My First Time

Stories of first time experiences from women like you

Who is Jen Thorpe?

Jen Thorpe Profile Picture
Jen Thorpe

As this project requires the submission of stories of a sensitive nature and often on topics that are personal, it is probably worth explaining who I am. After all, why would you submit a story to an anonymous stranger without any idea of what they’re about?

If you had to put me in a box I’m a feminist writer and researcher.

You can follow me on Twitter at

I live in Cape Town. I was raised by my mom, and I have one sister. They are both incredible women and inspire me all the time. As do all the other female members of my family.

I have a masters degree in Politics from Rhodes University where my focus was on gender politics and particularly the impact of scripts of femininity on young women. I am a feminist and think that is an incredibly cool thing to be in a world that seems to think women’s rights are already achieved. I also have a masters in Creative Writing from UCT and my first novel, The Peculiars, was published in 2016.


I have a blog with the Mail and Guardian which I try to use to get women’s rights and issues of social justice into public discussion. I also write for Women24, Women and Girls Hub and a range of other women-orientated sites trying to get these issues in the media.

In the 2010 June 16th edition of the newspaper I was listed as one of the 200 Young People in South Africa that you should take to lunch. In the 2011 June edition of CLEO magazine, I was featured as a blogger for this blog. In August 2010 an article I wrote called ‘Why It’s Not Ok Not To Be A Feminist’ that appeared in the South Africa Marie Claire. I was a finalist in the 2010 Women’s Learning Partnership essay competition where I wrote about Gender Based Violence as one of the primary problems facing South African women. In 2011 I was nominated as one of 75 Young African Women Leaders and was privileged enough to meet Michelle Obama in Johannesburg. In 2013 I was awarded the Emerging Old Rhodian Award from Rhodes University that celebrates people who are doing well early on in their career. In 2014, I attended the African Women’s Development Fund Creative Non-Fiction writing workshop.

I’m committed to making women’s lives better. Whether that is through research, or writing or shouting from the rooftops.


Because I know women who have succeeded in life despite abuse, poverty, illness and despair. I know that women can provide comfort, love and compassion in infinite volumes in ways that supercede logic and understanding; and I know that each woman in this journey, whatever it may be, sometimes needs help.

There is nothing better than a hand extended to help you when you need it, and so I’m just trying to keep my hand extended. It’s that simple really.


24 thoughts on “Who is Jen Thorpe?

  1. Hi Jen,
    I’m the features editor of Marie Claire. I’m working on a debate ‘Is it ok not to be a feminist?’ and thought that you would be the right person to argue the NO side of the debate. please drop me a mail,


  2. Hi Jen
    I would like to say I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy this blog. It’s actually my first time on here today (ha ha!) and I am inspired, I am refreshed, I am moved by these stories. Thank you. I am inspired by people like you, who are true to themselves in their aspirations and thus allow the greatness of their spirits to shine through. I only wish the best for you and the work that you do. May you grow from strength to strength!


  3. I may be biased as you are my sister but I am truely proud of you every day.
    What you are doing is amazing and the stories that I have read on this site have moved me in so many ways as I am sure they have many others who have read them.
    Thank you for giving people a way to voice their issues and stories in a way that they may never have had the opportunity to do before.
    You really are awesome.
    Love you


  4. What an awesome project, and I love that you are running it.
    There really are som incredibly inspiring and powerful stories here. And i’m so glad they are being told.

    I hope the project keeps running for a long time to come!


  5. What an amazing and energetic woman you are! I’m pretty sure I’m not a feminist. I think I’m too old (48) and too acustomed to depending on men for everything. You’re world sounds like a wonderful, far away place and I applaud you so much. God bless you for all that you do! 😀


  6. My friend you have given so many women out there a voice and a platform to air their stories in secret, not be judged and just write. It’s phenomenal. You’re phenomenal.

    I ❤ you 🙂



  7. Reading peoples comments about you and knowing what a brilliant, dedicated, hard-working, strong and confident person you are – I am so lucky to have you as a friend. And proud. You ARE making a difference. You are my hero 😉
    Love you


  8. I typically don’t write comments on posts, but your write-up urged me to commend your writings. Thanks for writing this, I will surely favorite your website and come back once in awhile. Pleased blogging.


  9. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!


  10. Hi Jane…
    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I am a producer with SAfm Morning live and would like to get in touch with you. It is Christmas eve I know, if you can spare 5min. It would be great.
    Please drop me an email ( with your number. It would be great if we could chat a bit.

    Thank you.


  11. Hi Jen,
    I too am a feminist researcher living in cape town and I am just at the beginning of my journey trying to compile a masters thesis of women’s subjective experiences of termination of pregnancy. I would love to chat to you and hear your thoughts on this matter. I have also just finished devouring your “My First Time” book in two sittings and finding it so interesting to be immersing myself in women’s voices again.
    Please let me know if you are interested in chatting.
    Thandi Mills


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