CW: Sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and gendered violence A YouGov poll made headlines last week after finding […]
Last October, I went to see Hannah Ballou’s critically-acclaimed show ‘hoo:ha’ at Camden People’s Theatre. A hilarious exploration of nudity, body image and feminism, Ballou also blurred the lines of performance and reality.
It’s generally accepted that feminism comes in waves, ebbing and flowing in line with progressions in the fight for equality and the resulting backlashes. Early in the 20th century, we had the first wave. In the sixties and seventies, we had the second wave. The third came came during the nineties, and it’s clear to me that a fourth wave is currently upon us. While it’s difficult to define a wave from within it (without the benefit of hindsight), some people are embracing the increase in action and using the momentum to fight for an end to patriarchy. One of these people is a woman named Alexandra Becker.
Women Can Be is a brand new feminist zine, “exploring the things that women can be in a world filled with sexist expectations”. It features five female artists from three different countries (who joined together to form an Instagram art collective last year) and it looks mad gorgeous when it shows up on your doorstep.
So another year is over and 2016 has been plucked, shiny and new (or bloody and screaming, depending on your outlook), from the beautiful vagina of 2015. Whether you had a traumatic 72 hour labour of a year or a wondrous water birth of a year, we come to the same end point together – a fresh, new year. Ready for us to try again.
CW: Strong descriptions of violence, femicide, sexual violence
We all know who Jack the Ripper is. Well, no-one actually has a clue who he is, but we know the name ‘Jack the Ripper’. And we know who he killed – the ‘Jack the Ripper victims’, or ‘Ripper victims’. Hardly anyone bothers to learn their actual names or who they were as it’s easier to lump them under the header ‘victims’ and simply assign to them the same nickname given to their killer. Except, of course, we know their names.
Their names were Elizabeth, Catherine, Mary Ann, Annie and Mary Jane.
There are others who were possibly killed by the same man but these are the ones generally agreed upon by historians. While we never bother to remember their names, we know everything about their deaths. Ask someone about the Ripper killings, and you’ll hear the same details.
CW: sexual violence, femicide, mutilation
Earlier this year, an application for the UK’s first women’s history museum was approved for a location on Cable Street in the east end of London. Cable Street and the surrounding area has a rich history of famous female residents and women-led action, and women’s history in the UK has long been pushed to the sidelines or forgotten entirely, so the news was met with excitement from local residents.
In July the museum opened. And what we got was a tacky, gruesome tribute to the memory of Jack the Ripper, famed misogynist and killer of women.
Knowing a British theatre-goer fears nothing more than a show promising audience participation and nudity (“Please let those be separate things”), Hannah Ballou opens ‘hoo:ha’ with a run-through of her impressive academic and professional credentials. You can almost hear the sound of bum muscles relaxing. Worries safely set aside, the audience is ready for entertainment, and Ballou serves up entertainment by the bucket load.
CW: Pregnancy and associated issues
My womb hasn’t done much in its (relatively) young life. It has shed its walls at random times and with great abandon, causing me to either consume sickening amounts of Dairy Milk or to collapse on the Tube, depending on how violent it’s feeling. Apart from this, it’s done basically nothing. However, the older I get the more and more often I’m feverishly asked about the future plans of my womb, as if it’s Jennifer Lawrence and an exciting new film project is on the horizon.
My womb is not Jennifer Lawrence.