Friday, 18 January 2013

2013: Reflections and Resolutions

Lashings of Ginger Bee Timer
Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

Last week we gave you a retrospective of what we’ve been up to in the previous year - this week, we’d like you to join us in some more personal reflection on the year behind and the year ahead. What was amazing? What was dreadful? What do we most want out of 2013 - as artists, as activists, as Lashers and Lash-friends? What will we let go of with a sigh of a relief, and what will we pursue with all the tenacity of a terrier hanging on to its favourite chew-toy?

A motley crew of Lashers respond below to a number of questions sent round - we’d love to hear your thoughts on our answers, or your own responses to the questions.

The high point of 2012?

George Osbourne being booed at the Paralympic medal presentation for for Men’s T38 400m. This communicates a lot of things to me, but the thing it showed to me was a pretty good demonstration of the lack of confidence in the current government. That crowd spoke for a lot of people not in the stadium that day (Teddy Bishop).

I was ecstatic when they announced the Democrat victory in the USA - the alternative was almost too horrible to contemplate. While Obama certainly isn’t perfect, the prospect of a Romney-headed America was genuinely chilling. Also, there were actual real-live queer women, disabled women, and women of colour elected to positions of power - amazing! My personal favourite was Mary Gonzalez, who identifies as pansexual and has spoken publicly about genderqueer identities. -Orlando

I’d say the high-point of 2012 for me was doing my first Lashings show. It was incredibly last minute and I had to learn the words during the preceding acts but it was a lot of fun and I’ve loved performing with Lashings since then. -Sasha Rocket

The low point of 2012?

The proposal to re-form Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independence Payment, effectively making yet another difficult and often unreasonable application process as a front to effectively reducing social welfare provisions and effectively make life unlivable for many disabled persons. (Bishop)

For me, the failure of the Church of England to agree on how to bring in women bishops was an unexpected low point for feminism - Isadora (Jenni agrees here!)

It’s hard for to pick a low point from a year that has been, in many ways, a constant drip-drip-drip of awfulness. Two constant sources of distress and dismay were the Tory attacks on the disabled and/or jobless, and the seemingly never-ending stream of disgusting comments about rape to emerge from the Republican party. -Orlando

Your favourite bit of activism from 2012?

Feminists coming together to denounce the transphobic entry police of RadFem2012 made me smile and squee. And had the conference not been cancelled, there was going to have been an amazing teach-in going on outside... -Orlando

Not as world-changing as some, perhaps, but the WorldPride 2012 Asexual Conference was a pretty big deal - it’s the first time something so major has happened, and it’s exciting that we’re now at that stage. - Jenni

The best ( or most impressively non-oppressive) bit of pop-culture you engaged with this year?

The game Mass Effect 3. Not just a story I find amazing (disappointing ending notwithstanding). I had a chance for my male protagonist Commander Shepherd to start a relationship with a man (Steve Cortez), after ending things with the genderless blue telepathic alien from my Mass Effect 2 game save. I don’t know how many games can say that and still be blockbusters. Nothing personal Liara T’Soni. Also a neat highlight of the game was the relationship between the artificial intelligence EDI and the mobility-impaired human pilot Joker. Sci-fi sextastic (Bishop).

The scene in Skyfall where James Bond can be seen to have said he’s bisexual. - Isadora

Strangely enough, Brave - I was very happy to have a film with the focus on a mother/daughter relationship, with both of them being genuinely strong characters (not the strong-flawless type) and to lack a romance subplot too! - Jenni

I don’t think there’s any one particular piece of mainstream pop-culture that I can think of from this year that I’d describe as ‘impressively non-oppressive’ but over the course of the year, I have been noticing a much higher ‘base level’ of engagement with feminism in a lot of pop culture. Parks and Recreation is an awesome show that is explicitly feminist (because Amy Poelher is just the best) and I think, particularly with Tina Fey and Amy Poelher hosting the Golden Globes, there’s a bit of a reversal of that whole ‘women aren’t funny’ nonsense. There are even some corners of the internet where this seems to be the case - can anyone imagine this article by Luke McKinney being posted on Cracked a year ago?

Something awesome you learned/discovered?

That I can be an influence on others! I’m used to thinking about other people who inspire me, but I have, to my astonishment, found out that the things I care about and take action on have been inspirational to some people I know this year. - Isadora

I came out as bi to my very religious mother at the end of 2011 and she’s since started talking about women with me in a way that is both weird and lovely. So I’d say I discovered a new aspect to my relationship with my mum. Also, that I’m more capable than I used to believe.

What was your 2012 Lash-career like?

I joined Lashings late in 2012 and joined in the protest to save the women’s library. I’m excited to newly be a part of Lashings! - Isadora

I did things I never thought I’d do: sung a cappella on stage, and even danced a little! As well as madcap travelling to gigs around the country, I’ve also been writing for Lashings regularly. I’m sad that circumstances prevented my joining the gang in Edinburgh, as I feel like my experience of Lashings can almost be counted in units of “Edinburghs”. I first met Lashings in Edinburgh 2010 (and ended up loving the show so much I saw them twice), and it was in Edinburgh 2011 when Annalytica first discussed the idea of my joining - so going and performing at Edinburgh 2012 would have been perfect. But onwards and upwards - hopefully I’ll be treading the boards in Edinburgh in 2013! It’s been an amazing ride so far - I’m so pleased to have finally joined. -Orlando

I joined Lashings this year and it’s been awesome. I’ve met really fantastic people and had a lot of fun. I’ve actually danced onstage which was surprising! Unfortunately, like Orlando, I didn’t get to go to Edinburgh with Lashings this year but hopefully that’ll be something I can manage in 2013. -Sasha Rocket

What do you want to see happen in 2013?

I'm looking forward to marriage law being equalised. For my younger (10-15 years ago) self this is a huge dream come true. I might not feel exactly the same about marriage anymore but this would have made my younger self’s year life.
In a more trivial area, as a dancer, I would love to see programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing have non-heteronormative pairings. It’s going to happen at some point. - Isadora

I am looking forward to (hopefully this year) seeing ‘Tropes vs. Women in Video Games’ a Kickstarter funded project by Anita Sarkeesian. This video series promises to address the sexist tropes that are present in games and gaming culture at large. Sarkeesian is famous for her highly enlightening Feminist Frequency series and the unfortunate hate campaign that followed when her latest project was announced. As a comic book reader, I would also like to see a better representation of female comic book characters with less sexual objectification following the ‘Hawkeye Initiative’ of Dec’ 2012. If the comic book writers can listen to fans and put meme jokes into the Deadpool serials, I would sure think they could listen about how objectification is damaging for audiences. Here’s to hoping for a less oppressive geeknerd culture (Bishop).

I’d like to tack my agreement onto everything that’s already been said but I’d especially like to see more non-faily pop culture and, like Bishop says, a less oppressive geekdom. -Sasha Rocket

^ Can I add in Escher Girls link, even though it’s been going longer?
I want to see more asexual visibility - we already had a massive surge this year, so it’s an exciting time for us! - Jenni

What do you want to MAKE happen in 2013?

Is it too optimistic to say 'bring about queer-feminist anti-kyriarchal utopia'? I guess so. In which case, keep on making safer spaces for the people who need them - and keep on working to change the world outside those spaces, one teaspoon at a time. -Orlando

I’m with Orlando here, but on a less optimistic scale - get the notion of ‘asexuality’ out there. And create a space for geeks that’s queer/female friendly (not at all a plug for Nine Worlds, I promise...) - Jenni

Every time I try to answer this question, my brain just keeps yelling ‘CHEESECAKE’ at me. So, I guess I want to make cheesecake happen in 2013. Plus, I’m really looking forward to certain lashplans that I’m also hoping to be involved in. -Sasha Rocket

What do you want to do in Lashings this year?

I’m pretty excited to newly be a part of Lashings. I’m looking forward to being in a pantomime. And challenging dance stereotypes as much as I can in any performances :) - Isadora

Keep on blogging! - Jenni

I might die of joy the first time Lashings performs a song I’ve written. (Sebastienne and Zim are both ready and waiting for the one I’m working on right now, but it’s still not complete...) Aside from wanting to write a lot of songs and sketches (and having grand ambitions of them becoming Lashings classics), I want to develop as a performer myself and become confident with a wider range of Lashings numbers. And of course, I’ll continue blogging - I have quite a few topics lined up! -Orlando

I’m hoping to get better at dancing as that’s something I feel less confident about, and I want to write stuff. -Sasha Rocket

… so those are the thoughts of some Lashers on the year behind and the year behind. How about you?

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