DIVE QUEER PARTY

DIVE QUEER PARTY

REEK spoke to those Damn Rebel Bitches, Dive Queer Party’s’s creators Miss Annabel Sings (MAS) and Agent Cooper (AC). Credited for ‘redefining the Scottish queer club scene’ (The Skinny) and being Scotland’s best-loved and most notorious queer cabaret party mongers, they return to the Traverse Theatre with their outrageously queer Camp as Xmas Cabaret. The event will raise funds for Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, in recognition of World AIDS Day.

What makes you a feminist?

MAS: Feminism means equality and freedom to us, which form the bedrock of what Dive is all about. We live by our mantra – you can be whoever you want to be, however you want be, wherever you want to be – and promote the power of positive expression.

What equality campaign is most important to you? Why is dissent important?

The never ending campaign for LGBT equality. Dive recognises and cherishes the privilege of being born and based in Scotland, the country voted the best place in the world to live for trans* people and where at one point this year three out of four political party leaders openly identifying as gay. But these are all rights and privileges that were hard fought and could so easily be taken away. Only a short time ago it was a criminal offence to be gay in the UK and the stigma and brutality doled out by the powerful during the AIDS epidemic in he 80s was just yesterday, really. Our Xmas show will raise funds for Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, in recognition of World AIDS Day. World events are spurring both massive leaps forward and tragic steps back for LGBTIQ rights around the world, so we want to spread a message of expressive freedom and acceptance and rallies those on stage and in the audience to stand up and come together in celebration of difference, promoting a world where you can “be whoever you want to be, however you want be, wherever you want to be”.

What inspired you to create DIVE? Tell us about drag and how things are changing?

MAS: Our four eyes met across a sticky carpet during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011 when I was touring with notorious live art collective Eat Your Heart Out. I asked AC on a date but despite having lots in common we never made it to first base (thank goodness). We got scheming instead, joining forces to talk about our shared vision for a queer space to share, explore and show off their collective creativity, joy and madness in a safe, fun and inclusive environment. We take having fun very seriously and spend lots of time together being silly and making each other laugh.

AC: That space would eventually become Dive Queer Party, which started off as an eclectic, anything-goes queer party in the murky depths of a subterranean dive bar in Edinburgh in July 2013. This is where the foundations of the company and collective were rooted and from this early stage we were promoting a world where – through the power of positive expression – you can be whoever you want to be, however you want be, wherever you want to be. (By the way I still deny she ever asked me out on a date – there is no evidence and frankly, you would, wouldn’t you?!). I’m excited about the blossoming drag king scene in Scotland and the UK, which must be inspired by the profile of feminist campaigns and women’s rights and issues. Nights like The King’s Court (at The Rabbit Hole at CC Blooms) here in Edinburgh and places like Bar Wotever, Kingdom and The Glory down south are leading the way. We were so lucky to have the amazing internationally renowned artist and drag king Diane Torr based in Glasgow until she died this
year. Her stage appearances and Man For A Day workshops are legendary and Dive was lucky enough to work with her many times in the short time we knew each other.

What people do you most identify with from history?

MAS: Leigh Bowery, for being so out there and showing us anything is possible. My whole view of performance changed when I encountered his world. This was the inspiration for our ongoing show ‘Homage’ – a celebration of queer heroes from the past, present and future, resurrected or given life through the medium of performance and showcased in the unique, rainbow- adorned, glitter-streaked world that is Dive.

AC: The aforementioned gender activist, dancer and drag king Diane Torr. We became friends with Diane only 3 years ago but she made a massive impact on me before she sadly died earlier this year. For over thirty years she explored the theoretical, artistic, and practical aspects of gender identity and was so generous in sharing her knowledge and experience at the same time as being ruthlessly experimental and open to trying new things. I think she’d be excited and proud to see the blossoming drag king scene in Scotland and the UK.

Is smell important to you? Which smells and why?

MAS: Ooh, the whiff of a Dive Queer Party and the other queer spaces in the city like The Rabbit Hole, Pollyanna, Grrl Crush and Hot Mess, to name a few. Nothing quite like it.

AC: Smell is v important. I like hanging out in urinals, gym changing rooms, lorry sleeper compartments anywhere with the heady scent of a real man really.

What makes you a Damn Rebel Bitch? Tell us what kind of bitch you are?

We are DAMN QUEER REBEL BITCHES!

Gender and sexuality is so threaded into the fabric of our society and how power is exerted over us. Being queer, being your true self (whoever you want to be…”) makes us hellu Damn Rebel Bitches by default. We feel we have a responsibility to be visible, loud and proud here in Scotland, where LGBT rights have been hard fought and we hope help make change possible in the
rest of the world.

We had a review recently which sort of sums that up:
”In a lot of ways, Dive’s Homage might be one of the best shows to really capture what Fringe is about. The radical, the alternative, the ‘fuck you’ of convention, the freedom of expression. We’re all different and we all fucking love each other is the message of a night with Dive.”

What treats are in store for audiences at The Miss Annabel Sings Show Camp as Xmas Cabaret?

MAS: Oooh well, it’ll be a proper festive feast of anarchic queer cabaret featuring some of the best bits of Dive’s triumphant year, with performances from the fairest drag kings and queens of the realm, as well as saucy sing-song-a-longs, riotous audience games, delicious festive cocktails and a very special (bio)Queen’s speech.

AC: We’re delighted to be raising funds for Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, in recognition of World AIDS Day. And there’s a special guest performance from transgurl cabaret singer SADIE GODIVA, one of the stars of Dive’s over 50’s cabaret project which was launched for LGBT History Month in February in partnership with Luminate – Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, and LGBT Health & Wellbeing.

MAS: The event kicks off with an atypical office xmas disco from 4-6pm with Dive’s resident DJ, DAVE FROM ACCOUNTS. The Miss Annabel Sings Shows opens straight after at 6pm, stuffed full of the best bits of 2017 and guest performances from drag queens FEDORA VERONICA HOMBURG,

DUCLEA REIGNS, GEORGIA TASDA and THE DUCHESS, and Drag Kings KING BIFF -,SIMON PATERSON of very own AGENT COOPER. Also starring LUKE PELL as the Angel Gay-briel and an alternative carol concert from the hilarious PORN CHOIR (they do exactly what it says on the tin).

Diva will be at Traverse Bar Café, Edinburgh on Sunday 3 December 2017,
4-9.30pm. Box Office: 0131 228 1404
www.traverse.co.uk www.dive-party.org.uk
@DiveQueerParty

Waverley Care is Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity. The organisation’s work is focused on prevention, education, testing and support throughout Scotland, reducing new HIV and Hepatitis C infections, getting people diagnosed and supporting those affected in whatever ways they need. Waverley Care challenge HIV and Hepatitis C related stigma, tackling health inequalities and promoting good sexual health. In all that Waverley Care do, they never give up on people and are always there to walk alongside anyone affected by HIV or Hepatitis C.

http://www.waverleycare.org


DOC N ROLL FESTIVAL

DOC N ROLL FESTIVAL

Doc n Roll Festival’s UK Premier of ‘Play Your Gender’

When considering gender equality in the music industry, to the naked eye, it would appear as if there isn’t much to worry about. ‘There are plenty of female artists in the charts, dressing how they want, and singing about what they want, there’s nothing to worry about!’ Well actually, yes there is. There is a shit load to worry about.

Doc n Roll is a festival that premiers documentary’s about the music industry across the nation. ‘Play Your Gender’ was premiered in the UK on the 9th of November. This documentary was created to show the shocking lack of women in the music industry. There was a particular focus on the careers behind the music, e.g. sound engineers, producers, tour managers and back of the house. It was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Jess Partridge who is the founder of London in Stereo, Estella Adeyeri from Girls Rock UK, Fred MacPherson from the band Spector, Olga Fitzroy (Engineer and Mixer) and Catherine Marks (Engineer and Producer).

During the testimonials of women who currently work in the music industry, it was highlighted that less than 20% of songs are written by women. A majority of female artists are singing words written by men, so the experiences that we would imagine lie behind lyrics that we hold dear are dreamt up…by men. Whereas some may say that as long as you connect with lyrics, who cares who they were written by, the lack of female songwriters omits the pure, genuine female voice and narrative from the public sphere. Women also represent less than 5% of producers. This means that any female artist who wants their vision executed by a woman, will struggle- or simply find it impossible.

It was shown throughout the documentary that one of the massive deterrents and barriers to female participation in these roles is the genderization and socialization of instruments and activities, especially in rock. Instruments such as the drums and guitar are seen as loud, and therefore ‘masculine’. Women are still expected to adhere to outdated (and frankly, fucking infuriating) gender roles, the only time in which a woman is permitted to stray from stereotypes is if they are artists in the Hip Hop or RnB industry. Then they are allowed to have an ‘urban edge’, only for the sake of profit. Back of house roles are typically not given to women, due to the idea that a woman ‘would never be able to move equipment or tune a guitar’. Estella stated that she knew of women who had worked their way into music tech, only to be “pushed out by the machismo”.

“Society has this expectation for women, you have to be able to do everything. If you can’t do everything you’re an idiot”, Sara Quin (from Tegen and Sara).

Females have to do everything and look good while doing it, whereas the same is not expected from men. Women essentially have to work twice as hard as men to land the same role. When a man says that he can do something or has a certain experience, it is taken as fact. A woman, however, has to prove that she is not only capable but can go above and beyond.

Fred MacPherson also brought up the issue that women are still being over sexualized in the workplace:

“Someone might comment about a woman in a meeting, those things are so inherent and aren’t called out. It creates a gender imbalance. There are so many rock n roll clichés, it’s still a massive patriarchy which needs to be dismantled. That has to begin by men calling out other men, and not just in front of women to show off! It’s easy for me to come on this panel and say hey I’m a massive feminist! It’s much harder to say to a room of men who are my seniors. This is not just something that should be done in front of other women to show how ‘woke’ we are”.

Some say that disparities reflect the lack of female interest in the technical side of music production. However, when there are no role models and figures in these positions, it is not reflected to them that it is even an option they are capable of. It makes it seem like an impossible task- in which the onerous duty is too high. The lack of women does not encourage participation, which is further affected by society telling young girls that this is not the path for them. Representation is the only way to ensure participation.

I’ll leave you with Catherine Marks parting words of wisdom, “don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks, just keep doing it”.  Occupy the spaces, encourage other women to do the same and take no shit.

Rihana is a Researcher, Rebel Witch and is working forwards her life goal: fucking the patriarchy.


BODY SHAMING

BODY SHAMING

Lauren Turton is writing a dissertation on Body-Shaming in Contemporary Media and the Effects it has on Young Women.  She needs your help:

I am currently in my final year at the University of Portsmouth studying Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. When I was in my second year and thinking about what I wanted to do for my dissertation research I struggled. Everybody else was interested in the police side of criminology, prisons, and rehabilitation, however I looked more to the social harm side of criminology. During one of my units, Crime, Media, and Culture (CMC), I was interested in stereotypes and why people make judgments about individuals and groups.
This is what started me looking into bullying and stereotypes within social media though I thought this was too generic. I wanted to take these ideas further and body shaming came to mind after looking at some research I was doing for the CMC unit. I knew it was a big issue in modern society, especially for young women. I started looking into the subject more and I didn’t realise how much of an effect body shaming had on young women, specifically the media’s involvement in it. Young women have to deal with the picture of the ‘ideal’ women everyday, from adverts on TV and in magazines to billboards at the side of the road to sponsors on their social media feed. After doing some research on body shaming, I started to notice it more and more from people around me, body shaming other people unintentionally and even body shaming themselves. I wanted to find out for myself how much of an impact body shaming had on young women. This led me to be doing the research I am today. I decided to make life hard for myself (well worth it though) and do two different types of research to gain as much data as I could to make an accurate judgment on how body shaming effects young women. The first part of the research is an online survey. This looks at how young women use different types of media including social media, other online media and print media. The survey asks if they have personally been body shamed, how this happened, how old they were and the effects it had/has on them. As well as looking at if they, themselves, have ever body shamed, how they did this and the reasons behind it. The second part of the research is looking at social media comments, specifically Twitter. This is to gain an idea of what people are saying to body shame young women and to see what young women have to view on a day to day basis on their social media feeds. As well as finding out how prevalent it is on one of the faster growing social media sites. Having both of these angles to analyze gives a full picture of body shaming and the effect it has on young women. It also gives us an understanding of how we as a society can make changes to reduce any impact that does have on young women. If you would like to help out with my research and you are female, living permanently in the UK and between the ages of 18-25 feel free to fill out my survey on the link below:

https://portsmouth.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/body-shaming-contemporary-media-and-the-effects-on-young

When I started my dissertation research on body shaming, I knew it was a big issue, but the response I am getting from it is mental and I am genuinely shocked. Makes me so proud to know it is so relevant in today’s society and that people really do want it to improve. I’d like to thank my dissertation supervisor Lisa Sugiura for helping me through this, as well as pushing me to go further with my ideas and research.


LET THEM EAT CAKE

LET THEM EAT CAKE

Writer and feminist, Naomi Frisby talks to REEK about cake as a patriarchal weapon.

Eating cake has become a national occupation. We talk about it, tweet about it, Instagram pictures of it, watch it being baked on TV. It is buttery, sugary goodness guaranteed to make us feel better about life. It is the British Dream: a whiff of nostalgia, green fields, a country fair, your nan’s kitchen. Life was good and you could still lick the spoon without fear of salmonella.

In America, when white supremacists protested the removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, comedian Tina Fey spent her SNL slot trying to comment on it while shovelling chunks into her mouth. ‘Most of the women I know have been [eating cake] once a week since the election,’ she said. In doing so, she lampooned those of us who’ve bought into the idea that filling our mouths with sponge and cream is a valid response to the state of the world. You can’t protest while you have a mouthful and once you’re full you’ll be too tired to be angry. Or you’ll turn that anger on yourself because you shouldn’t have eaten the cake, it’s too many calories/points/syns. Now you’ll have to spend time and energy getting rid of it, you wouldn’t want anyone thinking you don’t have control over your own impulses, your own body, would you? If you can’t have control over yourself, how can you be rational enough to participate in national politics?

Cake is a feminist issue. How many times have you seen a man turn to cake to supress his emotions? We’re in a double bind: eat enough cake and your body will be unattractive; don’t eat any cake and the anger you’re failing to suppress will render you hideous. Here are some tips to help you get it right: You can allow yourself some cake if you’ve been good. Have you organised the household? Sorted the kids? Taken care of your partner’s emotional and physical needs? Been to work and ensured that everything ran smoothly for everyone else? Allowed the men to interrupt you? Steal your ideas? Did you do the school run? Supervise homework? Make dinner? Listen to your partner talk about their day? Then you can allow yourself some cake, if you can find the time to eat it.

You can allow yourself some cake if your body’s a size 10, streamlined, bikini ready. Mention repeatedly that this is a treat and don’t eat too much of it, you couldn’t possibly manage a whole slice to yourself. Share with a friend, with your kids, with someone you love. You don’t want to get to a point where you’re taking up space in the world; where would we fit all the men?

You can allow yourself some cake if you’re a comedian, a fat (size 12 or above) female comedian. In this instance, you’re allowed to shovel in the cake, to smear it across your face and body in an act of self-depreciation. You’re allowed to announce to the world that you know your size isn’t socially acceptable and you can laugh about it too. If you’re going to take up more space in the world, insert yourself into a male profession, have the audacity to insist that women can be funny, then you need to turn that laughter on yourself and your failings.

Now you’ve exerted some control, let’s talk politics. You can’t? You’re too busy? Your brain is filled with calorie counts and thoughts of food? Something must be done.

I propose a manifesto:

Let cake be just cake and equality a reality.

Naomi writes for The Writes of Women brilliant blog. Go find her work there.