Archive for the ‘FEMINISM’ Category

P-P-P-Pussy POWER: on screen + on the page

PR Quad Sml (1) When Pussy Riot broke out on the internet last year, I was obviously going to be obsessed with them. Riot grrrl for the 2010s, dressed in Beyond-Retro-ish frocks and masked in fluro balaclavas, they had a lot to be angry about and were a reminder of the power of youth, music and rebellion when the closest most of us get to a protest is retweeting someone’s disgruntled missive.

The new book Let’s Start a Pussy Riot curated by Emely Neu and edited by Jade French and the HBO documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer have just been released to help contextualise their story and remind us about their cause as two Rioters – Masha and Nadia – remain in prison.

pussy riotPussy Riot might look the same as any other twenty-somethings in Moscow, New York, London or wherever, but that’s where the comparison ends. At the launch for LSAPR at Yoko Ono’s MELTDOWN FESTIVAL last month in front of an audience that included PR-agitator Peaches, two Pussy Riot reps made a surprise appearance that was humbling, inspiring, colourful and greeted with some noisy applause. Their faces masked, their voices vocodered through microphones and then translated into English by an interpreter, they were determined to share their stories and answer questions in spite of the layers obscuring quick communications.

However ‘punk’ and improvised their protests appear, they’re thoroughly planned and their objectives are always clear, the girls explained. Since most of the Rioters come from a (performance) art background, they are concerned with the visual impact of their activities, and, importantly, those balaclavas are not just about hiding their identities – they’re a statement against the 21st century cult of personality and celebrity. Rather than intimidating, they want that balaclava’d-anonymity to encourage like-minded people to join Pussy Riot wherever they are.

And why not join in? The wider PR collective’s inclusive campaigning is how the makers of the Punk Prayer documentary (which follows the trial of the three Rioters last year and meets their families, giving a Russian as well as an outsider’s insight into their arguments and objectives) and blog-turned-book Let’s Start a Pussy Riot (featuring contributions from Antony Hegarty, Robyn, Kim Gordon, Yoko and many more) got made after all.

[Their latest protest video has just been posted at the Guardian. See Yoko talk Pussy Riot for the BBC here, watch the LSAPR launch at the Southbank Centre online here and follow the campaign here.]


Keep Elizabeth Fry On Our Fivers

Today we are handing over proceedings to Caroline Criado-Perez of The Women’s Room who is running the campaign to keep Elizabeth Fry on our £5 notes. There are 3 days left to raise funds to mount a legal challenge to the Bank of England’s decision to replace Fry with Sir Winston Churchill so they desperately need you to donate HERE and sign the petition HERE.

“I think people’s sense of fairness has been caught by this campaign, because it really is a David and Goliath story and the Bank is really, very sadly, throwing their considerable might against having a woman on the banknotes.

They take this decision unilaterally, and seemingly according to the whims of the governor, who has the final say – before we put them on the spot, they intimated that Churchill was Mervyn King’s favourite politician, and that this decision was something of a parting gift to/from King. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.

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Banknotes have enormous cultural sway: they are present in every household, every person uses them – no-one can boycott banknotes or use a different product – we are stuck with them and the message they send. And the message they are to send come 2016 is that only white men have ever achieved anything worthy enough to be deserving of a position on our notes.

In a country where women still don’t have equal pay, where two women a week die from intimate partner violence, and where women are being all but scrubbed out of the national history curriculum, this matters. It reflects and perpetuates a culture where women have been routinely undermined and undervalued. It may be a small thing, but as amazing projects like Everyday Sexism prove, small things add up to a toxic culture where women are abused, undermined and made to feel unsafe on a regular basis.

My favourite contender for our banknotes would be Rosalind Franklin, simply because as well as being an incredible role model for women, who have too few women in science to look up to (mainly because they’ve all been forgotten), she is extraordinarily apt considering the conversation we’re having about women’s achievements being overlooked.

She was instrumental in discovering the DNA double helix, but instead she died pretty much unrecognised, with Watson and Crick taking all the glory and a Nobel Prize between them. It is a travesty that Franklin never achieved the recognition she deserved, and it is a travesty that this kind of female erasure is still going on in the 21st century.

As for what I need from the Bank, it’s really very simple. I don’t want to take them to court; it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. All I want is for them to acknowledge that they did things wrong and to promise to put them right and use the Equality Act in future.

And there’s a very simple way out of this for them, because Darwin is an older note than Fry, so they could without much extra cost adapt the Churchill design to the £10, King still gets his last wish, and women don’t get deal yet another cultural slap in the face about how much their contributions matter.

Unfortunately, the Bank’s attitude is incredibly belligerent, even childish, so I doubt that they will take the dignified and adult route out of this. That being the case, I need to raise £13000 in order to be able to take them to court, where hopefully a judge will force them to abide by the law of the land.”

It should also be noted that if they don’t raise enough money to mount the legal challenge, or if they raise more than they need, that cash will go to charities including The Fawcett Society and Refuge which I think is fantastic.

Follow the campaign on Twitter @TheWomensRoomUK and at thewomensroom.org


Why NEW Pamflette Eli loves The Mindy Project so…

New Pamflette! Eli Akingbade

New Pamflette! Eli Akingbade

Eli Akingbade is the newest addition to the Pamfamily. A high school student who lives in London, she loves film, taking photos, Quentin Tarantino, travelling and discovering treasures in charity shops…  She’s kinda obsessed with America and New York especially. Check out her film blog  and fashion and musings here  and here

1. Mindy Kaling is an O.G!
Although O.G stands for ‘original gangster’, I use the term in this context because Kaling has replenished our impoverished TV sets with her sitcom The Mindy Project. The first season launched on Channel 4 in March and it’s amazing!
To say I’m smitten is an understatement. I feel like me and Mindy  think alike. Does that make her my soulmate? It’s so strange, like when she says something, I always know the reference she’s referring to… it be like a love letter.

Pamf-LIT: Tavi Gevinson!

Pamf-LIT: Tavi G

Pamf-LIT: Tavi G

That’s right, we got the blogging wunderkind, indie teen queen and ed-in-chief of Rookie mag to tell us all about her literary life. Enjoy!

Do you read paperbacks or Kindle?

Paperbacks, though I kind of want a kindle because I would probably read more and then I wouldn’t have to stress about ugly covers (so petty, I know).

How do you organise your books?

One of my book cases just organizes them by size, but I have them scattered throughout the rest of my room by theme/color. On the shelf next to my bed I have the books that have basically taught me how to live and shaped my point of view more than any other, including everything from Rodarte’s book with Catherine Opie and Alec Soth to zines from Rookie readers to The Westing Game.

What’s the book you reread more than any other?

The Virgin Suicides.

Read More…


The last thing I will write about feminism on the Internet for a long time (probably)

picI’m sick of virtual feminists. The chatter, ugh, the chatter. On blogs, on Twitter, talking and ranting and squabbling – it’s exhausting. What do you think of Lean In? What do you think of the demise of More!? I need to turn the noise down.

I have much more time for do-ers – women who actually put their money where their mouth is and invest time in action. And yeah, you know what, that includes me. I volunteer each week at my local Brownie unit – oh who am I kidding, I’m the freaking BROWN OWL! And that matters – I’m proud of what I do because it’s tangible, and tons of other women are doing similar things.

Actually investing their time, emotion and imagination in helping young girls and women grow in confidence and realise their potential. Not lamenting the plight of girls in our over-sexualised culture on Twitter, but, y’know, spending time with them, talking to them, doing activities that build their self belief and skills.

Not moaning about how evil glossy mags are, but actually offering an alternative through their own creative, intelligent, witty zines and blogs. Not getting caught up in an endless, pointless analysis of another columnist’s latest ‘controversial’ pronouncement, but going into schools and talking to girls about the realities of their potential future careers – giving them ideas and hope.

Not stating the bleeding obvious about sexism in the music industry, but setting up after school rock clubs for girls so they can take control and be heard.

Those are the women I admire. Take your finger off that retweet button and in the wise words of Why Don’t You…?, go and do something less boring instead.


Pamflovin’

"Vogue loves...Indie mags: Hogarthian graphics and modern feminism from Pamflet"

"It makes me feel less despair to know that somewhere deep inside the Jordanization of modern Britain there are still a few angry feminists out there." Zadie Smith

"Pamflet is the photocopy-quality soapbox for two young, sarky post-feminists from London who want women’s rights and the right to wear pretty things, and want it, like, yesterday." Sunday Times Style

"They’re funny and honest and write about fashion with feminism so I’m obviously all over it." Tavi

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