Crowdfunding for Arts and Activism Festival around Sexual Assault- please donate!

I’m part of an amazing team of women who are organizing an arts and activism festival around Sexual Assault and Consent in London this summer, July 30th to August 2nd. We’ve just launched our crowd-funding campaign here.

Sexual violence is something I’ve lived through, and a hell a lot of other women, men and children have lived through. We need to create new conversations around this kind of harm. To bring down the walls of silence and shame. To stop blaming the victim. To start getting real about sexual violence and its everyday effects. And to end sexual abuse, assault and violence. Period.

The festival is called Clear Lines, which is a play on the very dodgy hit song Blurred Lines. This song was  banned from several UK university campuses and caused an international uproar with its sexist video content and rape-promoting lyrics. If you want to see want I mean about rape-promoting lyrics, check out the website Sociological Images, which takes the lyrics from Blurred Lines and puts them next to images from the Project Unbreakable site, where survivors of sexual violence and rape – women and men – hold up hand-written signs documenting the things their attackers said to them. Here’s a run down of the lyrics and how they echo the actual words of rapists. It’s both heartbreaking and will make you sick to your stomach. Trigger Warning.

‘Blurred Lines’ and Project Unbreakable

I know you want it. Thicke sings “I know you want it,” a phrase that many sexual assault survivors report their rapists saying to justify their actions, as demonstrated over and over in the Project Unbreakable testimonials. 17-500x462You’re a good girl. Thicke further sings “You’re a good girl,” suggesting that a good girl won’t show her reciprocal desire (if it exists). This becomes further proof in his mind that she wants sex: for good girls, silence is consent and “no” really means “yes.” 33-500x332


Do it like it hurt, do it like it hurt, what you don’t like work? This lyric suggests that women are supposed to enjoy pain during sex or that pain is part of sex:


The piècede résistance of the non-censored version of Blurred Lines is this lyric: I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two. 121-500x375

Enough! Please help us to crowd-fund for the Clear Lines festival. We need your support. It is important to say that Clear Lines has the support of men on board. We hope that more men will see that this festival is also for them: as victims of assault themselves, and as potential change makers. Together we can stand strong.

We’re just launched our social media and crowd-funding campaign. More info about the festival can be found in the following links. We’ve got art, workshops, films, performance, and discussion panels lined up. We just need to raise the cash to make this a reality.

Thank you for your support. Let’s make this festival happen!

Crowd-funding page

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Review: Feminist Erasures. Challenging Backlash Culture.

9781137454911Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture. Edited by Kumarini Silva and Kaitlynn Mendes. Palgrave Macmillan. 2015.

In may ways Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture performs an act of vigilance. In a time of creeping postfeminism, the collection examines the conditions of feminist apathy and misrepresentation in public discourse, in order to challenge them. Taking in screen culture, the organization of labour, rumbles from the gender studies classroom and feminist protest, Feminist Erasures offers careful, self-reflexive and exploratory essays on key issues of contemporary sexual politics in North America and Western Europe.

In their introduction, editors Kumarini Silva and Kaitlynn Mendes outline their collaborative relationship in academia as peers and friends. This sets the tone of the book, which, in the editors own words, aims “to make feminism relevant and visible” and moves toward an articulation of collective work. The theoretical coordinates underpinning the volume are Faludi’s idea of backlash (where the gains of feminist movements are met with virulent anti-feminist responses) and McRobbie’s notion of consumer-driven “faux feminisms”. Here ‘choice feminism’ is problematized as empty empowement, tied to a social order in which “the choice of consumption stands in for democratic rights and privileges”.

Part I “Teaching Feminism” gave me a little buzz. It’s not often that a feminist anthology devotes a section to teaching, and academia has long been the ‘intellectual arm’ of the women’s movement. For those of us who have the pleasure of teaching gender classes, they can be transformative. As the essays in this collection demonstrate, they can also be fraught with tensions. With an eye to the increasing neoliberalisation of higher education, these essays offer a very timely intervention into the challenges our gender studies classes face, as well as the university institution more widely. A thought-provoking essay on Black Feminist Methodological Theory asks us to return to questions of ethical, participatory feminist methods which use first-person narratives.

Part II “Feminism in Popular Culture” takes a stroll through post-feminist chic lit, sexual violence in female-fronted teen dramas, gender non-conforming youth of colour on the big screen, representations of the financial market in Hollywood films, and post-identity and agency in Scandal. This latter essay is particularly thought provoking in its analysis of post-identity ideologies which “celebrate the achievements of feminist and racial justice movements and cite that progress as evidence of the redundancy of further feminist or racial justice dialogues”.

Part III. “Becoming Mother” takes us through the material and immaterial dimensions of motherhood embodiments through three essays. Kumarini Silva’s contribution “Got Milk?: Motherhood, Breastfeeding, and (Re) domesticating Feminism” had me hooked from its opening lines introducing Simone de Beauvoir talking about glands. Beauvoir’s criticism of reproductive essentialism is found mirrored in Mahasweta Devi’s short story ‘The Breast Giver’. What then follows is a fascinating exploration of how “women’s mothering labour becomes subsumed and co-opted within and by postfeminist, backlash culture”.

The final section, “Feminism/Activism”, presents two excellent essays on international SlutWalks. But this was the skinniest section of them all; we need more feminist scholarship taking a close look at feminist protest and mobilizations, particularly their use of social media to organize. Kaitlynn Mendes’ chapter – which provides a tantalizing teaser to the SlutWalk book which is released this month – tackles representations of SlutWalk in news media. Articles from eight nations which have organized SlutWalks (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and UK) are analyzed through content and discourse analysis, with further qualitative insight provided through interviews with the organizers. Mendes found that in her sample, only one-third of news reports mentioned feminism in their coverage, demonstrating “a general erasure of feminism from the mainstream news media”. In her look at SlutWalks as reproducing whiteness, Lauren McNicol presents a rich analysis of a Canadian edition of the march, drawing on ethnographic observations and mainstream media texts. She argues that “the media spectacle surrounding SlutWalk is premised on an unmarked white positionality” which also works to undermine the movement’s messages about victim solidarity and violence prevention.

The driving argument behind Feminist Erasures is that  late capitalism makes claims to women’s empowerment so as to commodify and neutralize its power. It’s an ongoing tactic. As the editors write in their introduction, “political discourses join the popular in appropriating the language of feminist liberation and empowerment in the construction of an essentializing feminism that re-marginalizes and domesticates women. That is, in fact, the definition of a backlash culture: a negative reaction to the possibility of progress and/or change”.

Readers of a poststructuralist persuasion might wish to linger a little longer on the idea of ‘erasure’ and ‘backlash’. These ideas certainly have a rhetorical –and material –importance in the face of feminism’s continuing dismantling. But arguably, a ‘backlash’ trope may obscure from view the pleasures that accompany the commercial-made feminism (and the politics of that pleasure), as well as glossing over how mainstream culture incorporates the ‘feel’ of feminism, if not the explicit politics. McRobbie’s idea of the ‘double entanglement’ may be a handy theoretical rejoinder here.

Feminist Erasure is a refreshing anthology, not least because it carries a strong academic-activist perspective. The book prompts important questions: how do we theorize attacks on feminism, while also recognizing the new grip that feminism has in the public imagination? Who are the storytellers of the new feminisms and gatekeepers of old sexisms? And how can affinities be made in the realm of teaching, popular culture, and activism which bring back creative, fighting and game-changing articulations of feminism as a collective politics and a collective promise? Feminist Erasures is a thought-provoking partner in these ongoing conversations.

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Video: F-Bombs for Feminism: Potty-Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Words for a Good Cause

I must admit, this made me laugh!

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See Red Women’s Workshop – collecting memories

See Red Women’s Workshop – collecting memories

Posted: 17 Feb 2015 06:09 AM PST

“Founders and later members of the British feminist poster collective, See Red Women’s Workshop (1974-1990) are involved with putting a book together about the posters and we are hoping to gather a collection of memories from women who were involved at some time (many women passed through the workshop), or who particularly remember the posters otherwise. If you are one of those women, do please get in touch with us. Or please forward to your friends and networks otherwise.
To jog your memory here’s a link to the website we are also slowly putting together.
Much appreciated! As would any ideas about other mailing lists to send this call round to.
Pru, Suzy, Bronnie, Anne and Jess”
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cfp: Motherhood and creative practice: Maternal structures in creative work (conference, June 2015)

From my inbox:

Call for Papers

Motherhood and creative practice: Maternal structures in creative work

June 1-2, 2015

Centre for Media and Culture Research, School of Arts and Creative Industries, London South Bank University

The call for papers submission deadline has been extended to 4 March 2015.

Confirmed Key Note Speakers:

Professor Bracha L. Ettinger, Marcel Duchamp Chair & Professor of Psychoanalysis and Art at the European Graduate School

Professor Mary Kelly Distinguished Professor and Head of the Interdisciplinary Studio Area in the Department of Art at UCLA

Professor Faith Wilding Professor Emerita of Performance at SAIC; and a Visiting Scholar at the Pembroke Center for Feminist Research at Brown University, Providence, RI

Conference Discussant:

Professor Griselda Pollock , Director of Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory, History, University of Leeds, UK

Motherhood and creative practices: Maternal structures in creative work is an international and interdisciplinary conference that addresses ongoing debates about hospitality, solidarity and encounter as concepts in creative practice, and how they relate to contemporary issues of mothering. Mothering involves commitment to creative balance and combining everyday chores. We are interested how practitioners combine art and mothering, activism and mothering, academia and mothering, science and mothering, mothering and allomothering. The conference will look at practices where the creative exploration, writing and theory about the mOther cannot be separated from one another. Ettinger reveals the intricate connections between critical theory on maternal and creative practice. According to Vigneault, the porous spaces of work that engages with the maternal as concept presents passageways which allow the viewer and reader to move through and between the various levels of text and image, theory and art, in a constant shift between modes of production (2009:69). There is a gradual, yet sustained increase in creative practices which, starting from the challenges posed by the above concepts, explore the maternal in various encounter-event formations. The conference will also look into female experiences and sexual lifestyles that explore the encounters of infertility, medical intervention, adoption and fostering, queer mothering and childlessness by choice or not. We invite scholars and artists to also explore the creative embodiment of intergenerational trauma and the complex territory of mother-daughter relationships, and bring into dialogue social, scientific and artistic perspectives.

The conference will also encompass the exhibition “Alternative Maternals” curated by Laura Gonzalez, a curated performance section led by Faith Wilding’s performative reading of her memoirs, and a post-graduate discussion room. The post-graduate room will be enriched with performative texts, films, visual and audio works (we strongly encourage postgraduate students to send proposals and abstracts).

This conference aims to reflect on theoretical, methodological and artistic work that may throw light on motherhood and creative practice. We welcome submissions from scholars, students, artists, mothers and others who research in this area. Cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of submissions including academic papers from all disciplines and creative submissions including visual art, literature, and performance art/performative lectures. We invite papers in English of 15 minutes length, with possible topics including but are not restricted to the above description. We welcome abstracts and proposals for practice-based, creative presentations (300 – 400 words + up to 3 images for practical presentations+ 100 word bio) on a broad range of approaches to the above and related topics.

Abstract and Proposals are to be submitted no later than Wed 4 March 2015, to Dr Elena Marchevska using the following email: Proposers will be informed by 6 March 2015 whether their proposal has been accepted.

Conference blog:

Conference Registration A full registration fee includes morning and afternoon break refreshments, two lunches, free entry to exhibition and performances and conference reception event.

Full Conference Early Bird (by 1 May) £120.00

Full Conference £180.00

Full Conference Postgraduate/Unwaged £65.00

Day Rate Monday 1st June only £80.00

Registration for conference will open online on 20 February 2015.

This conference is supported by the Center for Media and Culture Research and the School of Arts and Creative Industries at London South Bank University.

Note: The conference organisers are please to confirm that the London South Bank University crèche will be able to offer childcare facilities on campus throughout the conference. In order to ensure that they can cater to the needs of participants and their children, the crèche require all parents/guardians who are interested in using this service to send email request to before 5 March 2015.

* Please note that there will be a small charge for this service.

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Black British Feminism: Past, Present & Futures March 2015

From my inbox:




As an individual committed to equality and justice, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend ‘Black British Feminism: Past, Present and Futures’.

In collaboration with the Black Cultural Archives and Chardine Taylor-Stone, this one-day conference trace black feminist journeys and legacies into the present. Centred on intergenerational dialogue, the interactive programme encourages reflection, celebration and a return to an activist-centred movement.

In particular we are keen to invite you to attend the interactive evening elements of the programme.



Breaking out of the traditional workshop format, five wisdom circles will take place around the room facilitated by cross-generational black feminist activists. Each circle will facilitate a dialogue on a different topic, encouraging participants to listen and contribute to a crosspollination of ideas in a fluid and safe space. Wisdom Circles are an ancient way in which indigenous peoples came together in sacred circles to learn from each other how to survive, hope and dream.

Topics: Grassroots organising, queer activism, violence against women, mental health, challenging anti-blackness in non-black People of Colour communities and wellness and healing in transformatory work.

Please note that the wisdom circles are only open to Women/QTI of Colour.


An open floor discussion on how the current wave of Black Feminism is defining its voice, its ideals and activism today. A panel will be present but incorporating a “Question Time” style format we strongly encourage discussion amongst all on the floor and on social media.

Chair: Nydia Swaby

Panelists: Liz Obi, Chardine Taylor-Stone, Ikamara Larasi and Dr Joan Anim-Addo (other panelists tbc).


Register now.

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cfp: An Intergenerational Feminist Media Studies: Conflicts and Connectivities

An Intergenerational Feminist Media Studies: Conflicts and Connectivities

A special anniversary issue of Feminist Media Studies

Edited by Jessalynn Keller, Jo Littler and Alison Winch

This special 15th anniversary issue of Feminist Media Studies will explore the interconnections between different generations of women and girls in the contemporary media landscape, building upon several successful roundtables we convened around this topic in London in autumn 2014.

While feminism has become increasingly visible within western popular media cultures over the past few years, little scholarly attention has been paid to the ways in which age and generation shape mediated conversations about feminist politics globally. This collection will address this oversight, aiming to problematize dominant media representations of intergenerational “catfights” and feminist “bickering,” while simultaneously interrogating the ways in which mediated conflicts and connectivities shape the potential to work together to enact feminist social change.

We ask: What kind of shared conversations do women have across age groups and how do these circulate in media cultures in various global contexts? How can intergenerational alliances be built while still remaining sensitive to differences of experience? How are feminist connections being formed via digital media technologies and platforms? How do new forms of mediated activism over sexual violence, queerness, racism, and social reproduction relate to those of their predecessors?  How is feminist conflict mediated and how might it operate productively? How do particular issues such as “sexualisation” become indicative of intergenerational conflict?

Considering these questions in relation to the growth of feminist media studies over the past fifteen years, this issue will simultaneously foreground how feminist media studies can contribute, and how it has contributed, to an understanding of such intergenerationality. How do different generations of feminist media scholars talk to each other? What impediments arise in these conversations? How do geographical and cultural locations impact these conversations? How do we theorize these generational divides and dialogues? Does an effective intergenerational feminist media studies exist, or do we need to invent or extend it?

Possible paper themes might include, but are not restricted to:

·      the mediation of age and ageing

·      feminist alliances within austerity and neoliberalism

·      feminist ‘waves’ in transnational contexts

·      intergenerational activism challenging global power inequalities

·      the mediation of feminist conflict and crisis

·      intersections of ‘race’, class, sexuality and generation

·      generational politics within digital media cultures and practices

·      queering feminist media studies

·      the legacies of feminist anti-racism

·      boys and men as feminist allies

·      feminist girls

Please send 400-600 word abstracts and a 100-word bio by 15th February 2015 to Jessalynn Keller (, Alison Winch ( and Jo Littler (

Final papers will be no more than 8,000 words and will be due 1st September 2015. Information about Feminist Media Studies can be found here:

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