Why We Need Women, Weed & Wifi

The female-run art collective Women.Weed.Wifi is nowhere near as half-baked as its name implies

Photography by Allyce Andrew

www3Sharing a common love of marijuana and the internet, Women.Weed.Wifi is a female-run art collective which also produces a quarterly zine and occasional pop-up shops. Founded by Amanya Maloba and Janice Ibarra and based in Seattle (where the plant and its derivatives are, luckily, legal), the collective focuses on elevating the works of female artists and their “haze-induced escapades.” As proclaimed in their site’s manifesto, “Women.Weed.WiFi is a space dedicated to highlighting badass chicks who pursue their dreams, are committed to building strong communities, and share the same love of cannabis.”

Though largely de-stigmatized in its home base of Seattle, the normalization of women who smoke is still somewhat lacking, particularly in comparison to men. In other areas of the US and world where marijuana has a legalized or decriminalized status, gender stereotypes regarding marijuana use can be even more pronounced. Cannabis culture itself all-too-often reinforces traditional gender roles. The term “stoner”, for example, has historically been reserved for men, with most television and film depicting smokers as variations of an underachieving bro caricature. “From The Big Lebowski to Seth Rogen movies, popular culture has depicted the common weed smoker as a lazy dude”, Time notes. “Examples of women casually smoking in films—Annie Hall, Nine to Five—have been the exception rather than the rule. They have quickly discovered that responsibility and weed don’t mix: Lindsay on Freaks and Geeks learns she can’t indulge like her male friends can because she has responsibilities as a babysitter; Nancy loses her perfect suburban life after she starts dealing on Weeds; even the girls on That ’70s Show knew to keep their smoking habits to the basement, unlike their male counterparts.”

www5Women.Weed.Wifi therefore plays a subversive and impactful role in squashing the stereotypical expectations around women as creatives and imbibers. “Women Weed & Wifi is a space devoted to increasing the knowledge and familiarity of marijuana within the general public as well as showcasing the brains and beauty of the women who smoke it”, co-founder Amanya explains. “I want to share honestly and openly my discoveries so that we can continue to de-stigmatize marijuana use and encourage people, especially women, to become more informed users.”

The collective accomplishes this goal by giving relatable, practical advice and female-focused information about various strains and marijuana-related products—but also by providing women with a platform to express themselves while removing potential biases against their personal habits. In various parts of their website – such as their “Artist Spotlight” series, Wise Women – the collective provides “a different look at the weed industry”, which is traditionally male-dominated and predominately white. Ultimately, all of this comes together to let Women.Weed.Wifi open up canna-culture to include women of all colors and orientations unabashedly speaking out about marijuana consumption.

Though seemingly inconsequential, how we view women who enjoy getting high is inextricably tied to other gendered judgments, such as how we view women who dress, look or act a certain way. Providing a platform to change these ideas, particularly in the borderless, cross-genre and far-reaching way the internet can, changes social conceptions and fills a large void in representation—for women as well as minorities. The subtle, THC-infused dismantling of stereotypes Women.Weed.Wifi aims for is perhaps risible to some, but it is nonetheless pertinent and necessary.

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