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Working Women: Portraits of WWII’s female factory workers
10.30.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
WWII

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Miss M. Greatorex: a war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
The coloring and composition of some of these photographs look like paintings by the great Dutch masters, but they were taken by photographers from the Ministry of Information to document working life on the British homefront during the Second World War.

Women workers were essential to the war effort, and although working class women had been working prior to the war, the number of British women workers involved in heavy industry increased “from 19.75% to 27% from 1938-1945.” The number of skilled and semi-skilled female workers working in the engineering industry increased from 75% to 85% between 1940 and 1942. However, as documented in The Economic History Review the rates of pay for women—surprise, surprise—were less than their male counterparts.

The photographs are part of the Imperial War Museums’ history of modern Britain’s “wartime experience,” and more images can be seen here.
 
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Mrs. C. Graham, war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
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Unnamed war worker involved in milling breech blocks, 1943.
 
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Miss Miriam Highams welding the saddle of a 25 pounder gun.
 
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Women at work in a makeshift factory, 1943.
 
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Mrs. Chaulkey, portrait of a war worker, 1943.
 
More women war workers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Hey baby: Woman walks around NYC for 10 hours, is harassed 100 times, the supercut
10.28.2014
12:56 pm

Topics:
Feminism

Tags:
NYC
street harassment


 
I think a lot of women in New York (or any dense urban area, really) fantasize about walking around with a hidden camera. Sometimes the shit that men feel entitled to say to you is so baffling, you feel like you need an audio-visual record of it for people (well, other men, really) to believe it. There is no response that will assuredly get you out of this unwanted situation. Something as formal as a brief nod in their direction might inspire them to follow you up the street, but ignoring them can be just as bad, since a certain kind of guy is terrifyingly infuriated by being ignored—it’s a very short trip from “hey baby” to “fuck you, bitch!” and you’re never sure what kind of a dude you’re dealing with.

I see a lot of guys in the comment section of this video defending the men who are just rattling off the more seemingly-innocuous greetings, so let me relay to you my best/worst New York City cat-calling story.

One morning, when I was walking to work, I was about ten feet behind a guy on the sidewalk. Across the street was a woman struggling with two very full grocery bags in her arms, and a very tired-looking child. The guy was eyeing her, slowing down as she slowed down, waiting for an opportunity to say something to her, but she was obviously very busy. At one point, she looks back at her sleepy kid (who was maybe about four), says something and he nods. She then sets down her bags and purse. Her kid lifts up his shirt, and his mother pulls out a needle—this is all plainly visible.

The man then stops, and yells, “Hey baby! You got a man at home?!?” as she is administering insulin to her child on the street!

So for those of you protesting, “Oh that guy is just saying ‘hello!’—please keep in mind that it’s pretty difficult to enjoy a friendly greeting from a strange man after god-knows-how-much bullshit we may have already heard earlier that day. At the very least, save it for the bars—or better yet, join a dating service.

I assure you, you’ll make a better impression.
 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Future Feminism: Antony and the Johnsons’ stunning new concert film, ‘TURNING’


 
On November 10th and 11th, the new CD + DVD of Antony and the Johnsons live in concert TURNING film (co-directed by Antony Hegarty and video artist/filmmaker Charles Atlas) will be released respectively by Rough Trade in the UK and Europe and the Secretly Canadian label in North America.

TURNING is stunning, a magnificent and moving arthouse documentary/concert film of a fall 2006 tour of Europe. That live show featured Atlas’ live video portraiture of thirteen women in close-up as they were spinning on a human-sized turntable, like a nicely updated version of Andy Warhol’s “13 Most Beautiful Girls” screentests. These projected portraits are the backdrop of nuanced performances—alternately tender and forceful, joyous and bittersweet—by Antony and the Johnsons (Antony, Maxim Moston, Rob Moose, Julia Kent, Parker Kindred, Jeff Langston, and Thomas Bartlett), captured in London, Paris, Madrid, Rome and Braga.

You can watch the trailer for TURNING here.
 

 
I asked Antony and Charles some questions about TURNING via email.

The feminine energy that’s celebrated in TURNING isn’t entirely biological. I was wondering if you could clarify what your (preferred) definition of “femininity” is?

Antony: We all have bodies that naturally produce estrogen and testosterone, so I am a bit confused by your assertion about biology. My definition of femininity, which is always evolving, has partly to do with motherhood and the impulses of motherhood, to treasure, to protect, to nurture, to give selflessly. I have observed femininity often manifest as a greater sensitivity to one’s relationships with one’s surroundings, a heightened sense of oneself within space. I often think of the word femininity as congruous with creativity. Another feminine archetype is the capacity for intuitive and emotional intelligence.  On the other hand, there are the Kali-esque faces of femininity. But for me, even when femininity is destructive, as in the case for instance of a natural disaster, there is something essential about it; Nature is not frivolous in her violent manifestations. And inevitably, pastoral life flourishes in the the shadows of volcanic eruptions and tidal waves.
 

 
You’ve screened the film at festivals over the past two years. It’s not merely a concert film, there’s something deeper and much more profound going on; however the reviews I’ve read, some get it, and some plainly just didn’t. There’s that scene where the French press called the TURNING performance a “transsexual manifesto” which obviously illustrates this somewhat, but the New York Times focused on this as well in their brief review. Did you find that some audiences and critics were confused by what the “message” of TURNING is?

Antony: One of the reasons we made TURNING is because we were not sure we “got” TURNING ourselves! The form was mesmerizing and we just kind of fell into it. It came to mean a lot of different things to different people. For me, what is interesting and relevant about TURNING today is its intuitive embrace of the intersection between trans-feminism and “Future Feminism”, a genre of feminism that I have been working with several of the women involved in TURNING to articulate over the last few years.  At the heart of TURNING is the impulse to form a circle of community and create space for each other, to witness and empower one another.

Charles Atlas: Another reason we took charge of the filming and production of the TURNING film ourselves (rather than accepting offers from TV companies to make the film) was precisely to allow all of the meanings of TURNING to emerge. At the public screenings I attended and the follow-up Q & A’s, I felt the audience came away with the feeling of the universality of the message of self-actualization.
 

 
Aside from the beautiful production values, which I thought was stunning on every level—I mean THE BAND!—the backstage preparations, traveling and “sisterhood” aspects of the project were so fascinating. The thing that was so riveting to me—and I know some of the women who were onstage with you—was watching the faces of each of them as they listened to the lyrics, as if the songs were about them and about their own lives, struggles and triumphs. There seemed to be a “psychodrama” aspect to the performance for the “beauties.” The Puerto Rican girl, Nomi, at the beginning seemed like she’d experienced a sort of beatific transcendence about herself and her place in the world. Connie Fleming also seemed very deeply in thought in front of a few thousand people. Can you discuss this?

Antony: The process for the participants was intimately meditative and at the same time extroverted and performative. To be watched in a state of stillness, from every angle, challenged each of the subjects in different ways. There was a tremendous sense of support for each other amongst the models. Each person seemed to develop her own inner narrative that guided her on the pedestal. And for each of us, different things emerged from the process. In the concert itself, the models appeared anonymously; there were no life stories (besides mine, embedded in the song lyrics), only images of women from many ages, backgrounds and experiences. Behind the scenes, many feelings and ideas started to stir.

Charles Atlas: For me, the individuality of the women and their variety of experiences—in concert with Antony’s music, was deeply inspiring. At each performance I entered into the world of Antony’s music and was moved to create video mix portraits in the moment that attempted to rise to the level of beauty of that potent combination.
 

 
Below, Antony and the Johnsons perform a stunning version of “Twilight” while Johanna Constantine turns:

“The performance artist Johanna Constantine appeared as one of the 13 subjects in TURNING. Johanna and I met in our first year of university in California and she has been a huge influence on my life and work.  We moved to NYC together in 1992 and co-founded a late night performance collective called Blacklips. We have always considered ourselves two sides of a whole: she seems to present a threatening, alien, armored face, while as a singer I exhibit a vulnerable interior. As the years have worn on, we have subliminally exchanged these roles, even from minute to minute. Johanna Constantine is also a founding member of an exhibition project we are now working on called Future Feminism. We first coined the term “future feminism” to describe the work of a handful of female artists from NYC that work on a frontier by themselves, using their bodies as material, exploring themes of violence, femininity, alienation, innocence, eco-collapse and survivalism.”  Antony Hegarty

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Never look bored—or unconscious—even if you are: Tips for the single woman, 1938
10.24.2014
07:16 am

Topics:
Amusing
Feminism
History

Tags:
dating tips


 
And… THIS is how you land a man 1938-style. Now put a ring on it, dammit!

It was 1938 and times were oh-so-much different then. I always find these vintage “dating tips” for single women hilarious. I mean, “Don’t drink too much, as a man expects you to keep your dignity all evening. Drinking may make some girls seem clever, but most get silly” and “Careless women never appeal to gentlemen, Don’t talk while dancing, for when a man dances he wants to dance.” 

The last image in this series is the true winner though…
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Potty-mouthed Princesses: Which is more offensive: Sexism or little girls saying ‘f*ck’?
10.22.2014
06:15 am

Topics:
Feminism
Politics

Tags:
FCKH8
equal pay
girls


 
As far as ethical consumerism goes, FCKH8 is pretty unobjectionable to non-bigots. For a reasonable price, you get a T-shirts with an antisexist, anti-racist or anti-homophobic slogan on it—what the company calls a “mini-billboard for change.” They’re a for-profit company, but they’ve donated over $250,000 to LGBTQ charities, and $5 from every T-shirt, hoodie and tank from their anti-racist line goes to valid anti-racist organizations, including the Michael Brown Memorial Fund. Are we gonna save the world by buying stuff? No. But you gotta wear clothes, and a “Some kids are gay. That’s OK” T-shirt could be a lifeline to a lonely kid—especially if their community is less than queer-friendly.

Their latest commercial addresses sexism with a cute hook. A series of little girls (and one very fabulous little boy) are adorned in princess gear, but quickly drop the sweetie-pie act to lecture us on wage inequality and rape, with plenty of profanity thrown in for effect. The point is pretty clear—society is more offended by decorative profanity than it is economic discrimination or sexual assault. Curious to see if the pearl-clutching prigs were incensed, I checked the Facebook comments (why? I’m a masochist, I suppose). The Internet never fails to showcase the very worst of humanity, but I have to say, I’m a little surprised at how many people took the bait on this one!

Here are some highlights:

I would beat the living shit out of my child if they ever did this. Using bullshit facts and swearing to sell a shirt

You know they’re… child actors, right? Like, they didn’t hop a bus to a soundstage and produce a commercial on their own accord. You know that… right?

In do not think making little girl swear is what’s needed to create gender equalityz

This is actually one of the nicer criticisms. It lacks justification and completely misses the point, but the tone is so reasonable, I’m not even going to make fun of the spelling and grammar. This is literally the best of the negative comments. Thanks, lady for at least being a civil goody-goody.

The sheer absolute craziness of this feminist propaganda, embriguading young kids into being irrespectful and vulgar is absolutely…through the roof!

“Embriguading.” Not a word in any language. Google has no suggestions.
 

 

This video is basically what happens when the line isn’t drawn

Lines, people! We need some goddamn lines drawn! Without lines it’s gonna be goddamn anarchy!

I don’t care what the message is . If my 11 year old boy or girl talked like that they would be getting a boot in the ass and no phone till they graduate there’s your fucking equality

Actors. Child actors.

Naked facepalm. These kids are being fed propaganda of lies. Using “fuck” as just for shock value, which I also disagree with. Don’t remember Martin Luther King bringing in kids to use the word n*gger, but hey. It’s all and good for the wonderful name of feminism.

I don’t really have anything to say about this comment. I just want everyone to know that this guy’s Facebook name is “Samuel PunishedSnake Byram,” and his favorite sports is bikini wrestling.

Fuck up you grape looking slut

I was waiting for slut. Did not expect the “grape” part, nor do I quite understand it, but… points for originality? (A woman wrote that, by the way.)

I’m offended by it all. Kinda. I mean. I don’t really care if this girls are cursing. But some men look at women as trashy when they talk like that. *Shrugs*

Thank you for your invaluable contribution to the dialogue!

Disgusting way to send a “message”...through children who have no clue as to what they are saying; just a script written by adults. By the way, we’ve had laws in place for years re: equal pay. The parents of these children should be ashamed of themselves.


Of course they’re reading scripts! They’re actors! Does no one know what an actor is anymore? Is this a foreign concept to vast swaths of the Internet population?!?

Was my childhood some kind of free-range anomaly? I wasn’t allowed to cuss in public, but after a certain age, my mom was more concerned with me using cuss words effectively—Swear smart, kids! Don’t oversalt your food or your language! Have I spent too much time in New York? Are there really this many Helen Lovejoys left in the world? Check the video below—that is, if you’re not prone to fainting spells.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Never before seen photos of Sleater-Kinney


 
The turn-of-the-‘90s rock underground underwent an intense and desperately overdue conversation about the paucity of women on that scene, and the not-so-hot treatment of those who were there. Despite the inarguably crucial contributions of Siouxsie, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Exene Cervenka, the Slits, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon, and on and on and on, that scene was still largely the tribal domain of amped-up dudebros and snobby, kissless record collector boys, so women in bands got catcalled, and women who dared to brave the mosh pits were typically “rewarded” by being groped or worse.

Of course, the obvious rejoinder to the complaint that there weren’t enough women on the scene was “so start a band.” And holy shit, did young women ever do so in droves. The early ‘90s saw an explosion in female-led, female-dominated, and entirely female bands, most notably in the Riot Grrrl movement, which grafted then-nascent third wave feminism and queer theory onto punk’s who-needs-virtuosity ethos, resulting in some of the era’s most politically charged and musically potent rock. That outburst had a bland mainstream counterpart in the whole Lilith Fair trip, but Joan Osborne and her fake-ass nose ring never delivered anything like the visceral and cerebral thrills of Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and the Riot Grrrl band that found the widest audience, Sleater-Kinney.
 

 
Sleater-Kinney was formed in Olympia, WA by Corin Tucker of the ur-Riot Grrrl band Heavens to Betsey, and Excuse 17 guitarist Carrie Brownstein, now surely much better known for IFC’s hipster-poking sketch comedy series Portlandia. Their first three albums made them critical darlings, but 1997’s Dig Me Out is an undisputed classic, and was their first with drummer Janet Weiss, of the excellent and still active band Quasi. Four more albums followed, all of high quality—for what it’s worth, I’m most partial to One Beat—and in 2001, no less a monster of crit than Greil Marcus called S-K “America’s best rock band” in Time Magazine. Sleater-Kinney went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2006. Two and a half years ago, Brownstein told DIY Mag that Sleater-Kinney would play together again, but that again was two and a half years ago. In the meantime, the band’s members have played in Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sleater-Kinney’s formation, Sub-Pop is releasing a posh, limited box set called Start Together, containing all seven Sleater-Kinney LPs on colored vinyl (they’ll also be available separately on CD and plain old unspectacular non-showoffy puritanical black vinyl). Unfortunately there’s no rarities disc, but the set will come with a hardcover book containing scads of never before seen photos culled from the band members’ personal archives. Dangerous Minds was given a few of them to share with you.
 

 

 

 

 
Here’s something not enough people have seen—it’s Sleater-Kinney’s segment in Justin Mitchell’s 2001 documentary on D.I.Y. bands Songs For Cassavetes. The footage was shot in the Dig Me Out era, and includes live performances of the songs “Words & Guitar” and “Stay Where You Are,” plus some terrific interview footage.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Bette Davis speaks candidly about gender roles and sexism in little-heard interview, 1963
09.30.2014
01:14 pm

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
Bette Davis


 

“If men found out how to give birth to children they’d never propose again.” - Bette Davis

Blank on Blank dug up—and made a short animation to—a delightful taped interview with Bette Davis being interviewed in her home by entertainment columnist Shirley Eder in 1963.

Davis cuts through the bullshit and openly speaks her mind about gender roles, sexism in a male dominated workforce and marriage.

I think men have got to change an awful lot. I think somehow they still prefer the little woman. They’re just staying way, way behind and so as a rule I think millions of women are very happy to be by themselves, they’re so bored with the whole business of trying to be the little woman, when no such thing really exists anymore. It just simply doesn’t. This world’s gone way beyond it. The real female should be partly male and the real male should be partly female anyway. So if you ever run into that in either sex you’ve run into something very, very fine, I think.

Davis’ quick wit and no-nonsense POV makes me love her even more.

 
With thanks to David Gerlach!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Lydia Lunch wants to be Louis CK’s ‘friend with benefits’


 
This was uploaded a couple of months ago, and how I missed it for this long I do not know, but No-Wave high priestess Lydia Lunch has posted a video openly soliciting a sexual relationship with the doughy ginger comedian Louis CK. I found it on the Vimeo page of photographer Jasmine Hurst, at which, if you’re a fan of Lunch, you should really have a look, as it also contains a recording of her Future Feminism monologue from a couple of weeks ago.

But back to the wanting to eff Louis CK (OK, specifically, she suggests jacking/jilling off in front of each other, but tomayto/tomahto)—it should be obvious that it’s a not-even-close-to-work-safe soliloquy, shot in a confessional-booth style, with lighting so blown out that Lunch looks disquietingly not unlike Jeff the Killer. Given that Lunch has been known to deploy sarcasm as a rhetorical tool from time to time, just once in a while, there might be some kind of satirical point to this, but I feel it can be enjoyed more fully just taken at face value. The balls are in your court, Louis.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Future Feminism: a social cultural and political vision for a feminine utopia
Dangerous women: Lydia Lunch interviews Admiral Grey of Cellular Chaos

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Future Feminism: A social, cultural and political vision for a feminine utopia


The power of pussy: The inimitable Kembra Pfahler, spreading the gospel with a friend

So much of the popular, social media-driven feminist discourse is desperately treading water these days. The advances we’ve made over the years that have drastically improved the lives of women (unions, better wages, health care advances , reproductive rights) are under attack, and it only makes sense that we’d cling to what little we have left. It’s in this frantic crisis that we can sometimes forget the more utopian ambitions of the feminist second wave—the impulse not to preserve what little we have, but to recreate society entirely, in a way that exceeds the meager ambitions we’ve come to accept. Future Feminism seeks to nurture and develop that impulse.

The brainchild of Kembra Pfhaler (best known for The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and her performance art), Johanna Constantine (of The Blacklips Performance Cult), Sierra and Bianca Casady (CocoRosie) and Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons), the collective is the result of three years’ of consensus-based artistic and intellectual collaboration, much of it forged during rigorous retreats in isolated locations.
 

Kembra Pfhaler, Johanna Constantine, Sierra Casady, Bianca Casady and Antony Hegarty, presumably on retreat
 
I had to opportunity to speak with Bianca Casady about the projects’ multi-faceted development.

“We didn’t have any plans, so we definitely didn’t have any models [for organizing],” Casady confesses, “it was five artists—the most obvious thing to do was an art project together, a co-authored piece.” The “group-authored sculptural work” is to be debuted at The Hole gallery in NYC, Thursday September 11, but it’s merely a fraction of the multimedia project that Future Feminism has bloomed into. The Hole also promises performances and lectures from such heroic foremothers as Lydia Lunch, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović and no-wave goddess No Bra. The sculpture itself remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, as are the “13 Tenets of Future Feminism” they will reveal on the opening night.

The five artists central to the collective will perform a concert at Webster Hall this Sunday to fund the exhibition, as it’s completely artist-funded thus far. Casady notes that the relative independence and autonomy of the Future Feminist collective has allowed them the freedom and time necessary to truly work as a unified body, though the timing for the reveal could not be more provident.

Some of us are very unplugged from the media. Mostly we really come together as artists. We’re certainly noticing a lot of uprising and actions going on formally, and a lot of momentum and energy right now. The timing feels like less of a coincidence. It feels like things are at a boiling point.

 

Image from the Future Feminism Benefit Concert poster
 
No one can predict which projects will inspire or move the masses, but it’s exciting to see feminism embrace the ambition of utopian thinking again—and it’s especially powerful to see women working together and creating new, strange culture—something that could (if we’re lucky) threaten the status quo.

“We’re not really looking for equal rights—that’s really different in our attitude,” says Casady. “We’re not looking to climb up the male pyramid scheme and try to assimilate into it to find some kind of balance. We’re proposing a complete shift, with the goal of balance, but it’s not like we want to meet in the middle. We have to reach for a better sense of ‘middle.’”

That’s a sentiment that’s existed before in feminism—the idea that having “what men have” is not enough, that we all deserve more. It’s fallen to the wayside in years, but I foresee a revival, as movements like Future Feminism strive for a radically different society, invoking the very qualities so often derided as “feminine.” In the words of the collective, “The future is female.”

The (absolutely packed) roster for the run at The Hole gallery is below.

Thurs Sept 11: Opening 6-9PM

Fri Sept 12: Bianca and Sierra Casady, Sarah Schulman

Sat Sept 13: Johanna Constantine, Lydia Lunch

Sun Sept 14: Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Wed Sept 17: Narcissister, Dynasty Handbag, No Bra

Thurs Sept 18: Ann Snitow speaks with the Future Feminists

Fri Sept 19: Kiki Smith presents Anne Waldman, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and Anne Carson

Sat Sept 20: Kembra Pfahler and The Girls of Karen Black

Sun Sept 21: Lorraine O’Grady

Wed Sept 24: Marina Abramović

Thurs Sept 25: Carolee Schneemann, Jessica Mitrani, Melanie Bonajo
 
Fri Sept 26: Terence Koh as Miss OO

Sat Sept 27: Viva Ruiz, Julianna Huxtable, Alexyss K.  Tylor

Sun Sept 14: The Factress aka Lucy Sexton, Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The Girls on their Motorcycles: Vintage photos of kickass women and their rides
09.02.2014
10:54 am

Topics:
Feminism

Tags:
motorcycles


1971
 
Kickass or badass—whatever you wanna call these tough biker ladies—here’s a selection of vintage photos of real-life motorcycle riding women.


Anke Eve Goldmann, 1958
 

Ann-Margret rode a classic Triumph T100
 

Bessie Stringfield
 

Some 70s Harley kickstarting action
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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