Skip to main content

A grrl who punches back

By Macy Brandon

With a strong awareness of social inequalities, Zoe Boggs, a 17-year-old rising senior at Durham Academy, is a writer for an online female empowerment magazine titled

“[Grrlpunch is] an online magazine made by young women, for young women,” Zoe said. She works for the magazine that began at her all-girls’ high school in Memphis, Tennessee, because “it is not really news writing. It is more about personal stuff, culture, and how culture is affected by and affects feminism.”

Zoe also makes sure to note that the mission statement of does not eliminate any readers of different demographics, but rather allows those who are not typically represented by the media as independent and powerful people, to be given much-deserved coverage.

The outspoken nature of Zoe’s writing and character is influenced by role models such as Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education; Amal Clooney, a barrister, or lawyer, who specializes in international law and human rights; and Mallory Ortberg, a co-founder of a feminist interest site.

Malala is one of Zoe’s bigger influences. “I just love how she stands up for what she believes in and even in the situation where it is dangerous for her to speak out, she is still so brave to fight for the future of the young women in her country.”

Coverage of feminism and current events are astronomically important to Zoe, and this happens by creating a more “balanced exposure” of different cultures and walks of life in entertainment and the news.

It can easily be seen how Malala is one of Zoe’s bigger influences. Zoe harbors the same passions to bring about social justice even when it may be seen as a strange or annoying thing—especially as the school she attends has a more conservative edge than her school in Memphis.

Her desire to write about the more edgy topics also translates into her aspirations to someday be working at The New York Times.  

With a strong love for how the paper covers “obscure topics that are oddly specific,” Zoe appreciates how the Times “allows the writer to really spend a long time delving into that [article] and, therefore, have the chance to meet people and write on a more personal level.”

Zoe also contributes her “thoughtful and in-depth” writing style to her school’s newspaper. Aside from writing, she works at a local diner and participates in the debate team and the gender and sexuality alliance.

Her ultimate goal is “to write creatively about something in the real world and about stuff that really affects people.”