PRETTY/UGLY :: an exhibition @ The Reading Room

OPENING NIGHT EVENT
Thursday 14th July ::

@ The Reading Room
15 3 Hindley St
Adelaide, Australia 5000

6pm – 8pm
All welcome :: Drinks provided

RSVP on facebook HERE

Two young emerging artists present ‘PRETTY/UGLY’ a collection of their individual work that explores the beautiful and the grotesque that sometimes plays with a strange crossover between the two.

These works clash and captivate: Smutty hybrid lady creatures, blood, gore and hardcore kids, zombie dogs, wicked grins, sleazy animals and monsters all piled into; watercolour drawings with a street art inspired aesthetic. Grinding against photographs that capture youthful innocence and collide with lust and rich sensuality which challenging notions of safety and youth sexuality.

Daria and Shaylee are two 19 year old emerging artists from regional areas, that have recently moved to Adelaide to start their first year studying Visual art at UniSA. Daria has been a part of White Cube Mildura, Mildura Backlane festival 2011 and Sketchbook project. Shaylee is a 2011 JUMP artist, being mentored by Deborah Paauwe, she has also recently been commissioned to create works for the Rundle Street Lantern by CountryArts SA & SALA moving image project.

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Thinking about the F word.

Being a girl (grrrl), sometimes a girl on the street, or a girl on the internet, or being a girl anywhere you sometimes will  encounter comments/situations like this:

Things like this remind me that Feminism is relevant, and that it is still something that we need to fight for and take action with. And while I have been thinking about the F word, I’ve found a few things that I want to share.

Some awesome Grrrl Virus posters here

So that you can go and infect your town with Grrrl Virus, like these ladies in Melbourne did

Grrrl Virus on Facebook

GirlVIRUS Australia on facebook

Also wanted to share these two gems that I found on youtube, two ladies kicking ass with these rants/opinions:

When I posted this on facebook it caused mixed reactions.

Where as this one had less reactions, and mostly approval, probably because its more humorous, and less confronting then the other.

So enjoy these gems and goodies, maybe it will shake up some of the dust, and stir some more action up around Adelaide?

Slutwalk Adelaide 2011

Just for starters if you need the background on how SlutWalk came about, read here: http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/about/what

Adelaide hosted its own Slutwalk on June 11th

“Don’t tell us how to dress. Tell men not to rape”


These photos are a collection of ones that I took during the March, and ones that I sourced from facebook. Ideally I would have taken more, but I found it hard to multi-task as I was stomping down King Will wearing these:

My crew of biddies and our really lame sign.

Badges that we purchased at the event and wore with pride.

“Slut walk mission Statement:
Sexual assault is the only crime when the victim is blamed and we have had enough. We are taking a stand against being treated like we “asked for it” and reclaiming our right to look, dress and act how we like without being called ‘sluts’ or being blamed for happened. We should not live in a society where we are told “don’t get raped” when the message should really be “Don’t rape”.

On June 11th we have an opportunity make people aware of those who would try to blame us for the crimes of others. We are not reclaiming the word ‘slut’ but reclaiming the right to be who we are without being attacked, to bring greater awareness that No means no and we shouldn’t have to fight for respect and justice.”

With all of these great things happening, tossers will always be tossers. i.e. this kid here, *please note all of the offensive comments are from the same guy.

Watch the ABC News footage of the March here

You can also read and listen to a great interview about Adelaide Slutwalk here

Get involved!

Join the Adelaide Feminist Discussion group on facebook.

Join the South Australia Feminist Collective on facebook

Go to:
the First Meeting of Feminist Collective
Sat June 25th 2-5pm

Adelaide Activist Centre
95 Currie st (opposite duke of york), level 2
Adelaide, Australia
RSVP on facebook

 Out of a political discussion following slutwalk a decision was made to create a feminist collective in South Australia. It is open to everyone, who identifies as a feminist or believes in feminist principles. This event is the first meeting of the collective. If people have ideas for agenda items write them on the wall of the collective group page and I will add them to the event, hope to see you all there.

Current proposed Agenda:
1. Form of group, how it will run, voting (only women or men have vote also) etc
2. reclaim the night
3. proposed legislation of decriminalization of prostitution
4. general business/ ideas for actions or strategies

Underage thinking

I have found the work of LKD, you can check out her blog and her work here.

Artschool has really gotten me into the habit of hunting around for new artists, and I have this strange fascination with other emerging artists. I think its a mix of being able to relate more to them as people, rather then being completely intimidated with the art work that these amazing established artists have created, to the point that you forget that they are also people. This work particularly stuck out to me in my research into DIY, feminism, punk, riot grrrl for one of my projects for uni, which I will later post about.

I think it resonates with me, because its a thought that I have had, many times, especially when I was younger, namely underage, when most of my handling of what I can and can’t do, aligned with people’s legal obligations to their ‘duty of care’, which someone never seems seems to apply in a mental health context (from my experiences).
This also makes me feel all fired up in the sense of the sense of entitlement that  (some) men (creeps)  and (some) teenage boys (tossers) sometimes speak to me in.

I.e. the time that I was in town in some seedy club, waiting for my friend to come out of the bathroom, where I was sitting cross legged on a seat near the pokies, texting someone else/playing with my phone and this kid comes up to me gropes my breasts and says ‘hey sexy‘ in a way that I guess he thought was alluring and flatter. Because I was looking down he seemed to have come out of nowhere, out of shock and anger, I uncrossed my legs and pushed him away (accidently kicked him in the balls a little) to which he responded with calling me a bitch. What really? That makes me a bitch?, because I don’t appreciate you coming up to me, someone you don’t know, and you putting your hands on me, like I am something that you are entitled to/something you own. Like I had done him the great shame by rejecting him, in such a public domain after he had so gallantly made it obvious that he found me somewhat attractive.

“Deriding women for being choosy is merely a nicer way of telling them that they have no right to reject men who are nice enough to like them.”
-Jessica Valenti

I hate that this is something that as a girl you anticipate at some point happening while you on a night out, and that I can only really blame myself because it was to be expected in a place like this. Like the time and place, gives this context to making this sexual harassment acceptable. What if this had happened to me in the supermarket when I was loading my shopping into my car? Or if this happened to be in the workplace with a co-worker? Suddenly alarm bells are going off in the ‘this is no ok or acceptable behavior’. What baffles me is that I wasn’t even werqing it out on the ‘D’floor’ or wearing anything particularly flashy (NOT THAT DOING ANY OF THIS WELCOMES THIS BEHAVIOR!).

Like… I should be flattered?: that between the dark lighting, and flashing neon lights, 90’s playlist that is playing for the 2nd time now, goon you probably pre-drinked, sweating and grinding bodies, sticky floor stained with broken glass and vomit, and beer goggles, that you decided to make my day, by making your way over to me, someone that didn’t even see you coming, by touching me without my consent, on my breast, which yanno isn’t considered to be a neutral place on the body.
Dude; A boob grab as far as I know is not culturally acceptable in any society as a handshake.

I didn’t look up at him, I didn’t want to make eye contact, I was halfway between feeling violated and vulnerable, to wanting to kick his ass, or somehow burn him with laser vision. ‘Bitch!’ he called me again, wanting to get a response from me, like me looking up would acknowledge that I was the bad guy in this situation, not wanting to give him the satisfaction I kept my eyes down, and resumed sending a message. ‘…Bitch?’ he called out to me one final time, in a more quiet and confused manner, like he wasn’t sure that wasn’t my name anymore. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him walk into the bathrooms, and the security guy approached me, smiling, like he had just seen a funny practical joke. ‘That a friend of yours?‘ he asked me, ‘uh no, actually I don’t him at all‘. To which he then, acted shocked in a almost mocking away, and then darted around the room, doing some kind of pantomime to make it look like he was going to do something. Disappointment. Was it just an assumption that I was some dumbass girl, that would probably be too drunk to remember this incident and that it was a waste of time? I saw this charming lad again, on his way out of the bathroom I yelled out to him ‘Hey mate! You heard of sexual harassment?’ and he shook his head at my in a dismissive-eye rolling kind of way.

I call bullshit on this idea that girls are ‘Asking for it’ by going to clubs/wearing short skirts/dancing/having a good time/drinking/flirting, especially in more serious scenarios. What baffles me, is when men/jerks get upset when you fire back/don’t follow through and respond positively to their sleazy/creepy moves. Do these chumps really think these un-suave behavior is going to get them anywhere with the ladies? If you cat call/sexually harass/assault someone, you are asking for trouble, you should expect negative repercussions.
You (dickhead) are asking for it (me going batshit crazy on your ass).

I wish there was some kind of girls hand guide to tell you how to cope in these sort of situations, witty come back lines, plans of action, self defense moves etc and maybe there could be a boys version with ‘Don’t be a jerk:’ written on every page.

All rambling aside, here are some more of her works that I like. (I hope all the click through links have worked)

From all of this I am feeling more inspired to be more dedicated to working on my own sketchbooks and to also mouth off to creeps when they are ‘askin for it’.

A letter of hope, from Sacia Cholneg

Who said that Gen Y is apathetic?!

Here is a kick-ass example of a young person going out of their way, to challange the currently status quo in their current school environment. I hope the school listens. In fact I hope that all schools listen, there is so much bad stuff that goes down in highschool that is never really properly dealt with or brought to light, until years later maybe.

Hopefully this is the beginnings of some social change, this is a letter that has been written by a current student in the Riverland to their school, and hopefully its going to go viral. It was inspired by a video, that I cannot for life of me, find on Tumblr, but if it ever pops up again I’ll link it to this.

I think it’s special and needs to shared, originally the letter was signed anonymous so that the letter could be by, and for every student there, but now the writer has chosen to go under the pseudonym of Sacia Cholneg. I’ve blotted out the school name for the time being, which I might go back to and change.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am sixteen years young and have attended XXXXX High School for four years. I have been born and nurtured in the Riverland and I have the determination to prove I am a passionate and capable member of our community. I envisage the youth of the Riverland to have the most upheld quality of citizenship and this is why I am writing this letter today. I feel my level of faith is slowly dropping.

Just recently it has come to my attention the amount of derogatory terms and phrases used by the vast number of youth culture. I am utterly disgraced when I hear someone say “that’s gay!” or “what a faggot!” and even hearing someone call him or her a “retard”. I know people that have been emotionally and even physically abused because of the way they were born; the way they just are. I believe people simply don’t understand and that they need to be informed that liking the same sex or needing a little more tutoring than others is not abnormal or strange. People are afraid of things they don’t comprehend and I believe this is why it’s become such an obstacle. In the context of which these people use these words are creating a closed, homophobic and unaccepting environment for themselves and others.

I plead on an emotional level for these obscenities to cease. I propose visions of posters, video contests, assignments and art themed competitions all based around this hiccup in youth culture. Anything to oblige people to think about how these unsavory words may affect others unknowingly.

I want to clearly state I am not criticizing XXXXXXX High or the youth as a whole, I do not mean to offend. I’m just a common teenager looking for a secure and pleasant environment to learn and thrive in. I also want you to recognize this letter not as a complaint but as an idea for improvement and development. I want you to see this as cry for help. I need, not so much as want, people to have an understanding of the environment that their almost habitual expressions are creating for themselves and others.

I understand that this is a large proposal and I also understand my ideas may not go forward but I feel better knowing that I have brought this to your attention.

Regards,

Anonymous

 

Riot Hearted Grrl


The above are two of my favorite photos from 2010, the above was taken in the Inspire headquarters, with me thinking that I was ‘Oh-So’ clever we my idea for a ‘YES WE CAN’ photo opportunity. The second image is of my sisters year 10 exhibition project, which is basically a project that they had to work on for about a month or so, on a free choice subject. I remember when she came up to me and said “Should I do something about child development, or something about womens rights and abortion“. From there, I literally danced around her saying ‘ABORTION! ABORTION!’, needless to say that I was really excited about the idea of grooming her to be a feminist.

When talking about these subjects, I get this yucky feeling in the bottom of my stomach sometimes, and I am guesstimating its a mix of feelings and memories of what oppression is. There have been times in highschool where I remember being the kid in the back of the classroom that would be ‘annoying’ everyone, because I would question things, and actually want to participate in conversations about the topic at hand. To which I once had several rows of girls, turning around, yelling at me to ‘would you just shut up, no one cares what you think!’. Mixed in with the conflicting desire to stand my ground, speak my voice about what I believe in, but also to not have that feeling when you are in a situation of rubbing against the grain, and you get so tired of fighting with people, debating what seems so bleedingly obviously right in my mind. Or the feeling of losing people that you had the potential to be really fantastic friends with someone, apart such issues with this, and it could destroy a potentially really great friendship/partnership, working on other issues/projects that you both believe in.

But then I see stuff like this, and I get really fired up, and really freaking angry, but really being left speechless, because I can’t find the words to write back a cohesive response, and am left in a state of facepalm.

I have come to the recent realization that I think I have been a feminist for the majority of my so far short life of 19 years. Looking back and recognizing that I got into alot of fights/debates with my parents, family, friends, classmates and teachers, over things that I felt was just me speaking my opinion. Some of it petty, but the majority of it, I felt wasn’t.

I have memories of having debates with friends and their boyfriends about how I didn’t think it was fair to call a girl a slut for hooking up with two boys at a party, while the boys got high-5’d and called legends. Withholding the belief that seemed so crazy radical at the time, that I don’t really believe that anyone is a slut, ever and that sex should not be seen as an enemy.

I remember getting angry at my Dad when he talked (somewhat jokingly) about how he would give my brothers condoms and booze for his after prom party, and wanted to give my brother a high 5 after he ‘scored’. And how when I started high school, he’d make me wear two pairs of overalls, forwards and backwards. In this strange kind of a ‘protective’ Dad humor, that I have never been able to find funny, because I was just so frustrated by the fact that he didn’t think  of us as equal or treat us equally, and that while he seemed to be encouraging and egging my brother on, to get out there, experiment, I was being made to feel like I had to hide away any signs of sexuality, and even fear it. Or fighting with my mother, about her not wanting me to attend parties, because ‘I trust you, but I don’t trust the people there, especially the boys’ . Which would just seem, unfair, absurd, and sexist making assumptions about certain sex’s behavior, because I considered these boys to be my friends, and she was insinuating that they would rape/sexually assault me. To which I would ponder, ‘I wonder in a parallel universe their mothers lecture about them of the importance of not going out and raping people’. This is something the 13, 14, 15 year old versions of me were frustrated with, but was never able to find the words to properly articulate in a sassy, combat of ‘answering’ back. Instead of just yelling ‘I hate it when you say things like that, its bullshit, its not fair to talk about me like that’, than feeling both embarrassed and angry, as I got told off for ‘answering back/yelling/swearing/causing a scene in front of other people’.

The most of this would be blamed on the fact that I was a crazy teenager, full of all these crazy hormones, that caused all this crazy teenage angst that made me disagree with my parents and adults in general. Which my parents questionably ‘affectionately’ called the ‘Princess Bitchface’ years. Which would make me even more mad, because I didn’t think it was fair to be called a bitch, for voicing my opinions, when they/every other adult in the world, for yelling back when people yelled at me, ‘talking back’ when I disagreed with something, standing up for myself and not taking any crap. It felt like they were trying to trim me back into this idea of being a girl that was meek, quiet and eager to please.

Or telling me, that its ‘just because you’re a teenager’ and ‘You think you know everything, but you don’t’, and that one day, I’ll look back at myself, and see how wrong I was. Despite the fact that I never claimed to ‘know everything’, just that I didn’t agree with whatever it was that was going on. Which I eventually argued back with ‘Isn’t it funny when adults say that to make themselves feel better about the fact that they can’t remember how good it is to be this young’. This slightly incoherent rant, in my head actually meaning something along the lines of ‘that’s a bullshit argument that adults use to justify the fact that the don’t even have a decent debate or reasoning to back themselves up’.

19 is the last of my teenage years, which is terrifying, looking back there were some things that were a bit ridiculous, things that a privileged middle class girl can take for granted, not knowing anything else, things like bitching about how its not fair to be forced to take piano lessons, when I didn’t want them, and didn’t want to have to comply with expectation of practicing for X amount of time per day. But there are still some things that still make me want to leap up onto the table,  embodied by my spirit animal of my 15 year old self and Ramona, yelling ‘Thats not Fair!’.

I can kind-of see the parenting style rooting from my parents, a generation that may have had a sense of ‘be seen, not heard, respect your parents, or they will punish/beat the shit out of you if you don’t’, that their parents would have gotten from their parents. Which I don’t think justify it, but its an interesting movement in culture, where in my childhood was where the changeover of when it stopped being PC/socially acceptable to take the woodern spoon out on your kids. I remember being hit, but I can’t remember how old I was when they made the conscious decision to not hit us as a means of punishment.

I really hated, and still hate that feeling of me vs them. Young people vs adults. Being told that we’re lazy, always wanting something for nothing, never trying taking everything for granted. I have alot of hope for my generation, because I think that we need to be the movers and shakers to try to get some change happening to improve and fix some previous boo boos. I love seeing young people having the opportunity to be empowered.

To clarify I don’t hate my parents in any state or form, they have done some great and generous things for me, but I feel like some of the parts of being human is being a dickhead sometimes, and parents are not un-included from this.  I feel like the moments that we relate best are when they are nostalgic about their youth and the shenanigans that they got up to. I have that creeping stirring feeling in my stomach, the fear or writing or saying the wrong thing, ‘airing dirty washing’. But I think its important to be brave with this, acknowledge & to try to explain, and understand myself the roots of my identity, in this blog/rant. But to also be like the kind of people that I really respect, who are raw, uninhibited, and fearless.

With this as my new how-to-guide for life:

When I discovered the word and meaning of feminist, it was a strange and powerful thing, to find something I could identify with, and make sense with some of the things that I believe and am attracted to.  It makes me feel like I belong somewhere, in a community of sorts, and validates my belief that I’m not just a crazy ranting bitch (most of the time). My interest in zines, equality, anti-sexism, pulling people up on their sexist comments, DIY culture, being anti-rape culture, hating the idea of slut shaming & rocking out to Rage against the Machines ‘Killing in the name of’. There’s still so much I want/need to learn, which I think will always be a general constant. As I am still trying to make sure that I can spell feminist, and roll the word ‘Misogyny’ off my tongue, and use it in the correct context.

I think I’m never going to be able to avoid the feeling that my life is a constant work in progress, and as Amanda Palmer has said “I’m still trying to express my truth, my place in the world, my belief,”. I like talking to people, I like hearing different opinions, as difficult and some of them may be to listen to, I like it when they agree with me, I like it when they disagree with me (sort-of) because I think its an important way to communicate and learn things with each other. I get frustrated with myself alot, because far too often I can’t find the right words to express myself, and I have a bad habbit of just repeating some things I hear to other people, when I’m not sure if I agree with them or not, just so that I can see what other people will respond with.

In the meantime the times that I can’t express myself, I think I will use rocking out to this, as a form of aerobics for punks as a coping mechanism. One day I will have the whole routine memorized.

Over and out hombres.