Tuesday 27 December 2011

The search for Dandini..

SebastiennePosted by Sebastienne

You may have noticed that things have been a little quieter than usual at Lashings HQ. Oh, sure, we've been posting here every Friday like clockwork, but when's the last time you got to see us do a little bit of feminist burlesque?

This is because we've been working on a SUPER-SEKRIT project of SUPER-SECRECY.

Ok, twist my arm why don't you - it's a panto!

Now, you might be suddenly struck with the urge to repress memories of people in ill-fitting fursuits, enforced heterosexuality, and misogynistic drag. But enough about your plans for New Year's Eve! Panto was once a transgressive mash-up of Comedia dell'Arte and Music Hall, and we want to reclaim a little bit of that boundary-bending anarchy.

So why are we spilling all our super-secrets? It's because we need your help! Due to a last-minute casting-clash, we're in need of a spare actor! You don't need to have any stage experience - commitment and enthusiasm are much more important. Ideally, we'd like to have met you before, or know someone you know, so we can feel a little bit secure. Does this sound like something you could do?

DANDINI: best friend of Princess Charlotte. She is a butch straight woman who is constantly getting read as gay. Ideally, should be able to swap clothes with Princess Charlotte (Annalytica) and be comfortable with both slapstick violence and kink. Can be played as a full-on Lord Flasheart impersonation if desired.

We need an actor who can:

- be available in London on the following dates: 28 January & 3 February
- be available in Oxford on the following dates: 14 January & 11 February
- be available in one of those cities at some point between now and 14 January. 30 December in Oxford would be amazing, but not essential.

We can offer to pay travel costs.

Spread the word!

Links roundup

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Here's hoping you're enjoying or at least surviving whatever you and your loved ones celebrate at this time of year. Have some links!

Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off About Pink Toys

One of Lashings' most favouritest performers has made some of their tracks available online for your enjoyment. Listen to CN Lester's covers of I'm Your Man and Lilac Wine  - and if you want more, their EP is on Amazon and iTunes, and their album is out at the end of January!

No forced kisses for your kids - an article about helping children learn to set boundaries (and expect them to be respected!) at family gatherings.

Rape prevention posters telling women to be careful not to get raped. The post invites readers to complain to Hertfordshire Police, who produced the posters.

Friday 23 December 2011

Kitty Softpaws, Hollywood Gender Win, and Five Reasons Why Galatea's Hypothetical Children Will Be Allowed to Watch 'Puss in Boots'

GalateaPosted by Galatea

Following on the heels of Annalytica's post on the messages that we take in, consciously and unconsciously, from popular culture... I'm pleased to report a minor episode of mainstream Hollywood film gender-win, just in time for anyone who feels like taking in a film over the holidays!

I went to see the new 'Puss in Boots' film expecting not-a-great-deal in the way of positive political messages. As a pop culture and folklore/fairytale geek, I usually find films from the Shrek franchise juuuust clever and entertaining enough for me to put up with their fail -- but the fail is definitely there. The exploitation of stereotypes in the Shrek world is occasionally playful and parodic, but I find that it often steers too close to uncritical parroting of sexist, racist and fatphobic traits for me to be entirely comfortable with it (and I'll deliver my full critique of the politics of Shrek another day, boys and girls and everyone else).

The trailer, which focuses heavily on the figure of Puss himself and the action scenes, can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55gmAtakjJ4 -- and again, it doesn't promise much in the way of departure from what we've seen in previous Shrek outings. So while I like Puss, and enjoy listening to Antonio Banderas go 'Meow!' as much as the next gentleman-fancying person, I really wasn't expecting great things from this film. But what I got was...

Kitty Softpaws. Leaving aside the rather icky name (gratuitous pun on equally ickily-named James Bond character for the lose), what we have here is a mainstream Hollywood heroine who does the ass-kicking-female bit we've all seen from a hundred tedious action films... but takes it a bit further in some quite pleasing and interesting ways.


Tuesday 20 December 2011

Links roundup

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

As always, feel free to share your own links, with trigger warnings as appropriate.

What do you want? Holly at the Pervocracy on knowing your own desires when socialised as female.
"Here I am all prepared to acknowledge and communicate my desires, and my desires are... uh... hm. I'm so used to putting the "no it's bad and selfish to want things" mental block between my desires and myself that I don't even know what's on the other side."

....and a response by Goblin:
It's not what but who: the problems of desire
"But because so much of the process of my growing up was essentially that of learning *not* to want, to put others’ needs or desires first, even now I can recognise that maybe my (being allowed to) have desires is a Good Thing, my relationship with my desires is stuck somewhere between ID (childlike, animal, raw) and superego (socioculturally mediated, the self in relation to others, what do they want or need) almost without passing through the coherence of ego first."

One teacher's approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom

"As a class, we brainstormed a list of things that students thought were “OK” even though they might challenge society’s gender norms. Monica told us very matter-of-factly, “It’s OK for a girl to marry a girl,” and Jordan said, “My dad carries a purse and that’s OK!”"
I am so not sorry about my vagina, and other apologies we should retract
"I'm an apology addict. Most women I know are similarly afflicted. We think our value as females is dependent on being literally and figuratively pliable to the point of contortions that would make a pretzel or a porn star jealous. And in so doing, we not only devalue our actual important and genuine apologies ("I'm sorry I slept with your brother.") but posit ourselves as being ever in error, constantly over-speaking, overspending, over-laughing, over-crying, overeating, over-existing."

Friday 16 December 2011

You're reading too much into it

AnnalyticaPosted by Annalytica

In case you hadn't noticed, we are rather fond of deconstructing popular media and culture. Whether it's beloved childhood films, television shows we love or shows we hate, advertisingporn, comics, or magazines - we care about the messages sent by popular culture.

This kind of deconstruction is premised on the idea that there are certain assumptions and messages that are conveyed through the mass media. We pick up ideas about how people are or should be, how relationships work, how certain kinds of people behave in certain kinds of situations, and what we can expect from ourselves and others. The media conveys ideas about what is normal and acceptable - and even what kind of people exist at all. We can accept these ideas unthinkingly, or we can examine them and challenge them and ask whether what we're seeing matches up to what we and others experience in our own lives. If it doesn't - does that mean there's something wrong with us, for not being "normal" - or that there's something wrong with the media, for not representing people like us? I would argue that the less time we spend deconstructing the popular media, the more likely we are to believe the former.

Anyone who spends any amount of time talking about these things comes up against the same arguments over and over, from people who don't think this kind of analysis is a worthwhile activity. Discussions about specific cultural messages become arguments about whether there are any messages, and whether it matters what they are. Here I'd like to address some of the most common ones.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

This week's round-up is a) late and b) short because Sebastienne went goth-clubbing. Sorry! If it's any consolation, the theme was "Dress to Kill" so she went as the SCUM Manifesto... anyhow, to the links!

George Monbiot - Unmasking the Press
"The corporate newspapers are the elite’s enforcers, misrepresenting the sources of oppression."
 Fat Heffalump - On “Leggings Are Not Pants and Other Values for Your Kids”
"I know it’s supposed to be a joke, ha ha, leggings are not pants is as important as the other issues, how funny.
Only it’s not funny.  It’s body policing.  It’s classist, ableist, judgemental bullshit wrapped up in a fluff piece for a highly visible online women’s magazine."
A Radical Transfeminist - Significant Othering: Attraction Down the Privilege Gradient
"All people who identify as unattracted to a marginalised group, such as transsexual people, fat people or minority-ethnic people, have a continuing duty to challenge this part of their sexual identity."

Friday 9 December 2011

Safe Spaces?


Posted by Sebastienne

Recently, I've seen some fab queer feminist performances. People like Better Strangers (queer. feminist. opera.) and CN Lester (epic queer singer-songwriter) have made me happy, thoughtful, and/or a little bit turned on. I could write blog posts about how awesome they are, but that's not what I'm doing today.

Today (and I hope Jessie, Clouds, and CN won't take this the wrong way..) I want to talk about how epically shit their venues were.

Now I'm not talking down from a position of perfection. I have played some atrocious gigs in my time and I know it's not always something that an artist has any control over. I know that a lot of the stuff I want to talk about is wrong with the gig scene, but I'm singling out these two recent gigs because they are fresh in my mind.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

A trans-themed links round-up this week:

Guide to safer sex for queer trans men NSFW

Words that are transphobic and why a handy guide. May be triggering.

Do you use boy words or girl words? Or the other words? On pronouns - a rather heart-warming story about children who Get It.

Kavindu "Kavi" Ade performing IT fantastic performance poem about transphobia. Triggering for sexual harassment, transphobia and gender dysphoria.

Captain Awkward: How Not To Talk To People Who Are Telling You Something Sad, aka a beginners' guide to derailing and how not to do it.
When someone is in the middle of telling you their bad news, the kindest, best thing you can do is to treat the other person like they are an expert -- in fact, the sole expert -- on their own experiences.

Friday 2 December 2011

Who needs sociopolitical equality when you have YOGHURT?

Posted by Goblin

So, the swimming pool was busy today and I retreated – uncharacteristically these days – to the gym. Because I am a skint student, my gym doesn’t boast its own continuous music channel, so I had to make do with my walkman and some unnamed terrestrial channel.

And, God help me, I started watching the adverts. Has anyone else ever noticed the sheer proportion of adverts that attempt to sell women products – usually food or domestic products – as emotional fulfilment? They’re all over the show. The two I’m going to talk about are very different – Mr Muscle bathroom and Rachel’s Organic Yoghurt.