Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bloody Books

Maturely side stepping numerous puns and word play from the lexicon of menstruation I shall delve delicately into a little buzz about My Little Red Book, a delightful anthology of first periods collected from women of all ages and from all over the world by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff.

I say delightful, but what would I know all I've read is a review, what I mean is to make polite applause. We at Subtext have had our flirtations with period politics, and there's a tonne of lovely zine action going on around the subject but a lovely, well formed, paperback really hammers home the message that it's not so beastly to bleed.

Check out the website, buy a book and peruse the fantastic non profit organisations the book will be helping out at your leisure.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Armchair Action: Put Your Foot Down Before International Women's Day

While we all love a rally, a march, a conference, mixing with the other feminists in real life for chatting and debating and joining together into a huge giant feminist who can save the world, there is still much to be said for feminist finger clicks.

Action Aid is a rather wonderful charity who do lots of rather wonderful things (including their riotous Bollocks to Poverty parties) Before International Women's Day (you know it's March 8th, right?) Action Aid need to collect 2876 virtual shoes to represent each of the 2876 women who contract HIV every day an epidemic borne of various forms of violence against women, so get online, make your pledge and ask your friends and families to do the same.

Once the petition comes to an end YCN and artist Riitta Ikonen will be creating some lovely art, so remember to keep your eyes peeled or follow Riita's blog.

The campaign is currently running on 2252 signatures, not many to go so sign the petition and put your foot down now!


Friday, February 20, 2009

International Women's Day, a Website, the World

International Women’s Day is the highlight in many a feminists calender with a splurge of educational, interesting and exciting events - we’ve already blogged about some plans organised by the Million Women Rise March in London - now you can see what’s happening across the globe.

The International Women’s Day website will act as a single source for women’s celebrations all over the world, with the opportunity for users to upload their events or search their country for anything happening in the name of IWD. Get online and get involved, and don’t forget to check out the International Women’s Day timeline and find out when and how the event got started.

You can also follow @Reuters_Women on Twitter for updates


Cross Posted @ The Femilist

Invasion of The Chubsters - Queer Fat Punks Invade the BFI

Bless all the Chubsters, saying no to fatphobes the only way a true gang knows how with fists. They're invading the BFI, this is a straight up repost from their facebook page.

The Chubsters have been working on a secret project to invade the British Film Institute during the 2009 London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. We're going to present a special event at the festival, involving bad behaviour, archive film clips and a programme of cutting edge short films by and about fat queers. There will be opportunities for people to get jumped-in as Chubsters too, with badges and membership cards for those who take the plunge.

This event is likely to sell out, so book early.

Event details

LLGFF ticket information

Invasion of The Chubsters
Sunday 29 March 2009
BFI South Bank
London SE1 8XT

PS Don't forget to check out the Allyson Mitchell retrospective at the film fest too, and Beth Ditto is introducing an event about The Raincoats – yay!

Check out the Chubsters website for info on gang rules, chub life and watch their gang video.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Playboy Open To Strategic Change of Direction

I'm no fan of the exploitation and commodification of women, even less when purveyors of such tosh have a sideline in the targeting of the tweens so when Playboy suffered a net loss of $156.1 million at the end of 2008 I became vaguely giddy.

Playboy now say they're up to suggestions for strategic changes of direction, my first would be to get out now while they still have their profits, invest into charities and organisations that support women who suffer from the end game of the endless sexualisation of women (I know, I'm out of control)

Realistically though, once they've cut some jobs, closed the NY office, once they've brought the 'cost structure in line with current market realities' there is that ripe audience of young girls, unaware of the implications of that cute bunny rabbit on their bedding, their pencil cases, their inappropriate apparrell with a seemingly endless resource of pocket money.

This year may be the year you keep a closer look at their output beyond the magazine, there's always time to Bin the Bunny


Monday, February 16, 2009

Voice your opinions, Fawcett want your words.

Fawcett are going survey crazy so here are three lovely ways to lend your voice to their work.

Views on Business Use of the Sex Industry

Pin Up calenders, business meetings moving to lap dancing clubs, nudey screen savers are not as inclusive or as jovial as some might think - but what do you think? Follow the link to Fawcett

Experiences Selling Lads Mags

Do you or anyone you know work in a shop that sells ‘lads mags’ or other pornographic magazines? Would you prefer it if these publications weren’t displayed or on full view in your workplace? If so, please get in touch. Fawcett is conducting some research on this issue and would like to hear your views. Your details will be kept strictly confidential. Please email or phone Kat Banyard: kat.banyard@fawcettsociety.org.uk; 020 7253 2598

Experience of Sexual Harassment or Violence in School or College

I'm not sure if this is strictly Fawcett, but Kat Banyard is from Fawcett and needs your experiences

Sexual harassment can come in many forms, including unwelcome sexual propositions, sexually explicit comments or gestures, being shown pornography, unwanted touching, or sexual assault.

If this has ever happened to you (past or present) and you would be interested in sharing your experiences as part of this research, I would be very grateful if you could get in contact with me. All information you share will be kept strictly anonymous.

Contact Kat, Katbanyard@yahoo.co.uk

Feel free to make your comments known here as well!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Zine Review: Pamflet IX

October 2008
Edited by Anna-Marie Fitzgerald and Phoebe Frangoul
The Pamflet crew @ the Women's Library Zinefest 09 (lifted from Pamflet's blog)

It is no secret that I totally love zines – and surprise zines are even better. Imagine then, my delight at receiving issue number 9 of Pamflet in my PO BOX!

Pamflet XI is a A5 zine, with a powder pink cover, put together by the hilarious Anna-Marie and Phoebe. This issue is dedicated to girl gangs (yay!) and features:
  • MMORPG girls “Quake is well know form its hyper macho imagery of big guns, small heads and smack talk”
  • why modern drag queens are disappointing “placid, tame and un-rebellious”
  • why dandys suck
  • Grazia gripes & isms, including “their stoic dedication to the epic crapness which is gossip girl”
  • American apparel sexism
  • my favourite feminists
  • beth ditto love
  • reviews (inc kamikaze girls – “makes you wanna join a girl gang”)
  • the mitfords “the glorious girls are fascinating and repulsive in equal measure”
  • jarvis cocker
  • a short story about stand up and more besides.

The writing is funny, engaging and enthusiastic. There are lists (always super) photos of Pamflet shenanigans and brilliant original illustrations.

Need any more convincing? Vogue describes it as “Hogarthian (Ed. - eh?*) graphics and modern feminism.”

Pamflet have a blog http://pamfletzine.blogspot.com/ and a myspace http://myspace.com/pamflet Visit them to find out more.

* apparently Hogarth was an English artist noted for a series of engravings that satirized the affectations of his time. Well, then I agree.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book review: Wetlands, Charlotte Roche

Translation by Tim Mohr
(Fourth Estate Ltd, 2009, 240 pages, RRP £12.99)

After reading about Charlotte Roche’s first book, Wetlands, all over the press, I was excited to receive a review copy and see if it lived up to all of the hype.

They’re right, it is pretty of gross, but I liked it.

Wetlands is written in the style of an internal monologue of the thoughts and actions of the main character, Helen, as she lies in pain in hospital after an operation.

From her hospital bed Helen plots ways to reunite her divorced parents, relives past sexual encounters and revels in her personal mission to spread bacteria ( such as by leaving used tampons in prominent places).

My stomach turned at descriptions of her saving dirt, smeg and crust under her fingernails for a ‘tasty snack later’, drinking a mixture of her and her friends vomit so as not to waste the undigested drugs floating in it, and wiping her pussy around public toilet seats.

I laughed at the ridiculous situations Helen gets herself into; like accidentally tipping a glass of water over herself while trying to masturbate when she ends up stuck on the floor of her hospital room, and her forthright style in persuading her male nurse to photograph her arsehole so she can see the wound.

A lot of what’s been said about Roche (a self proclaimed feminist), and her book Wetlands, has centred around whether it is feminist fiction or not. While I don’t think fiction has to be feminist to contain things of interest to feminists, Wetlands could well fall under the category of feminist fiction.

Roche has created a female lead that is likeable and funny, flawed and idiosyncratic. She manages to win you over because of, not despite of, the gross stuff that could come over as a gimmicky distraction in the wrong hands.

The internal monologue gives Roche the freedom to convey the inner thoughts behind the different ways Helen chooses to present herself to the world, and why.

There are some fairly anti-feminist moments; Helen causes the wound that lands her in hospital when shaving her arse, is un-sisterly to the female nurses in the hospital, almost kills herself while trying to reopen her wound, and ultimately relies on a man to help her out of her situation.

On the other hand, Helen speaks about female sexuality in a way that is rarely heard, nevermind in such talked about mainstream fiction. Throughout the novel Helen repeatedly talks about how she wants to look after herself and be independent, and almost everything she thinks and does flies against the popular myth of what it means to be a woman and be feminine.

Would this book be as infamous if it wasn’t written by a high profile German celebrity? Probably not. Is it ground breaking? No. But it is an easy, page turner of a read, with a lead female who doesn’t conform to mainstream ideas of femininity and a great mixture of the gross and erotic.