On screen, Legends of Tomorrow’s Caity Lotz and The Flash’s Candice Patton help save the world on a weekly basis as their characters battle metahumans, aliens, and even the occasional demon. But off screen, the actors are focused on a different battle: combating the notion that women should see one another as competition. “Society has pinned women against each other,” Lotz says. “There’s always this feeling of there’s only one seat at the table and if you want it, you better tear that other girl down. But if we want to reach equality, we have to lift each other up.” In order to do that, Lotz and Patton founded Shethority, a digital space where women can come together and, quite simply, talk.
The idea was solidified during the filming of the 2016 Arrowverse crossover, which brought together characters from four CW superhero shows — Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. While their characters teamed up in front of the camera, the women found themselves talking more and more in-between takes. “It’s usually one or two women on each show and all the sudden there were five or six of us and we started really talking,” Lotz says. What resulted was a conversation so impactful that the actors decided they wanted to involve others, from other actors to fans. So together, they launched social media handles for Shethority in October of 2017. “We want it to be a safe space for female-identifying humans,” Legends of Tomorrow star and Shethority member Maisie Richardson-Sellers says. “People can come here, share their stories and be heard.”
Less than a year later, Shethority has more than 120,000 followers and is feeling timelier than ever. “There’s been this movement of female empowerment and women standing up and asking for what they deserve and demanding respect and equality,” Patton says. “Shethority came around the time of the #MeToo and all of these other movements, and I think it has to do with where we are in our society.” Lotz, Patton, and other women use the Shetority pages to talk about what’s affecting them, and they encourage fans to do the same. So far, members have posted about everything from gun violence to body image. “There is no substitute for the authenticity of actually talking to one another,” Arrow star and Shethority member Emily Bett Rickards says. “Any question you have, most likely someone else is having as well. You’re continually learning about yourself and the people around you.” Patton adds, “We found that the more women speak to each other and speak truthfully, we have way more in common than we have differences.”
That conversation has only just begun. On Monday, Lotz and Patton, along with Shethority COO Lynn Sounakhene, launched the Shethority website, which gives members the ability to talk about their experiences in more detail by writing articles or creating longer videos. Additionally, the website features a tab where people can buy merchandise through Represent. The majority of the proceeds from those purchases will go to an organization that highlights female empowerment, with the chosen organization changing every few months. “We need very little money to keep Shethority afloat, so we thought to use the rest of it and give to causes that speak to us and what we’re trying to do,” Patton says. After already donating money to Girls, Inc. and Girls Not Brides, Shethority is currently looking to help GirlForward, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced globally by conflict and persecution.
As for what comes next, there are almost too many ideas: Shethority block party! Shethority convention! Shethority book club! There are no limits to the ways in which Shethority aims to bring women together. But regardless of the method, the goal remains the same: Shethority will include as many different voices as possible to show that women are stronger together. “So often we smother our own lights, and we allow society to smother our lights,” Richardson-Sellers says. “Part of Shethority is just giving people permission to shine.”