The News Shopper. Suburbia's free local news weekly. It would pop through the letterbox every Wednesday, and hungry, bored, desperate-to-escape little teen me would peruse it, mark down the best jumble sales, and then my friends and I would spend Saturdays scouring the suburban trash for 1960s minidresses, astrakhan coats and fabulous 50s crockery sets. It was fun! Anyway, today, in one of those look-how-far-we've-come moments, I note that the News Shopper has a feature on Ladyfest. I find that kind of heartwarming. Here's hoping this little snippet can kickstart the kind of suburban revolution girlstylenow that kind of wasn't really happening on Bromley High St in the late 1980s. Come on, a girl can dream...

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Look at this pretty flyer for a Ladyfest benefit event at my old college, Goldsmiths, this Friday. How could you not want to attend? :)


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I'm whispering here, but I have to admit that I've always had a bit of trouble with the whole third-wave rediscovery of traditional baking and crafting activity. I'm down with the anti-consumerist side of things (and I love cooking as much as the next awesomely cooking-skilled person), but somehow I've always sneakily felt that 'craftivism' was little more than another way for girls to avoid getting involved in 'real' artistic creativity. Encouraging them to spend their time baking cakes and knitting baby booties, as they have done for centuries, rather than learning how to play an instrument or master a CD or write a treatise or something. Continuing women's involvement in the private, domestic sphere, rather than the more high-profile and combative public arena. BUT. Randomly surfing old blogs led me to this delighful idea, posted on a LiveJournal community called Curious Cupcakes: the Pay Equity Bakesale!

"Finally one member came up with the BRILLIANT idea of holding a "Pay Equity Bakesale." In Michigan (where we lived), women make an average of 67 cents for every dollar a man makes at the same job. So we baked our hearts out, then charged women 67 cents, and men $1 for each baked good. On the bottom of each cookie, cupcake, and brownie, we had printed facts about the gender wage gap on address labels and stuck them on. When people said "Hey! That's not fair!" We replied with, "Actually, it is fair; it's the only thing that's fair. Women make less money." So we got to raise money AND awareness at the same time!"

That's such an ace idea! (And please feel free to email me with examples of more if you feel I am being unfairly anti-crafting.) If I'm ever involved in some kind of event where a Pay Equity Bakesale would be appropriate, I am so having one. I wonder when Ladyfest Stockholm is? :)

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In view of Julie Bindel's admission that she would not go to the police if she was raped, it seems an appropriate time to reprint this meme:

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Hell, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all. Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.
If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.
If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone.
Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x.
Don't imply that it's in any way her fault.
Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl.
Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

If you agree, re-post it. It's that important.

Note: This goes for any gendered rape, male on female or female on male or female on female or FTM on MTF or non gendered to dual gendered and so on and so forth....
-author unknown

Via The F-Word.

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"Ladyfest Brighton is a non-profit D.I.Y. festival taking place in various venues around Brighton on the 20th-23rd October 2005. Organised primarily by women for the benefit of the wider community, Ladyfest Brighton will showcase performances by bands, visual artists, fashion designers, writers, film-makers, dancers, zine kids, teachers, students and activists. With the first Ladyfest taking place in Olympia, Washington in 2000, and since speading to over 50 cities world-wide, Ladyfest Brighton joins a global movement of young women promoting women and queer based projects, arts and activism in their communities."

I'm always politically sceptical about festivals and exhibitions of diverse artforms and interests grouped solely on the protaganists' gender. I am Londoner, middle-class, curly-haired, ginger, and so on, just as much as I am woman, etc - you know the drill. However, as long as the line-up for major festivals still displays such a mega-bias towards the boys (check Glasto: the few femmes [Kylie, M.I.A., Martha Wainwright] stick out like neon beacons on a sea of generic grey), Ladyfest will remain essential.

It's not just about showcasing female artists and female culture: it's about encouraging girls to realise certain things are possible. What's a teenage girl at Glasto going to think? 'Hm, well, if I wanna be a musician I'd either better be a mussy-haired indie boy like one of the Cooper Temple Clause - oh dear, no good, I'm a chick, I'd better be a sexy Tamil Tiger or a pert-bottomed sex midget then - oh dear, no good, I'm a fat self-harming goth girl with a dodgy eye! Meh. I'm going to go to my tent and cry.' This may be (is) reductive, patronising, Riot Grrrl 101 - but it's not, it appears, without truth. Change is happening, but not fast enough. Check the cover of the NME. Check the line-ups of the major festivals. Check the record company rosters. Boy-tastic. Hence: Ladyfest.

I understand that Ladyfest Brighton is going to include a workshop or talk around women in journalism, but I'd be interested in seeing an event devoted to UK women in blogging - a mini-version of the forthcoming US BlogHercon. BlogHer will feature talks and discussions around female identity and blogging, link-based power structures, flaming, op-ed pieces by women, and 'getting naked in public' - 'What happens when you blog your true self and the whole world shows up?' A similar event exploring women and weblogging here in England is long overdue...

...At which point, in true DIY spirit, I have to say that I'd be interested in organising such a thing if I thought others would be up for it. Anyone? Drop us an email, let's see what we can do.

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'THOSE CRAZY JAPANESES' vol 5434875984208

After the boyfriend's arm, comes the lady's lap (with thanks to Alice for the link!).

Not a euphemism for the all the fems recently released from LTRs choosing to embrace a more feminine style of lovin' - though it should be - but a range of anatomically-shaped pillows designed to provide you with all the comforts of a relationship, but none of the angst.

The arm pillows are now also available from the States via ArmPillow.com. The site suggests that these pillows would make an excellent gift for 'anyone who has recently become single again.' Yeah RIGHT! If you HATED them!

If men use affection to get sex, and women use sex to get affection, then is the Arm Pillow the chick version of the Pocket Pussy? If so, what kind of reviews would ladies give to it?

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