Tuesday 31 July 2012

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger Bee TimerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

Just in time for the Edinburgh Festival, Annalytica has launched a new website all about feminist performers.

Jenni is part of a new 201-level asexuality blog, and can be found under the name Pix over on http://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/. Whilst you're there, have a read of another blogger, Aydan's work on Sexism and Asexuality.

Why I'm An Intersex Feminist: Boldly Go writes on intersectionality, privilege and women-only spaces. 'Feminism is varied and it applies to people as their intersection dictates. I have abandoned the notion of deciding what feminism “needs to focus on” and realised my own privilege.'

Charlotte Cooper writes about posing for the Adipositivity Project: "I love the Adipositivity aesthetic, which is totally at home with femme and queer identity, often full of delicious colour, witty, sexy, imaginative, and stuffed with personality and style ... When you appear on the site it's a measure of how far you've come in refuting fatphobia. It's not only about having your picture taken and allowing others to see it, it's also about being able to look at your own image without terror or disgust."

This week, the debate over fisting and extreme pornography is back in the courts with a man on trial for being sent emails containing photographs of fisting. You can follow the trial live on twitter at #porntrial.

We may not see eye-to-eye with John Scalzi on everything, but his response to sexist twerps ragging on female cosplayers [TW for misogyny at that link] is right on the money... Who Gets to Be a Geek? ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE!

The whole Anita Sarkeesian...thing has been a source of rage to a number of Lashers, this blog entry, was by far the most helpful reading on the topic to some of us.

[TW for discussion of rape and rape humour in the next couple of links.] On the back of Daniel Tosh's 'hilarious' comedy stylings earlier this month, Kate Harding put together a list of 15 Rape jokes that, in her opinion, actually work. [Spoiler: the punchline? All 15 are about rape culture rather than rape.]

How To Be A Fan of Problematic Things: Not really new at this point, but a really good 101 on, well, being a fan of problematic things and the idea that just because you're criticizing something, doesn't mean you don't still love it.

Friday 27 July 2012

Accessibility: not just for audiences

kaberettPosted by kaberett

"Is the venue accessible?" we ask: it's rare to be offered the information.

"Oh yes," they say. (Usually.)

So we arrive, and we find that the green room is down a steep, narrow flight of stairs. Or that it's impossible to get a wheelchair (even one as narrow as mine) through the door to the backstage loos - and the nearest disabled toilet is behind locked doors. Or the stage is up a flight of stairs and there's no way to fit a ramp into the venue.

Let me spell that out: accessibility of venues seems, for most people, to be entirely about the question of whether a wheelchair-using audience member can get into the room.

I am not the first crip to get up on stage and perform. I am certainly not the first disabled person to want to get up on stage and perform.  As Galatea pointed out not very many weeks ago, all of us have been here all the time.
You wouldn't know it from the reactions we get.

I started using a wheelchair earlier this year. In a few short months, I've got very, very good at recognising a number of facial expressions that never used to happen to me: there's oh-no-what-happened; there's sorry-mate-I-didn't-see-you; and - my favourite! - there's shit-a-wheelchair-how-do-we-Handle-This.

So. Here's a quick primer:
    1. remember that access is not just about wheelchairs.
    2. remember that access is not just for the audience.
    3. if you're organising an event, ask the venue about accessibility, then include the information as part of your standard event information. Access info should be as easy to find as the date and location of the gig.
    4. if you provide venues, and you get asked about accessibility, don't forget to include information relevant to performers.
      ... and never, ever skimp on gathering and distributing this information because you don't know of any attendees or performers with access needs. It's a really good way to guarantee that we (and our carers, for those of us that have 'em) won't show up: if we don't know or can't easily find out the information in advance, an event is not accessible, regardless of the number of ramps and grab handles the venue's installed.

      And this? This is what I love about Lashings: about attending gigs, about performing in gigs, about the support network that's settled into place around me. In short, for me and my needs, Lashings is (relatively speaking - nobody's perfect) accessibility win -- and, if you don't mind, I'd like to summarise how.
      • I am given enthusiastic support when I raise the topic of writing grumpy letters to venues that told us they were accessible but turned out not to be.
      • We make sure that we have food available that's safe for everyone, when we snack during rehearsals.
      • Whenever possible, we set up (and advertise!) quiet space available to both performers and audience.
      • Where a show will involve audience participation, seating for people willing to participate and for those who would rather not is clearly marked.
      • Access information is included as standard when advertising events, and we've recently started to include trigger warnings.
      • Lashers don't blink twice when I ask them to carry my chair up or down stairs for me, or to get me some blood sugar Right Now.
      • We dedicate significant chunks of rehearsal time to working out how to rework existing dances so that they actively take advantage of wheelchair dancing, instead of treating the chair as an inconvenience. I like to call this discipline... chaireography.
       ... and then, of course, there's Edinburgh. The Fringe: where up to 15 of us cram into a flat that - to be honest - was not designed for that many people, and try not to implode. This summer will be my first Fringe, and it will be made even more exciting by the fact that a relatively high proportion of those going along will be new Lashers - and I for one haven't yet quite worked out how I fit into the group, and which of my corners need if not sanding then at least some padding.

      So what have we done about it?

      An awful lot of introspection and an awful lot of soul-baring. We've prepared documents on our access needs - food preferences, mealtime requirements, sleeping arrangements, triggers (from the common to the obscure - one of mine is the phrase "SPOON OF GLORY"...), and anything else we think it would be helpful to know. More importantly than that, we acknowledge that we won't all be able to memorise All Of The Things: that these documents are guidelines and exist to smooth our passage, not as texts to be desperately memorised before the practical exam. We've pre-arranged multiple set-lists, so that if any one person is having a bad pain or fatigue or brain day, The Show Can Go On. (What this means for you is that in order to catch all the material, you need to come and see us at least twice. ;) We've thought about how to arrange our flyering so people who can't stand for protracted periods aren't disadvantaged; we've worked out how to get between venue and flat. We've made sure that we know in advance what the venue is like, so those of us with mobility needs can plan around the reality. For the audience? Last week I created a master-list of triggers for all our acts, and the triggers for the evening's show will be available online and as a poster on the door - and we hope to be able to give more detail in person for anyone with concerns.

      Plus I'm being encouraged to write a myth-busting song about wheelchair users and mobility impairments: if there's a better way to make me feel that my disabilities are 100% not An Issue To Solve, I haven't thought of it yet.

      Of course, improving the accessibility of Lashings for Lashers (and, for that matter, for you-our-lovely-audiences) is very much an ongoing project: we're not perfect, we do mess up, and we don't (and can't) anticipate all of everyone's needs. Had people thought through all the implications of having a wheelchair user on stage before I showed up? Well, no, they hadn't. But what I've found - and keep finding, over and over - is that people listen to me, and make adjustments as necessary.

      Obviously, we'd like to do this for our audiences too: are there aspects of access that we should have thought about but haven't? Anything we can do form that perspective to make our shows more enjoyable for you? Please please please let us know - comments are great, but so are e-mails.

      On which note, I'll leave you with the photograph I'd've included last time had I been just a tad bit more organised. 'til Edinburgh!

      [A grinning person sits in a wheelchair, dressed all in black except for a red top hat, holding up a sign that reads "the Government says I'm not disabled."]

      Tuesday 24 July 2012

      Links round up

      Lashings of Ginger Bee TimerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

      A wonderful profile of Bikers Against Child Abuse, a group who donate their time, money and emotional resources to helping children feel safe [CN: article discusses child abuse, rape, traumatic court procedures].

      Jenn Frank talks about her experiences with exceptionalism and internalised misogyny [CN: misogyny, self-hatred]: I Was A Teenage Sexist:
      My best college friend used to make this joke: “I’m as good as white, good as white.” He was South Asian but from the ‘burbs; I knew his joke made me uncomfortable, but I could never pinpoint why. For my own part, I’d internally subscribed to a similar mantra: “I’m just as good as a man, as good as a man.” Feminists? Ugh. Please. What insufferable people. How about battered husbands? What of fathers’ rights? Or feeding and sheltering the poor? Come on. Invent a real social cause, already.
      Another one for all the Sci-Fi Skit fans out there (even though this particular Skit has yet to be written!): Gender-swapped Avengers! (Also: who would vastly prefer to read the Marvel universe where Natalia Romanova/Black Widow is going out with Antonia Stark/Iron Woman? WE WOULD!)

      Being a flake: Living with a fluctuating condition

      The commentary on this doesn't quite have its facts straight (most women didn't have jobs before the 1940s? Pshaw!), but the pictures are well worth a look: Did Your Grandma Assemble a WWII Bomber? Gorgeous colour photos of women in the workforce during the 1940s from the US Library of Congress.

      Friday 20 July 2012

      London Lashings + CN Lester, 27th July

      AnnalyticaPosted by Annalytica

      We are very excited about our new show, Alternative Sex Education! Having already performed this show at Oxfringe, and selected acts at The Cutlery Drawer in Brighton and Cambridge, we're now gearing up to take Alt.Sex.Ed to London!

      We're returning to The Pirate Castle, the lovely venue where we performed the panto in February. We are delighted to be joined by the stunningly talented CN Lester, who will be performing songs from their album Ashes.

      Alt.Sex.Ed is a journey through what we learned and what we wish we'd learned about sex and sexuality while we were growing up. Drawing on threads from previous shows and weaving in new acts, it has been described as "a veritable jumper of awesomeness". It is also the show that has swept new Lashers kabarett, Orlando and Valentina into the fold!

      So, here are the details:

      The address for the venue is: Pirate Castle, Oval Road, London NW1 7EA
      Doors open at 7:30 and the show will begin at 8.
      Tickets cost £7/£5 concessions
      Food and drink are not available on site but you are welcome to bring your own.

      The venue is fully wheelchair accessible, with accessible and gender-liberated toilets. There are four steps, or a purpose-built lift, to access the performance space. There will be plenty of seating.

      Trigger warnings for this show are listed here. One section of this show is particularly distressing, and there will be an onstage warning before that section. There will be someone on hand to answer questions about triggers on the night, and there will be seats reserved for those who may need to leave the room.

      If you have any questions about accessibility, triggers or anything else, please get in touch at feministburlesque@gmail.com

      We hope to see you there!

      Friday 13 July 2012

      London Pride 2012

      Posted by Cleopatra

      So I went to World Pride in London on Saturday. Pride, to my mind, is one of those things that come round once a year, like your birthday or Christmas. You wander into Soho, you watch the parade, you go check out the rally and booths in Trafalgar Square, meet as many of your queer friends as you have the energy to find in all the crowds. (Then depending on said energy levels, stay out and drink for a bit or go home.) I’ve gone every year I’ve been in London since I started identifying as queer.

      Tuesday 10 July 2012

      Links round-up

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

      Asaf Einy for Israel's FOD magazine creates a photoshoot featuring men with femme-coded hairstyles. It's gorgeous.

      [image description: a young, thin white man sits on a stool wearing a pair of white trunk-style undershorts 
      and a grey hooded sweatshirt.  His dark hair is backcombed into a 1960s-style beehive with a flowing fringe]

      Busty Girl Comics! Artist Rampaige discusses the joys and nusiances associated with being in possession of breasts that occasionally get in the owner's way. She also explicitly states that her comics are for everyone, whether they identify as busty, as girls, or otherwise.

      Over in fandom, lightgetsin has written an essay entitled Do I Do It For You? Service Kink & Disability - a thoughtful discussion about how to negotiate the intimacy and power of service relationships, regardless of whether they're romantic, and how these relationships often appear to casual observors.

      [CN: Misogyny, harassment, violence] The latest re: Anita Sarkeesian: one particular harasser has now made an online game where people can virtually punch Sarkeesian in the face. An in-depth discussion with extracts from the misogynist twerp game-creator's Twitter feed is here.

      Friday 6 July 2012

      And all of us here have been here all the time: Historicism, non-normativity, and People Like Me

      Posted by Galatea

      This is prompted by an epic debate thread that, at the time of writing, seems to be just kicking off over at Shakesville (ETA: The discussion thread has now closed). In the midst of a rather interesting post about stereotyping of Scottish people in the upcoming Disney/Pixar film Brave (link contains spoilers!) several commenters have also begun a discussion about the representation of non-white people in medieval-themed fantasy writing. As the link isn't good for anyone who wants to stay spoiler-free for the film (*shakes fist in the direction of movie Powers That Be who have proclaimed that UK viewers shall not be allowed to see it until August*), I've excerpted a couple of comments below:

      (discussion below the cut does NOT include spoilers for Brave: please do not post any in the comments!).