follow us in feedly
Indian comic book heroine is a rape survivor who fights violence against women and rides a tiger
12.17.2014
12:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
India
comics
violence against women


 
Two years ago, a fatal New Delhi gang rape inspired mass protests all over in India, but the the legal reforms (which include things like the banning of acid sales) have done very little to protect women, and most of the more programmatic promises (tracking public transportation, more women cops, better lighting in urban areas, etc) have gone largely unimplemented. Feeling discouraged by the purely legalistic approach to rape, New York-based filmmaker Ram Devineni decided to fight violence against women on the cultural front—starting from childhood education.

Devineni has produced Priya’s Shakti, a graphic novel available online and in print, featuring a rape survivor protagonist who is aided by a goddess and her faithful tiger steed. The book is currently available in Hindi, English and Marathi, but will be translated into other languages to better serve India’s diverse population. The concept is a masterful utility of traditional values to further humane ends, and I’d argue something aimed at younger readers is going to have the greatest long term effect on culture at-large. 
 

 

The storyline focuses on Priya, a human woman and ardent devotee of the Goddess Parvati who has experienced a brutal rape and the social stigma and isolation resulting from it. The Goddess Parvati is horrified to learn about the sexual violence that women on Earth face on a daily basis and is determined to change this disturbing reality. Inspired by the Goddess, Priya breaks her silence. She sings a message of women’s empowerment that enraptures thousands and moves them to take action against [gender-based violence] around the world. This project highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged.

 
The discussion of sexual assault in far-away lands often results in a lot of projection and avoidance of more home-grown violence, but I think we in the US could learn a lot from this project. The anti-rape movement here has only just begun to move beyond telling women “how to not get raped,” but I’ve yet to see a childhood sex education project that instills ideas of bodily autonomy and consent. Then again, I suppose our growing commitment to Abstinence-Only Education kind of precludes talking to kids about how to have mutually agreed upon sex.
 

 
Via NPR

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Inked ladies: Vintage photos of women with full body tattoos
12.15.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
History

Tags:
tattoos

001tattdame.jpg
 
The 1991 discovery of the well-preserved body of a 3,000-year-old corpse revealed (amongst many other things) that ancient humans tattooed their bodies. The mummified body was called “Ötzi the Iceman” after the Ötztal Alps where his remains were found. Ötzi had 50-odd tattoos across his body, which some scientists have suggested may be evidence of an early form of acupuncture—which if true, would put this form of treatment 2,000 years before its first documented appearance in China.

Tattoos have a long and culturally significant history—being used as a sign of initiation, association, clan, tribe, ownership, or sexual and personal liberty.

In Victorian times, upper class women had their bodies tattooed as a symbol of their independence. In her book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoos, Margot Mifflin believes this was a “feminist gesture” with these women “taking control of their bodies when they had little power elsewhere.” Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie had a serpent tattoo around her wrist as a symbol of her feisty independence. However, not all Victorian women who sported tattoos did so willingly. Mifflin reports how some poor women were forcibly tattooed and exhibited in freak shows and carnivals.

The first recorded woman tattooist was Maud Wagner, who was said to have traded a date with her future husband to learn the craft of tattooing. In the 1920s, full body tattoos were popular, but their charm was lost during the 1930’s Depression, only to re-emerge during the late 1940s to 1960s, when they were seen as a symbol of outsider status.

These vintage photographs show tattooed women from early in the 1900s to 1960s.
 
004tattwmn.jpg
 
10tattwman.jpg
 
006tattwmn.jpg
 
More tattooed ladies, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Suffragette City: Propaganda posters reveal the horrors of women’s rights!


A lotta guys would pay good money for that.
 
The panic surrounding women’s suffrage managed to exacerbate masculine anxieties to such a perverse degree that you have to wonder just how terrified of women men actually were. They seemed to believe that all it took to upset the apple cart was access to bourgeois politics, then, we’d wreak havoc! Soon enough, reactionaries predicted, womenkind would be enslaving their husbands, abandoning their children and domestic duties, assaulting men on the street, invading political institutions and… wearing pants! Clearly, this made for amazing propaganda.

More insidious than the fear of masculine ladies and feminized men is a single depiction of a huger-striking suffragette being force-fed. There is a gleeful look in the eyes of the posh man pouring soup down her throat, and a menacing one in the eyes of the cop holding down her legs. Force-feeding is a torture that was administered to suffragettes like Alice Paul, much to the glee of misogynistic sadists. One would hope that such a barbaric practice would be abandoned by now—especially considering how ineffective torture actually is—but it appears the US remains reluctant to give up on the tradition.
 

 

Detail from above image.
 

 

 
More of the horror of women thinking for themselves after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Visible Girls: London’s lost female subcultures

A1wollscac80A1.jpg
Lynne and Penny at home in Kingston, March 1981.
 
In the early 1980s, photographer Anita Corbin documented the “informal uniforms” of young women’s subcultures across London. Corbin photographed rude girls, rockabillies, mods, skinheads, and some “less defined” female groups including soul, rasta, punk and futurist, as well as those involved “in and around the women’s liberation movement.”  Her photographs were exhibited in a traveling exhibition organized by the Cockpit Gallery Project called Visible Girls in 1981.

In her introduction to the Visible Girls exhibition, Corbin wrote:

In this project I turned my attention to more personal visual details and I became increasingly interested in the effect appearences have on everybody’s lives.

The way we use dress as a means of communication/identification and how it can both inform and misinform us.

I have chosen to focus on girls, not the boys (where present) were any less stylish, but because girls in “subcultures” have been largely ignored or when referred to, only as male appendages.

Corbin discovered that for these young women belonging to a subculture was not just a weekend hobby but a whole way of life.

More than thirty years later, Anita Corbin has reconnected with some of the women in her photographs, but would like to contact them all, if possible. If you recognize yourself or any of these women, then you can contact Anita here.
 
a1a1bcac80llsca11ax1.jpg
Kath and Em, at home in Putney, October 1980.
 
D1wollscacD1.jpg
Simeon and Simeon, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
 
S1wollscac80S1.jpg
Charmine and Janice, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
 
c1cacllsc801cc.jpg
Rockabilly girls, at Shades, Manor House, February 1981.
 
1c1acllsc801c.png
Titch and Sylvia at home in Sudbury, March 1981.
 
V1wollscac80V1.jpg
At the Marquee club, December 1980.
 
With thanks to Elizabeth Veldon, via Buzzfeed.
 
More of Anita Corbin’s ‘Visible Girls,’ after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Bight of the Twin’: Update on Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s Amazing African Adventures!

xbvjwerkjgh
 
As many of you know, all around icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has been spending much time working and filming with Hazel Hill McCarthy III on a truly eye opening project. How better to understand than in this message from Genesis in her own words:
 

“We just got back from touring followed by two weeks of filming in Benin, West Africa with Hazel Hill McCarthy III and crew. The film “BIGHT OF THE TWIN” should debunk a lot of misguided trashy Hollywood “Zombie” entertainment that has deeply generated an essentially destructive and wholly inaccurate idea/meme attached now, so strongly in many peoples minds.

We are so jet lagged yet also so inspired by Ouidah, in Benin. Statistics show something phenomenal.

As we understand it, the average number of sets of twins per thousand, worldwide comes out at four sets of twins per one thousand B-Earths. In Benin the average number of twin B-Earths per one thousand is around twenty five to forty! Nobody has yet found a genetic nor dietary explanation. So as our search for the “Mother story”, the oldest witness to intelligence and belief developing in humanEs led us there. We were already referring to “twins” in the context of PANDROGENY. Two beings make a third being that is the two individuals immersed and merged into each other. Hazel discovered that Sept-October in Ouidah is a very rare Festival of Twins, both those who die at B-Earth or soon after, and those still living who maintain by ritual, the memories of their twin (triplet,etc) into daily life. Voodu has been practiced continuously there for ten, twenty, even more thousands of y-eras ago. Their Creation myths include a Supreme Being MauLissa. Half male-half female.The male Mau is represented by a python (a serpent) the female Lissa is represented by a chameleon.

For ongoing information PLEASE go to the site http://igg.me/at/bightofthetwin. We are now in possession (no pun intended) of approximately ninety hours of incredible footage, much never witnessed or filmed before. Plus interviews with Priestesses, “DAH"s (high priests) and many many more key people. We need to raise money to edit a distribution master, and cover all those edit suite hours etc. SO PLEASE go to Indiegogo.com where we are trying to raise the needed funds asap. We used Kickstarter to raise funds to return to Benin for the twins festival and it worked. We reached our goal, thanks to all of you! Quite literally, your contributions, no matter how large or small ALL force the hand of chance so that this film can be completed and happen as a media-entity, allowing this amazing story to be told, perhaps, by learning of our early days of consciousness, of the essential origin of this bizarre, yet beautiful species, yet also a mundane and brutal species. Perhaps in the Mother story is a truth, a revelation that WILL allow us to adjust our behaviors, so we all save ourselves. Conscious evolution can only happen en masse. Small pockets of alternative are a seed, a source, a “virus” as Burroughs used to say. We will see, or future generations will curse us for our lethargy and indifference to the writing on the wall. “PLEASE DON’T PISS HERE.”   

Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE NYC, September 2014.”

 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Concept Barbie doesn’t just have realistic proportions—she has scars, acne, freckles & cellulite
11.19.2014
02:55 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Feminism

Tags:
Barbie


Acne
 
Graphic designer/amateur toymaker Nickolay Lamm plays with Barbies a lot. First he came up with the make-up-free Barbie—worrying that she was “a little bit too hypersexualized,” which is strange, since I see women walking around my neighborhood with a face fulla slap, and the kids don’t seem to be scarred from it. Then he came up with a “proportional” Barbie, whose body matched that of an average 19-year-old woman (according to the Center for Disease Control)—a noble aim, but I find it misguided, and a little patronizing.

I tend to think projects like this misjudge children’s intellect—not everything in a child’s play or fantasy world is somehow internalized like some kind of insidious timebomb of self-loathing, and while Barbie’s uncanny proportions certainly indicate something rotten about our perspective on women’s bodies, I honestly think their effect on little girls is negligible. I’d argue Barbie’s freaky shape and perpetual Tammy Faye Bakker-ish makeup is a symptom—but not the cause—of self-esteem problems with women and girls—but what do I know? I’m just a woman who grew up healthy and happy playing with Barbies! As I have said before:

On some level, hyper-realistic dolls are a bit silly anyways, since anyone who’s ever been around kids will admit you can draw a smiley face on a jar of pickles and they’ll play with it like a doll. In many parts of the world, dolls don’t attempt the detail of Barbie, and people don’t have to think about dolls’ “bodies.”

That being said, what children do like about dolls—far more than any adult-invented concept of body idealization—is interaction, and Lamm may have actually come up with something a little girl (or at least John Waters), might be really interested in playing with. The Lammily doll now comes with decals for acne, freckles, moles, blushing cheeks, scrapes, bruises, scars, stretch marks and even cellulite. I do believe children are better at distinguishing fantasy and reality than Lamm thinks, and I do not think little girls give two shits about the literalism of their dolls (I also played with pink unicorn dolls—they did not leave me disappointed with regular old brown horses, I assure you), but it is a scientifically proven fact that stickers and accessories are basically crack for kids!

Lamm says he “wanted to show that reality is cool,” and asks, “a lot of toys make kids go into fantasy, but why don’t they show real life is cool?” Maybe it’s because doll-play is literally a fantasy, in that children are animating an inanimate object! Kids will have plenty of time to contend with reality; they still play with dolls that “wet themselves,” for example, so the doldrums of domesticity have not lost their appeal to young eyes, even in the wake of Barbie and her Dreamhouse. I think Lamm should have a bit more faith in little girls—their intellectual independence and their critical reasoning skills—but playing with scars and bruises? That’s something I think they could get into, even if it’s not for the reasons he thinks.
 

Mole
 

Scrape
 

Scar
 

Cellulite
 

Stretch marks
 
Via TIME

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Working Women: Portraits of WWII’s female factory workers
10.30.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
WWII

002wmnwrkrsww2x.jpg
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.
 
003wmnwrkrsww2.jpg
Mrs. C. Graham, war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
005wmnwrkrsww2.jpg
Unnamed war worker involved in milling breech blocks, 1943.
 
010wmnwrkrsww2.jpg
Miss Miriam Highams welding the saddle of a 25 pounder gun.
 
011wmnwrkrsww2.jpg
Women at work in a makeshift factory, 1943.
 
0001wmnwrkrsww2.jpg
Mrs. Chaulkey, portrait of a war worker, 1943.
 
More women war workers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
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
follow us in feedly
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
follow us in feedly
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
follow us in feedly
Page 1 of 17  1 2 3 >  Last ›