Tuesday 31 January 2012

Links round up

Another Angry Woman on the links between anarchism and BDSM
"Often anarchist organisation delegates responsibility for certain tasks to voluntary working groups or meeting facilitators. Any social power given is strictly limited (e.g. to organising certain activities), and is subject to withdrawal at any time by the will of participants, a democratic version of screaming out the name of a fruit when the beating goes beyond one’s limits. Crucial to both anarchist and BDSM circles is the attempt to ensure that such hierarchies, established because they’re either practical or fun, are fluid, properly scrutinised, organised consensually and explicitly temporary."

Article on polyamory in the Guardian. Fearlessknits describes their own poly family, in response to allegations that Newt Gingrich asked his ex-wife for an open marriage.
"Had Newt Gingrich followed these principles and talked about his needs and desires, he might have negotiated with his wife to open up his marriage and pursued an interesting friendship. As it is, he appears to have asked to keep a clandestine, non-consensual relationship that he had already started. Who knows, maybe, if he had talked first, then instead of dealing with a media storm, he could have been coming home to both the women he loved."

Cis-sexism and Transphobia in the bi community, by bisexual genderqueer feminist Shiri Eisner.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Book your tickets for the Lashings Panto!

AnnalyticaPosted by Annalytica

If you want to be sure of getting a seat at the momentous event that will be the first ever Lashings Pantomime, you can now book online. Payment will still be at the door.

To book for the London show on 3rd February, visit this link: http://alturl.com/2dc4y
Doors open at 8, panto starts at 8:30.

To book for the Oxford show on 11th February, visit this link: http://alturl.com/7ixjb
Doors open at 7, and there will be all manner of exciting support acts until 9, when the panto itself will begin!

Please note that if you have not arrived by the time the panto is due to start, we may offer your seat to someone else.

Please invite all your friends!

Friday 27 January 2012

Comments on Consent (Based on the BBC Article on Asexuality)

JenniPosted by Jenni

[Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, rape, violence]

As some of you may know, I recently appeared both in a TV program on BBC3 and in a linked article on their news website. Most of the response I've had has either been positive, or curious, but here I'm going to discuss the negatives. (Oh, and the most common 'worry' I've had? “Aren't you worried if you're not out to your parents about doing that?” I'm sort of out – the program just exaggerated. I'm out to my mum, and she even watched the program, whereas me and my dad do not talk about sex. Ever. So it doesn't get discussed.)

Now I'll be clear here and say that these comments weren't all that common, but they still existed. Comments like “Oh, her boyfriend just needs to man up and make her have sex,” were the nicest. Seriously. Other such 'nice' comments included suggestions I was going elsewhere for sex and stringing him along, or that he would eventually cheat on me. The not nice ones? Well, that either the person in question would 'fix me' (often discussing how I 'wasn't half bad looking, bit boyish, but she'd still love it, right?) or that my boyfriend would just have to rape me. Yes, you heard that right. People suggested that having willingly gotten into a relationship with an openly asexual girl, done visibility with her about it and seemed pretty okay with it, the obvious ending to the story is that my boyfriend would turn into a rapist.

The reason these comments annoyed me so much is they don't just manage to be anti-asexual, virgin-shaming and misogynistic – they're also encouraging the view that men can't help their sexual urges, and it's only a matter of time before they have to act on them! Now, speaking as a girl, maybe I'm wrong? But no, I'm pretty sure that all of my friends are adult enough to well, have a minimum level of self-control. You know, not to decide 'I want to have sex with her, screw her feelings on the matter!'. Other comments linked to this included insults to his masculinity, suggestions he must be gay to be happy with the arrangement, or that maybe he was 'too pathetic'.

An interesting opposition to this is my brother's response to the program. My brother is a 'lad', of the most traditional sense – he likes drinking, going out with the boys, discusses 'fit girls' with them, etc. And his only comment on me and my boyfriend as portrayed in the program? “Fair play to him.” He actually appreciates the respect and understanding my boyfriend's role involves – it's not a slight to his masculinity, if anything, it highlights it in that he doesn't feel the need to prove himself.

Now, if you've actually read the article in question, you may notice that nowhere in it do I state whether or not I am celibate as well as asexual, so all of these comments come from assumptions. And these assumptions have led to the idea that it's not okay for me to force someone to be celibate for me, but it is okay for someone to force me to have sex. Now I don't want to argue that the former is okay – it's not – but neither is the latter. Both of these are unacceptable forms of acting in a relationship because they involve forcing someone to do what they don't want to do. Asking someone to do something is great, and if they refuse, then you need to have a good long chat and decide whether it's something you can compromise on – and if it's not, then force shouldn't ever be involved. It's also okay to break up if you don't think you can sleep with someone/can't be in a relationship without sex. It doesn't make you a bad person. Like with marriage, or children, or anything else important to someone – if one person considers something a necessity to a relationship and the other doesn't, and if it's something the two of them can't compromise on, then it won't work. And that's fine - you're allowed to end a relationship that won't satisfy what you need, and it certainly doesn't make you or the other person the 'bad guy'.

Consent isn't just important in sex – I've seen the discussed elsewhere that we have a culture that devalues consent. As a tee-total person, I experience it it elsewhere too:
Go on, have a drink.”
Oh, why not, go on...” is quite a common conversation for me. The word 'no' is devalued in culture in general, and this obviously plays into consent elsewhere. Equally, with the drink conversation, I've had 'friends' try to spike my drink (Spiking water with vodka? Really? I'm not stupid.) to prove to me that alcohol is okay. Sound familiar? Whilst consent in sex is, I would argue, the most important place for consent to be valued, it needs to be valued all the time – the word 'no' needs to mean something. I'm sure that most people (I know I've done it myself) have done the 'come on, do x' 'no' 'oh go on...' conversation with someone, and I know for one that the responses to my article have inspired me to stop. Even the little things -
"Are you coming the pub tonight?"
"No, I don't want to."
"Aw, why not?"
"I'm just not up for it."
"Oh, come on."
"Rather not."
- sound innocent enough, but once we stop taking 'No' at face value (yes, maybe asking for a reason is fine, but they don't have to give you one, but once the answer is no, that's when you stop) here, we stop it elsewhere.

Anything that's a minority - like being tee-total and a student - is bound to get this, so if we look from this small example to the bigger minorities, we find that yes, as expected - a minority saying no is often valued less than the majority. As with my example - an asexual saying no to sex isn't taken seriously, and it becomes a problem that needs to be fixed. This can be these case with lesbian women too - the assumption that the 'no' is meaningless and a bit of hetero-sex will fix them - and I'm sure other people would have examples of this happening in other ways.

The point of this then? Even those of us who value consent in sex should look at how we value consent elsewhere, because the less the word 'no' means in society, the less it means in specific, important situations. And the less it means in those situations for those of us who aren't hetero-normative. I'm not sure if other people find it the case, but I find it easier to call out someone pressuring someone to go to the pub than I do to get into a discussion on rape culture - but I like to believe that at least, in doing that, I'm trying to emphasis the 'no means no' point for a potential future conversation.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Oxford events round-up

Lashings of Ginger Beer

Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Here are some shiny events happening in Oxford over the next few weeks.

Oxford Lesbian History Group

Tuesday 24 January, 8pm - Downstairs at the Castle

Discussion of women's diaries and letters, the practical and interpretative difficulties of working with them.

Oxford International Women's Festival Fundraiser

Monday 30 January, 7pm - Port Mahon

Lucy Aryton - Poet
Stuart Bryant - Poet
Hannah Bruce - Acoustic singer / songwriter
Tamara Parsons Baker - Singer/ songwriter
Rachel Hughes - Pianist / singer / songwriter

Oxford University lecture for LGBT History Month (all welcome):
Alan Turing: the One who became a Zero
A lecture by Dr Andrew Hodges, author of Alan Turing: The Enigma

Tuesday 7 February, 5.30pm

Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW
"Alan Turing was the chief scientific figure in the Anglo-American codebreaking effort in World War II, centred on Bletchley Park. His life as a gay man illustrates the harsh oppression but also the growing consciousness of that era."

Oh, and did we mention we're having a party on Saturday 11 February, including your LAST CHANCE TO SEE the Lashings of Ginger Beer Time Pantomime? It's at the East Oxford Community Centre from 7pm. Read about it on Facebook or on the blog.

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger Beer

Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

A Game of Thrones might be problematic in all sorts of ways, but this is rather awesome... actor Peter Dinklage speaks out against abuse of people with dwarfism at the Golden Globe Awards.

Under Duress: Agency, Power and Consent: an excellent and very finely-nuanced post on the uses and problems of understanding consent as a binary:
ETA: You can also now read Part 2 of the post at A Radical TransFeminist's site.

From the Hairpin: Alice Duer Miller, Are Women People? -- suffragist poetry from 1915.  An example:

Our Idea of Nothing at All 
("I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman."—Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)
O women, have you heard the news
Of charity and grace?
Look, look, how joy and gratitude
Are beaming in my face!
For Mr. Webb is not opposed
To woman in her place! 
O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
To let us live at all,
To let us light the kitchen range
And tidy up the hall;
To tolerate the female sex
In spite of Adam's fall. 
O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
Should alter his decree!
Suppose he were opposed to us—
Opposed to you and me.
What would be left for us to do—
Except to cease to be?
Miller would so have been a Lasher.

Friday 20 January 2012

The Girl Who Is A Lot More Than Her Physical Characteristics, Actually [rape triggers]

GoblinPosted by Goblin

So, further to Sebastienne’s frankly brilliant post t’other day about concepts of self-belief, self-doubt and the fantasy of understanding in Paging Doctor Sherlock House, let’s talk about what happens on the rare occasions when the supercharacter in question is female. As Sebastienne has already discussed the case of Holmes’ former nemesis and now (apparently) sap Irene Adler, I won’t go into that, but believe me it’s tempting – instead, let’s talk about Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (It seems important to point out here that The Young Female Defined By A Notable Physical Feature wasn't actually the original title of this book: the literal translation of the Swedish Män som hatar kvinnor is 'Men Who Hate Women', which is going to be relevant in due course.) Apologies to those who haven't seen the films or read the books - this post contains spoilers.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Lashers in the news!

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Not one but two of our favourite queer people have been featured in national news in the last week!

Lashings' own Jenni was interviewed for the BBC documentary "How Sex Works" in which she talks in her usual articulate way about being a romantic asexual. The video will be available on iPlayer for another 11 days. Jenni's section is at 17:30. Her story is also discussed in this article.

Meanwhile, Lashfriend Ariel Silvera was interviewed in the Irish Independent for a feature on transgendered folk, where she successfully challenged some of the interviewer's narrow ideas about trans women.

Lest the excitement of this post should detract from yesterday's news.....did we mention we're putting on a PANTO?

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Cinderella: A Queer Sort of Pantomime

Cinderella posterLashings of Ginger Beer

Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Hello, boys and girls and everyone else!

Just in time to beat the midwinter misery, join radical queer feminist burlesquers LASHINGS OF GINGER BEER TIME in their first foray into full-length foolishness! Yes, it’s time for the very first Lashings of Ginger Beer Time Pantomime! Gleefully revelling in all the best elements of panto -- appalling puns, women in tailcoats and knee-boots, happy endings and slightly inebriated Fairy Godparents -- we’re ditching the more faily bits of the pantomime tradition in order to fit in more jokes about weasels.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Zemirah Moffat's Visual Anthropology PhD looked at radical queer ways of being in London's Club Wotever. She presented her research through a film, "Mirror Mirror", and a text, "One Queer Gift". Both of these can be seen on her website at queergiving.co.uk

Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers) - Jim Hines tries to replicate the poses of women on the front covers of fantasy novels, and finds them quite painful. This reminds me of Rion Sabean's "Men-Ups".

Regender - a web service which genderfucks the internet. We love its introductory text:

Welcome to a little experiment in webpage translation. Have you ever wondered...
  • What would the world look like if the two sexes switched places?
  • What would it look like if English had genderless pronouns?
  • What would it look like if English identified races the way it identifies gender?
Language has power.

Friday 13 January 2012

This Song Is Not About You

GalateaPosted by Galatea

As shocking and startling as it may seem to you and me (she says, only somewhat facetiously), Lashings does get a bad review every now and then. Personally, I tend to pay much more attention to these than I do to positive feedback: as a nervous perfectionist, I like tweaking the corners of our shows to try to make them the best shambolic journeys into QUILTBAG anarchy that they can possibly be...

There is one line of critique, though, that gets not only my goat, but my chickens, my Shetland pony and my small herd of heritage-breed long-horned cattle, too. It's the variations that we occasionally hear on the theme of 'Awww, their hearts are in the right place. But it's 2012 (or 2011, or 2010...). Is there really a need for a whole cabaret show about gender and sexuality?'*.

*  [Unspoken subtext: 'You ladeez and queers is equal now, plz to STFU about teh oppresshionz']

Tell you what, boys and girls and everyone else: I would take this criticism so much more seriously if I'd ever heard it come out of the mouth of a queer person.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Academic round-up

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Information on events and opportunities for students and academics in the fields of gender, sexuality, and intersectionality.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Links roundup

Lashings of Ginger Beer
Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

 Dear Customer Who Stuck Up For His Little Brother...  an incredibly sweet first-hand account of parental gender-policing and two kids' attempt to stand up against it.

'Archie' Comics Features Its First Gay Wedding. One, two, three, AWWWW.

Clinical Psychology study at the University of Hertforshire is looking for LGB volunteers who have experienced homophobia:http://sdu-surveys.herts.ac.uk/copingwithhomophobia

For anyone disappointed with Moffatt's retelling of the Irene Adler story, here is fix-it fanfic (contains spoilers):

Friday 6 January 2012

Paging Doctor Sherlock House..


Posted by Sebastienne

OK, so, I am a massive Doctor Who fan. Old and new. As I sit typing this, I can look up and see 50 DVDs spanning the show's history, chronologically arranged.

And I'm a massive Sherlock Holmes fan. I first read the books aged 12 (I was going on my first overseas school trip, and what was I going to do, talk to my peers for a week?); then at 19 a girlfriend introduced me to Jeremy Brett's impeccable performance from the 1980s, and I was in love.

So I should be happy, right? Both of these things I adore have enjoyed a massive surge in popularity over the last five years.

But, you know, I'm not. In fact, I'm not just unhappy; I am fucking INCANDESCENT. And why? Because suddenly, these things that I could enjoy - where I could circumlegate the faily parts by reminding myself that they were "products of their time" - are being created Right Now. Are huge shows and blockbuster films and are actively engaged in creating culture. And the culture that they are creating is hateful.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Links roundup

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Ker-pow! Women kick back against comic-book sexism
The Guardian reports on a new comic anthology featuring female artists and male writers.
"Historically the comic book industry has been very male-dominated, but recently there has been a shift," says Lisa Wood, co-founder of the Thought Bubble festival, a six-day event in Leeds billed as the UK's largest annual event celebrating all "sequential art" forms. "We are suddenly hearing women's views and experiences on politics, religion, sexual ideas and parenthood. But most importantly these stories are not exclusive to women, they are stories for everyone."
Another Grauniad article, this one about sexism in the media:
Leveson inquiry should address media sexism, women's groups demand

Nonbinary  is a new visibility, education and advocacy network for those who don't fit the gender binary.

The performance of masculinity
Charlie Glickman writes about male gender socialisation.

“Mommy, they are just like me.”
A mother writes about her six year old son's crush on a gay male character in Glee. This is why representation in the popular media matters - it gives us a reference point to talk about our own experiences, and normalises those experiences.

Sunday 1 January 2012

A year in the life of Lashings

AnnalyticaPosted by Annalytica

It seems like an appropriate time to look back on 2011. It's been a very busy year for Lashings! We've developed new acts, welcomed new members, met some awesome people, and generally had a fabulous time!