Thursday, 12 April 2012

Dissatisfaction with the culture of male hysteria

I'll be attending a Pussy Riot fundraiser on Sunday April 22nd at Shacklewell Arms in East London, to give a small talk on punk, feminism, politics and protest. The line-up is still in progress, but bands confirmed so far include Viv Albertine, Zoetrope, Female Band, New Noveta and Wars. Come watch me blush my way through, in the name of solidarity and grrrl activism. I'll be on stage at 4.30 pm.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

"When I look at my daughter’s face, I know I flew in the face of tradition and culture. She’s an extension of my radical progressive politics. Her birth was outside the norm"

The May edition of DIVA Magazine is out today, and features my investigative article on lezsploitation in UK TV. It also contains my interview with poet and activist Staceyann Chin, on the politics of sex, feminism, the journey towards pregnancy and single-parenting for lesbians.
Aging and motherhood are big topics for me at the moment, and as I navigate those things, I find myself reaching out for older, wiser dykes who have traveled/are traveling those roads and can report back with compass and maps. Talking with Chin was important and rewarding in that respect; she makes aging and motherhood look sexy, rewarding and radical.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

"And god help you if you are an ugly girl/'course too pretty is also your doom/'cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room"

I can understand why any real discussion on the politics of beauty raised in Samantha Brick's Daily Mail article is being undermined under a tide of ridicule; women openly admitting confidence of this magnitude is considered an ugly thing, an exercise in vanity rather than an observation on women's internalized misogyny, and the Mail is renowned for baiting readers with terrible writers and right-wing rhetoric. But whether we like it or not, Brick is right: women can be the worst haterz.

Girls are trained to be deeply judgmental, of themselves and each other. Society teaches us to internalize rules about body and beauty and behaviour, and to enforce these ideas in competitive, violent and self-destructive ways. Women are rarely encouraged to truly support each other, and being bold enough to claim yr a victim of prettiness is massively taboo because it destabilizes the idea that women are  rewarded (in any true, meaningful or lasting way) for being pretty. We are socialized to strive for beauty, to pluck, starve, bleach and surgically modify our way to beauty, but never own it. Confronting the ways women punish each other - for being too pretty or not pretty enough - is uncomfortable, because it means acknowledging our part in propping up patriarchy, but the issue of the Mean Girls/Dawn Wiener syndrome is a conversational we need to have, preferably in more radical and progressive spheres than the pages of the Daily Mail.