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Men’s rights WTF commemorative coin mystery, solved?
07.18.2014
09:21 am

Topics:
Activism
Feminism
Politics
Sex

Tags:
coins
men's rights

A Voice for Men
 
A couple of weeks ago the “men’s rights” website A Voice for Men put up a post calling attention to a “commemorative coin” celebrating the First International Conference on Men’s Issues. The coin was designed by Peter Vinczer, the son of men’s rights activist Attila Vinczer; it contains 1 ounce of .999 fine silver and costs $58.88.

Readers of the Lawyers, Guns & Money and We Hunted the Mammoth websites have been trying to figure out what on earth the image is supposed to represent. David Futrelle, author of the post at We Hunted the Mammoth, wonders whether Judy Chicago designed it.

Readers at the two websites have thrown out the following suggestions:
 

“sperm bouncing off a diaphragm”
“a condom with a hole in it”
“a puckered anus”
“a carrot hovering over a poorly-made pizza”
“a weeping butthole”
“angry pancake”
“a surfacing/sinking beaver”
“a condom turned inside out, with the hand ready to sperm jack”
“a sphincter with a drop of lube and a hand gradually encroaching”
“a diaphragm with a hole poked in it”

 
“Joe from Lowell” is one of several commenters who have probably cracked the case: “They’re throwing one little stone of masculine rationality into the ocean that is a male-persecuting society, but that one little stone will send out ripples, you betcha.” This makes sense, because the inscription on the other side of the coin, from Robert F. Kennedy, reads as follows: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
 
A Voice for Men
 
The text underneath the picture reads, “MHRA 2008-2014”—searching on “MHRA” yields extremely little on the Internet. It seems that “men rights association” or men’s rights activism” etc. are the most common phrases, but some in the movement have shifted to “men’s human rights” because it sounds less douche-y or something. In reality it just sounds confused, of course.
 
A Voice for Men
 
I’m not real sure what this video is (I certainly didn’t watch it—it’s nearly two hours long) but the coin image is at the very start, so maybe it has something to do with it.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Incredible unpublished 1995 interview with Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna
06.11.2014
09:42 am

Topics:
Feminism
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Riot Grrrl
Zines
Kathleen Hanna

kathleen h singing
 
I stumbled across a box of old correspondence recently and found a few forgotten letters from Kathleen Hanna, singer for Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin, from almost two decades ago. I vaguely remember sending her an embarrassing number of interview questions for a fly-by-night zine and, to my shock, she responded. She typed a lot of her answers on an honest-to-God typewriter. Unfortunately the zine stopped being produced and this interview didn’t see the light of day…until now.

Kathleen’s support for aspiring young female writers and musicians cannot be overstated. She was the riot grrrl movement’s big sister, muse, and fairy godmother. Bikini Kill wasn’t exactly raking in a ton of money, but she still bought zines from riot grrrls all over the world.

Not only that, she was amazing at introducing girls and building a support network. She asked me to suss out a nearby midwestern college town’s LGBT community for a dyke friend of hers who was moving there to teach at a small conservative university with no out faculty members or LGBT student organizations whatsoever. How could I say “No” to the amazing Kathleen? I was pregnant, prostrate with endless, debilitating morning sickness, unable to look at a computer screen without throwing up, but you bet your ass I still called around, researched, and compiled twenty pages of notes for her to pass along to her professor friend.
 
kathleen zine
 

Q: What was the best show you’ve ever played? What was the worst? And why?

Kathleen Hanna: BEST SHOWS ARE ALWAYS IN MINOT because the kids are spazzy and don’t care about cool….also some of our first shows in Olympia meant a lot to me just because we met w/so much opposition and our friends supported us…...oh yeah, our show in Richmond about a year ½ ago where my sister sang rebel girl & demirep with us and when the bass amp broke she did an acapella medley of songs we used to sing a long to (like on the family record player) and it just about broke my heart. My sister is actually an amazing singer and performer, Imean, I always knew she could sing, cuz we learned together by mimicing records, but I didn’t know what a performer she was till that nite.

Q: What was the stupidest remark any music store clerk has ever made to you?

KH: Okay, both these come from the same guy. 1. I was asking if I could sell my fanzine/writing thing and he said he wouldn’t sell it cuz it didn’t have anything to do with music and I should come back after I write something about my groupie experiences or something. 2. After living in the same town for like 7 years and being in tons of bands, putting on shows, putting out writing, etc….the same guy comes up to me when I’m reading a comic book in his store (incidentally he sold the comic book even thouggh IT had nothing [to] do with music) and starts telling me what a great guy the dude who made the comic is and he used to be in this local band blah blah blah, what he didn’t know is I wrote the comic I was looking at and went out with the dude (asshole) he was talking about for like two years. Duh.

Q: Do you think that there are more or fewer young women these days who fall into the “I’m not a feminist, but…” category than there were five years ago? Why?

KH: I really don’t know, I can’t answer that one.
 
bikinikill
 

Q: What are your thoughts on the following feminist theorists and writers:

a) Andrea Dworkin

KH:  saw her give a lecture. Went up and told her I felt erased by everything she said because I “am a feminist AND a sex worker”. She totally condescended to me and told me i’d pay for what I’d done for the rest of my life. She also lied and said that COYOTE, an organization by and for women who work as prostitutes was not happeneing at all anymore and trashed its founder, Margo St.James, and acted like there were No organizations by and for sex workers in existence (which is and was a total fucking lie) She also believes (or at least she did at this lecture a few years back) that feminists should work with law enforcement agencies which is just fucking stewpid…..and was in support of a bill/legislation (it passed) in WA state that made it so all sex workers (dancers/models/and other legal sex work situations and women who’d been arrested for prostitution) have to register with the police and pay a $75 dollar liscensing fee(obviously this is for legal sex professions) and get fingerprinted.  THIS IS TOTALLY FUCKED UP AND CLASSIST and bogus because it makes it so poor women have to come up with the same 75 dollars as middle class/rich ones would PLUS if you are in a jam because of domestic violence, or whatever and you need a job that pays cash quick, like dancing, say but they make you pay this fee…I mean, who can afford it. I could go on and on. My main problem is that she thinks she can speak for all of us (sex workers and women in general) and she can’t. She’s also totally mean. BUT some of her writing is interesting even though shes full of shit.

b) Germaine Greer

KH: I know about her but am not really familiar with her work.

c) Susan Faludi

KH: I liked backlash, it was sorta like pulp novel reading for feminist theory heads and seemed good, just in general, but I already knew sexism existed.

d) Mary Daly

KH: Shes like an ecofeminist and that shit scares me. I’m sure I’ll read her someday but I really hate the idea that women are more nurturing/close to the earth than men or something…...I think its stewpid and strategically flawed.

e) Naomi Wolf

KH: I read The Beauty Myth, and while it was interesting on some levels, like the idea of beauty being “the third shift” for women, I hated how she kept playing white women against Men and Women of Color, like how she’d be all like (this is not a direct quote) “No employer would expect an African American to do blah blah blah, so why do they expect women to do blah blah blah…” I mean, that shits just stewpid cuz Naomi Wolf doesn’t know jack about whatever any individual African American male OR female has to deal with in terms of employment, and also she would act like all women are white over and over and over and, well, it just so annoying and dumb that I stopped reading it, so whatever.

f) bell hooks

KH: I think bell hooks is one of the most important and creative scholars around. I’ve read almost all her stuff and cant wait till she puts out some fiction ( maybe she has and I don’t know?) Anyways, yeah, I could go on and on. I like studying her writing style because it seems really fluid and effortless even though she is explaining very difficult/complex ideas that are operating on several different levels, usually in a way that both academics and non-academics can understand.
 
kathleenint
 
Q: What do you think of the anti-feminist writers such as Christina Hoff Sommers and Paglia?

KH: I haven’t read them because I don’t feel like it. I have heard stories though and it makes me think that, you know, while some of their ideas maybe interesting, MEN tend to tokenize any woman who says anything that sounds at all, even remotely anti-feminist, and then this whole duality thing starts happening where no one really pays attention to their work anymore. Men just use Them to make women who disagree with them feel like shit…….and then certain feminists dismiss them altogether as male identified. Actually, I think that whole phenomenon is probably more interesting then some of these ladies ideas, but I don’t know, like I said I haven’t read them. I’d like to see more writing by feminists about Tokenization, specifically how it functions in different feminist contexts.

Q: What is your opinion of misogynist FEMALE musicians who insist on bashing other women and not supporting them?

KH: Courtney is boring. I am not interested in her.

Q: What is your favorite piece of musical equipment?

KH: My mouth.

Q: Last two books read?

KH: BE MY BABY by Ronnie Spector. Baudellair Live, Interviews with Baud. edited by Mike Gane

More delightfully outspoken opinions from Hanna, including what rock star might be a candidate for getting “beaten senseless with a brick” after the jump…..

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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This 1958 ‘Beautiful Eyes’ contest is the creepiest thing I’ve seen in quite a while
05.28.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Feminism

Tags:
beauty pageants


 
The spectacle of the modern beauty pageant is creepy enough as it is, and the irony of a toad like Donald Trump assessing women for their desirability is not lost on me. Still, most beauty pageants at least maintain a façade of depth. Sure, they uphold weird standards of virginal purity, and yes, there’s a swimsuit “competition,” but there are also talent contests, points for personality and everyone at least agrees to pretend that they’re aiming for scholarship programs.

Not so for this “Beautiful Eyes” contest held at a British holiday camp in 1958.

The women’s faces are covered below the eyes and their bodies are hidden below the neck, apparently to ensure the judges will properly isolate the single body part they’re supposed to be evaluating. As if that wasn’t already creepy enough, one judge—he’s a pervy looking motherfucker, too—actually walks down the line and handles the women’s faces like they were show dogs, eventually pulling down one woman’s veil to kiss her square on the mouth.

At least in the Miss America pageant you’re not expected to risk contracting oral herpes from one of the judges…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Cute band alert: ‘Hey Baby,’ little-known punk feminist anthem from Sassy magazine editors
05.27.2014
09:40 am

Topics:
Feminism
Music

Tags:
Kramer
Chia Pet
Sassy


 

“I’m just walking down the street minding my own business, construction worker says ‘Nice tits’...”

Chia Pet were the in-house rock group of Sassy magazine, but they weren’t all that prolific. The group was led by Sassy’s “rock and roll” editor Christina Kelly, Kelly’s then-husband Bobby Weeks, her then-sister-in-law (and fellow Sassy writer) Jessica Vitkus Weeks on bass and Mary Ann Marshall (another Sassy writer) on drums. Karen Catchpole was a second vocalist and Sassy’s editor in chief Jane Pratt contributed some wonderfully scratchy violin. They sounded a bit like The Raincoats, but if they were from Brooklyn and… sassier.

“Do I look like I’m asking for it?”

 

 
Chia Pet released “Hey Baby” in 1992, a 7” single (in both white and pink vinyl) and CD single via Koko Pop, producer Kramer‘s less difficult label (compared to his decidedly more eccentric Shimmy Disc imprint) and recorded in his Noise NJ studio. There were three original songs on that, but the only other thing they ever released was a wonderfully bored take on the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” that appeared on a CD compilation called Freedom of Choice: Yesterday’s New Wave Hits Played by Today’s Stars, a Planned Parenthood fundraiser where “today’s” groups like Sonic Youth, The Muffs, Redd Kross and Mudhoney covered really obvious New Wave ditties. For a while there was a dispute over the Chia Pet name with a group from Chicago, but since both groups had swiped the name from the “as seen on TV” novelty planter, neither could do much about it.

“I’m just trying to be a girl!”

 

“Sassiest Boy in America” Ian Svenonius, Jane Pratt and Christina Kelly

“Hey Baby” was “Single Of The Week” simultaneously in the NME and Melody Maker but has slipped through the cracks of musical history. This song should be way better known than it is... Unfairly obscure, “Hey Baby” should properly be considered an iconic pop culture treasure…
 

 

“Don’t You Want Me” from Freedom of Choice: Yesterday’s New Wave Hits Played by Today’s Stars

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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French schoolboys wear skirts to class to fight sexism
05.16.2014
06:54 am

Topics:
Activism
Amusing
Feminism

Tags:
skirts


 
Ah, the French, you have to admire their idealism and their love for liberté, égalité, fraternité and all that. Now in a bid to fight sexism and inequality in schools, the education authority in Nantes, western France, is encouraging schoolboys to drop their trousers and wear a skirt to class today, at 27 lycées in the city.

Actor Laurence Olivier once remarked that he found the best way to become a character was to start with the shoes. Once he knew how the person might walk, he was able to choose the clothes that would help him best identify and understand the character more fully. This maybe some of the thinking behind the idea of “LIft the Skirt” or, as it is in French, “Ce que soulève la jupe” (literally: “‘What raises the skirt”), a campaign originally devised by pupils themselves in a bid to stop sexism, which has been sanctioned by the city’s education chiefs, and by association France’s Ministry of Education.

For those boys who would rather not bare a leg, they can show their support for the campaign by wearing a sticker saying: “I am fighting against sexism, are you?”

According to Elisabeth Costagliola, head of the organization PEEP, the campaign is supported by the pupils’ parents, saying there has been no negative reaction when the event was held last year.

“On the contrary, it was really positive with students saying that even some male teachers were prepared to come to school in a skirt,” Costagliola said.

However, there has been some backlash further afield from conservative politicians, including Olivier Vial, president of the conservative UNI party, who said:

“We’ll do any old nonsense in the name of equality. This move is inspired by the Day of the Skirt, whose original aim was to allow women to express their femininity in environments where it was often difficult. But this is just denying feminine and masculine identity,” Vial said.

“Ce que soulève la jupe” is an interesting idea, but as a Scot, from a country where men have worn plaid skirts, or kilts, for centuries (and even “women’s tights” [stockings] in the trenches during World War One—to counteract poisonous gas), sexism and inequality are still problems, which are unlikely to be solved by a one-day skirt-wearing event, though, I guess one can hope.
 

 
Via The Local, H/T Arbroath.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Tabloid headlines rewritten not to be sexist!
05.05.2014
08:57 am

Topics:
Feminism
Pop Culture

Tags:
sexism

Normalizing headlines
 
The smart feminists over at Vagenda Magazine (slogan: “Like King Lear, but for girls”) asked their Twitter followers to fix the reflexively, egregiously, hyperbolically, breathlessly sexist tabloid headlines by creating new ones that seem to adhere to the actually humdrum events that happened. The celebrity press can’t exist without maintaining a continuous state of hysteria or high dudgeon over what is really nothing, and we certainly appreciate the corrective measures.

There’s no hashtag, apparently, but just go to the Vagenda twitter feed and you’ll see a bunch of them mixed in with other things.
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
Normalizing headlines
 
via HUH.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The feminist fireworks of Judy Chicago were loud, bright and very, very vaginal
04.29.2014
07:12 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
fireworks
Judy Chicago


Chicago’s 2012 fireworks demo, ‘A Butterfly for Pomona.’ Her latest, ‘A Butterfly for Brooklyn,’ was much larger.
 
Judy Chicago is the original feminist artist—in fact she actually coined the term “feminist artist.” Her most famous work, “The Dinner Party,” is a gigantic installation, a three-sided table setting for 39 women from history and mythology, ranging from Hypatia to Saint Bridget to Sacajawea. Each place-setting has a customized tribute, and many of the plates feature Chicago’s trademark “butterfly vagina” imagery—think less anatomical, more Freudian floral. It’s a groundbreaking piece, but despite my affection for all things vaginal, it never really spoke to me. Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend a visit to Brooklyn Museum for a viewing. It’s a hugely ambitious installation, full of deliberate detail and it challenges me to really articulate my criticism. I guess it just ain’t my cup of vagina.

Her latest piece, “A Butterfly for Brooklyn,” was much more to my liking, boom-loving rube that I am. To commemorate her 75th birthday, Chicago took over Brooklyn’s Prospect Park last Saturday with a fireworks display of the vulval variety. Far from a mere Fourth of July cliché, the 20 minute display of punany pyrotechnics came in ebbs and flows, metaphorically mirroring the life cycle of a butterfly. Chicago has done fireworks before, but not nearly to this scale and though the demonstration certainly kept in her milieu, this much more… accessible rendition of her famous butterflies brought feminist art to a crowd that might not all be so amenable to walking around a giant room full of vagina plates.

Plus, explosions! The people’s art!
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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I think I’m too old to play with Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie
04.17.2014
08:25 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
Crampy Carla


Yeah… pretty sure I’m gonna be okay, but thanks for the warning.
 
Fact: I love disturbing feminist art. I love irreverant feminist art. I especially love gross-out feminist art! Yet, Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie, the Instagram art project of feminist zine collective Fourth Wave Freaks just doesn’t do it for me, and I’m not sure why. The aesthetics are very Riot Grrrl (not my favorite genre)—one of her pictures even features a poster with the lyrics, “I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe” from the Bikini Kill song “I Like Fucking.” It’s possible this is just an issue of personal preference.

I might just be too old. I’m well past the point where anyone in my life is squeamish about menstruation and so this bombastic rage against people who feel vaguely icky about periods feels even more dated than Riot Grrrl itself. Nowadays, a casual mention of of menses illicit not the slightest of squirms, and if anyone did flinch, they’d probably be mocked outright—“Oh come on! Grow up!” Consequently, Carla’s affirmation of, “I have blood on my underwear, I don’t care. Pro-period, pro-choice. Fuck you tampons, fuck you pads - if you stop this girl’s flow, I will be mad” rings a little unnecessarily aggro for me—it’s not as if your monthlies relegate you to some kind of culturally-mandated menstrual hut. No one really cares if you’re bleeding everywhere Carla. Just don’t get it on the couch.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Bust

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Attention Doctor Who fans: Watch ‘The Delian Mode’ terrific short documentary on Delia Derbyshire
04.09.2014
08:58 am

Topics:
Feminism
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Doctor Who
Delia Derbyshire


 
Canadian director Kara Blake‘s award-winning short documentary The Delian Mode is an audio-visual love letter to pioneering electronic composer Delia Derbyshire, best known for her spooky rendering of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme music for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1963. (Legend has it that when Grainer heard what she’d done—creating each quavering, alien-sounding note by speeding up or slowing down analog tape recordings of a single plucked string, then cutting and splicing it—with rulers, razor and cellophane tape—before embellishing the results with the sound of waveform oscillators and white noise, he asked “Did I write that?” She answered “Most of it.”). It’s an impressive piece of filmmaking, dreamlike, lyrical and especially pleasing to the eye—and ear—for a documentary. Blake wouldn’t have had a lot to work with (I’ve only ever seen one short film clip of Derbyshire) but does a wonderful job of presenting a well-rounded account of Delia Derbyshire’s work and of her influence on electronic dance music.

You simply cannot watch this marvelous film without concluding that Delia Derbyshire was a creative and technical genius, producing complex music that seemed to come directly from another dimension, yet was wholly constructed via analog means (such as a tape loop that ran all the way down a hallway or slowing down the sound of banging on a metal lampshade.)

The Delian Mode is inspiring, it’s a bit sad (depression and alcoholism plagued Derbyshire’s life) but it’s a story that needed to be told and told with respect. That she was a self-created woman working in what was then largely a man’s space makes her achievements seem all the more remarkable and and especially cool. (At one point we hear audio of Derbyshire describing herself as being a “post-feminist” before the concept of feminism even existed, although there were other women veterans of the BBC Radiophonic Laboratory, notably Daphne Oram, creator of “Oramics,” which controlled sound with celluloid plates, and Maddalena Fagandini.)

Blake interviews Derbyshire’s colleagues at the BBC Radio Workshop, Adrian Utley of Portishead, Ann Shenton of Add N to (X) and Sonic Boom aka Peter Kember of Spacemen 3, Spectrum and E.A.R., who brought Derbyshire into his own work towards the end of her life on the E.A.R. albums Vibrations (2000) and Continuum (2001).

After Derbyshire’s death, 267 reel-to-reel tapes and a box of a thousand pages of music and notes were found in her attic. Her life and work will be celebrated this Saturday April 12th on Delia Derbyshire Day at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.
 

 
More Delia Derbyshire after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Do not run’: Hints for straight college girls encountering lesbians, 1988
04.08.2014
09:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Feminism
History
Queer

Tags:
lesbian


 
New York magazine’s music critic Jody Rosen posted this gem on his Twitter and added, “...priceless period piece unearthed yesterday by a friend packing for a move.”

 
Man, how times have changed since 1988. My favorite “hints” and tips are:

1.  Do not run from the room. This is rude.

2.  If you must back away, do so slowly and with discretion.

15. Do respect her Individuality. She is a lesbian, but she is also Mary, Pam and Lori…

h/t Gawker

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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