Let’s Get HunReal: The Irish Huns Doing Their Bit For The #RepealThe8th Campaign

Time to get the Huns talking.

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It’s time to make informed political conversations something that’s part of the general discourse for every young female, and one woman who’s helping to make that happen is Andrea Horan.

As well as being one half of the #glam duo behind nail salon Tropical Popical, Andrea’s also a co-founder of The HunReal Issues, a project aiming to shed light on some of Ireland’s most pressing issues – such as abortion rights, bodily autonomy, consent and homelessness – in an accessible way. We spoke to her to find out how the project’s going so far – and what it takes to be as #hunreal as she is.

 

What inspired you to set up The HunReal Issues?

The HunReal Issues was a long time coming and it took a few starts before it saw the light of day. But when this year’s general election came a cropper, my interest was renewed. I started talking to my fave huns around town about who they were voting for, and the vast majority of them didn’t give a crap about the election, and more importantly didn’t know much about the issues that would fall out of it depending on the results.

I was pushed over the edge when the only coverage of the women’s issues associated with the election in some of the women’s media was how to style your hair on results day.

I realised what a powerful army all of these women who’d I’d spoken to during the GE could be if there was something to mobilise them politically so I sat down with a bottle of gin and The HunReal Issues was born.

Why do you feel it’s so important to start this kind of informed conversation?

If there are more female voices around women’s issues and more voters highlighting that women’s issues are red line issues for them, I think we’ll see politicians finally making them more of a priority.

It feels like there’s an echo chamber amongst the people who already get it and feel passionate about it and every step that can be taken to open it up is a good thing.

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What was most important to you when you were creating the HunReal platform?

I suppose the thing with HunReal is that I can really identify with it in that I’ve only really started to become interested in politics and the surrounding shenanigans pretty recently.

So I knew that the platform we created had to be something that would interest and mobilise people who had zero interest in politics. It’s not that we want to dumb it down, we just wanted to make it more relevant. We wanted to use colloquial language that people use every day rather than the usual straitlaced political mumbo jumbo.

We’re only in the first starting phase of it where we’re finding our feet but we want it to be a hub with info and shareable content that piques as many women and men’s interest as possible. It’s really important that whilst we’re very clearly dealing with women’s issues that men know they have such an important role to play in everything we do.

Who else is involved?

Aislinn Lawlor played a big role in all the initial planning and set up of HunReal together with myself and James Kavanagh. She’s since moved on so it’s myself and James now.

We’re a great team. James is fab as he feels more comfortable pushing boundaries than I do. I have a tendancy to err on the side of caution as I get so emotionally involved with trolls etc and he’s just like – fuck ‘em! I’m like the old, wise moral compass and he’s got the young devil-may-care role that the project really needs.

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How would you describe it – a blog, a news site or a way of spreading awareness?

I suppose it’s an information hub with a social stream to amplify whatever is on the site. We want it to be interactive and not just something that we control.

We’ve had so many people telling us their stories already. People are sweating to share and get involved in the conversation- we’re just trying to provide that inclusive platform.

Any other projects out there that you’re loving?

Anna Cosgrave’s REPEAL sweatshirts are so fab. They’re right up in your face, begging people to talk about the issues around the campaign.

At the moment you guys are focusing a lot on #repealthe8th and bodily autonomy. What inspired you to start off there?

First up, it affects so many people we both know. Also, I started keeping up to date with Parents For Choice a lot and when you get in to the nitty gritty of maternity care and how pregnant women lose so many of their rights within the Irish health services the moment they get pregnant, it’s enough to make you seriously angry.

As for abortion, it’s such a class issue. Women in direct provision, abusive relationships, or who simply can’t afford to leave the country are essentially being ignored by the law. We need to start trusting women to make the right decision about their own bodies.

What are some other issues you’re hoping to cover on HunReal down the line?

The link between Church and State is a big bone of contention for me, particularly in our education system.

Consent and rape culture are two other issues that Ireland needs to get its head around.

Then there’s body positivity. Female homelessness. We’re not short on issues anyway…

How has the response been so far?

The best thing about this whole project has been the people who’ve sent us messages thanking us for talking about it so openly.

If what we’re doing helps even one person to know that they’re not alone, well isn’t that the best you can hope for?

 

James Kavanagh, Panti Bliss and Vogue Williams have all given a shite so far, but who’s your dream contributor?

Obviously Bette Midler or Goldie Hawn, cos we think they’re fab.

But in terms of our audience, it would be a dream to see the Kardashians use their platforms for good. They have so much influence over so many of the women of Ireland (and the world obvs) and I’ve spent so much time talking and arguing about what they’ve achieved, I’d love for them to use their power and platforms for a women’s social revolution.

With Tropical Popical and this you have a LOT on your plate – what’s a day in your life like at the moment?

It’s actually just your average day, to be honest. I’d become quite desk reliant over the last while which meant I was missing out on the whole reason I set up Tropical Popical: to hang out and have the chats in the nail bar. So now I’m spending more time in TropPop and more time being HunReal!

What do you see down the line for The HunReal Issues?

Who knows?! We set it up so that it could be very malleable with different issues all the time. I’d hate to have built this up into something gorge with an empowered audience and then to see it wither and die when the Eighth is repealed (which has to be soon, right?). Our hope is to build a community of women and men who support other women through lots of different issues. Essentially we’re a support group!

How can people get involved?

Follow our channels, sign up for our newsletter, talk to your TD’s, talk to your fella and his friends, have the chats with your family. Don’t be afraid to be HunReal.

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