. Not in a mean way, but in a way that rightfully calls out inappropriate comments and gross unsolicited behaviour. By posting those screenshots in the group, our bad experiences become communal and we can support each other. GRAD is a platform for female solidarity.
Bad sexual experiences, whether on dating apps or in person, feel shameful if we don’t share them. Part of GRAD’s appeal is that it obliterates that shame by showing us that actually, this happens to everyone. It draws a line and says actually, this happens a lot and it’s not okay. Plus, it allows women to share tips on ways to artfully shut down unsolicited requests for nudes or respond to men who are body shaming.
I got added to the group when a friend giggled and showed me a stupid meme of a vibrating dildo spinning around on a table. Back then, there were around 20,000 members. That membership has increased significantly, but the hatred that often comes with large Facebook groups is rare in GRAD.
I’m not saying that the group is perfect. Although GRAD includes all women, the posts are predominantly from cissexual, heterosexual women. I haven’t seen any problematic behaviour but undoubtedly, it does exist.
But the admins are active. They seem to do a great job – more than most Facebook groups I’ve seen – of shutting down people who are being hateful or mean or giving unsolicited and inaccurate advice. It’s refreshing to see a Facebook group where the comments are mainly just people laughing, sharing similar experiences, or empathising with the original poster.
GRAD is unique because it’s a place where women can be sex positive and proud of it. The admins have taken Facebook, a platform that is often used to objectify women and slut-shame, and turned it into a celebration of female sexuality. In my opinion, we all need more sex positivity on social media. That is what GRAD provides.Support Villainesse