Miss World 2011 in London!

Miss World is returning to London on Sunday 6th November.

The last time this event took place here was in 1970, and was disrupted by various feminist groups, announcing and inspiring the women movement for equal rights.

Now the contest is back, reframed as an empowering event, attempting to coopt and undermine the progress we have won as well as the continuing struggle to reach equality in the UK and all over the world.

If it’s back, we are back.

Come and join Smash Miss Contest for a fun happening at the Earl’s Court Arena!

send us an email for more details at smashmisscontest@gmail.com

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THE MISS WORLD RIOTS OF 1970

Miss world originally started off as a one off contest called the, ‘Festival Bikini Vontest’, but the British press gave it the name Miss World. Eric Morley first came up with the idea in 1951, and in the 60’s Morley famously summed up what Miss World was looking for; ‘Girls between 17 and 25, ideally five foot seven, eight or nine stone, waist 22-24’’, hips 35-36’’, no more no less, a lovely face, good teeth, plenty of hair, and perfectly shaped legs front and back- carefully checked for defects such as slightly knocked knees’.

Perhaps this is the point women began to actually worry about their weight and what sparked the diet and health industry to gain in popularity. With Morley’s requirements public is it any wonder women started to question the reason for this procession of female bodies to  be leered at on TV and classed as family viewing?

(more info about the anti miss world riots in http://www.zani.co.uk/Articles.aspx?id=68)

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Good News!

Beauty contests are empowering. Eating a cupcake is empowering. Embracing cultural stereotypes is empowering. Wooo everything is empowering in the consequence-free happy land of postmodern gender relations. Hurrah!

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/women_now_empowered_by_everything

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More related videos!


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The effects of the SMASH

Here at Smash towers, we have been eagerly following the 2010 edition of the backlash-fest that is the MISS UNIVERSITY LONDON BEAUTY PAGEANT.

Interestingly enough, this year there were NO LOCAL HEATS. For once those louts at 1-2-1 entertainment have made a good decision…after clocking the sheer volume of disgust and disapproval directed at every stage of the contest last year, I guess they thought such an extended contest was a  BAD IDEA, and they have reduced opportunities for protest/action/disruption by limiting the extravaganza to ONE NITE ONLY, at tackfest Movida, beloved of posh white kids all through SW london.

Anyway, us smashies are taking this as  A GLORIOUS TRIUMPH for us, and for all the awesome people who stood up and said, actually, no thanks! to this outdated pervy show that does the ladies NO FAVOURS.

So HOORAY!!!

Also, we missed this piece last year, turns out one of our ideas for the run up to the contest actually worked pretty well!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23648089-students-urged-to-smash-beauty-contest-with-flood-of-fake-entries.do

HA HA you gotta love the evening standard. Cheers for that christian, we hadn;t realised it was so effective!

xxxx

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Hollaback!

Hollaback is a collective which highlights and aims to combat the kind of daily street harassment that women have to deal with. This harassment (hey baby, nice tits, etc etc) is the sort of casual sexism which seems so ingrained in our culture due in no small part to the constant sexualisation of women and the standardising of the idea that women’s bodies are public property. This is the sort of thing that is fed into by beauty contests, lads mags etc, and has a daily and wearing effect on women’s psyches, constantly reminding us that our bodies can be judged/commented on at all times.

Sometimes, people don’t seem to understand hot tiring and cumulatively abusive this sort of interaction is. Sometimes men act like it’s a compliment, and that we should be grateful for the attention. Now we can direct doubters to the Hollaback UK site which has recently gone live, which provides a delightful compendium of the kind of war stories we collect from daring to walk down the street. 

Check it out: http://hollaback-uk.blogspot.com/

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Femmestruation Week in Edinburgh

Shout out to the Edinburgh Anarcha-feminist Kolektiv who are putting on an exciting sounding project… check it out x x x x

Hello fellow feminists and cunts! We’d like to invite you to get involved with our first project as the Edinburgh Anarcha-Feminist Kolektiv – Femmestruation Week, held at tepooka. In short, this week will run from 13th – 20th February 2010 in Edinburgh; starting heaving and ending light, this week-long exploration of menstruation will involve gigs, comedy, spoken-word performances, workshops, zine stalls, talks, art installations, video displays and much more to be contributed. It would be fantastic if you – or any bands/performers/distros etc. that you know of – could contribute to this week. We are putting on a gig (with music, menstrual comedy & spoken word performances), which will be on the 13th of February 2010 to begin the week. If you would like to contribute art, zines, poetry, or put on workshops and talks, make fliers, offer advice, etc. then that would be equally as fantastic. We would love for you to be involved, and we are happy to provide spaces for you to crash during your stay. Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you soon, Anna Lucine and Becca

edinburghanarchafeminist.blogspot.com

feministanarchistedinburgh@googlemail.com

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SMC! at the Climate Camp 2009

We were at the amazing Climate Camp for Climate action this week (http://climatecamp.org.uk/), for those who still don’t know what this is “The Climate Camp is a place for anyone who wants to take action on climate change; for anyone who’s fed up with empty government rhetoric and corporate spin; for anyone who’s worried that the small steps they’re taking aren’t enough to match the scale of the problem; and for anyone who’s worried about our future and wants to do something about it”.

We met amazing people, participated in very interesting workshops, learned a lot about climate change and economics, engaged in direct action, ate lovely vegan food, danced in a massive kelly, got drunk and sang around the fire. We also collaborated with the Feminist Fightback (http://www.feministfightback.org.uk/) on a workshop called Confronting the Backlash on Feminism, around 70 people attended and we consider was a total success!

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No Pretence, an anarcha feminist statment

Here is the great action of No Pretence at the Anarchist Movement Conference 2009. Fucking well done!

This is what was said.

“We make no pretence. This is a conference by and for anarchists. And by anarchists, we mean those opposed to the state, all forms of nationalism, capitalism, sexual/race/gender oppression and all forms of exploitation and domination,” Anarchist Movement Conference 09 Call Out

This is our response.

We have taken this space and projected this short film to show how we see sexism in ‘the movement’ and sexism in capitalist society. We have covered our faces in the same way we might do against the state and its agents – inspired by the tradition of our militant sisters who took back male-dominated stages, and political spaces.

We expect hostility, intimidation and greater surveillance after our action. Covering up makes it easier to communicate. And we know that our message is much bigger than the messenger herself.

The following text is our response to the four themes of the conference.

MOVEMENT or why we aren’t one

No matter how much we aspire to be ‘self-critical’ there is a clear lack of theorising and concrete action around sexism, homophobia and racism in the anarchist movement. We do not feel that the content and structure of the conference deal with gender and we’re tired of asking for space – we’re taking it ourselves.

You want to talk about history? Let’s stop pretending that feminism is a short blip in the history of political struggles. The feminism you know may be the one that has been dominated by white middle-class liberal politics – NOT the struggles and pockets of revolutionary resistance missing from our political pamphlets and ‘independent’ media. The feminism of Comandanta Yolanda, of bell hooks, of Anzaldua, of Mbuya Nehanda, of Angela Davis, of Rote Zora, of Mujeres Libres…

CLASS or is anybody out there?

We are all oppressed by the class system, but there is nobody ‘out there’ who isn’t also oppressed by white supremacy, imperialism, heterosexism, patriarchy, ableism, ageism…Pretending these systems don’t exist or can be subsumed into capitalist oppression, doesn’t deal with the problem, it just silences those people most oppressed by them, and allows for the continuing domination of these systems over our lives.

We are tired of being told that anarchists don’t need to be feminists, because ‘anarchism has feminism covered’. This is just a convenient way of forgetting the reality of gender oppression, and so ignoring the specifics of the struggle against it.

RESISTANCE or are we futile?

If the anarchist movement doesn’t recognize the power structures it reproduces, its resistance will be futile. For as well as fighting sexism ‘out there’ we must fight sexism ‘in here’ and stop pretending that oppressive systems disappear at the door of the squat or the social centre. Only a movement that understands and fights its own contradictions can provide fertile ground for real and effective resistance.

Ask yourselves this – do you believe sexism exists within the movement? When a woman comrade says she’s experienced sexual abuse or assault from a male comrade – what do you think? That it’s an individual or an isolated case? Or that it can happen – and disproportionately to women – because there is a system which allows it to develop and gives it life? Can we honestly say that our own autonomous spaces do not play a part in upholding this system?

Ask yourselves this – Why do fewer women speak in meetings? Because they think less? What is the gender of the factory worker? Why do more women do the washing up and run creches at meetings/events? What is the gender of the carer at home?

Now tell us if you believe sexism exists: tell us why men rape; why more women are battered than men; why more women are used by the state to do free and unwaged work. Tell us – are you a feminist?

We believe that in the anarchist movement, the strongest evidence of sexism lies in the choice we’re told to make between ‘unity’ and what-they-call ‘separatism’, between fighting the state and fighting sexism. Fuck that! We refuse to be seen as stereotypes of ‘feminists’ you can consume – like fucking merchandise in the capitalist workplace.

IDEAS INTO REALITY and what’s in between?

There will be no future for the anarchist movement if it doesn’t also identify as an anarcha-feminist movement. Anarcha-feminist organisational structures must exist within the movement to make anarcha-feminism an integral part of it. And you don’t need to identify as a woman to be an anarcha-feminist – every anarchist should be able to participate in the struggle against sexism.

The state’s incursion into our private lives and the relationship between sexuality and productivity from which it profits affects people of all genders. The gender binary system violently allocates us roles on the basis of our anatomy. A refusal to accept even these basic precepts will be a great hindrance to the movement.

You ask, ‘Can we find common cause despite our differences?’. We will only find common cause if we recognize that our differences are structured by numerous oppressive systems, and together fight to end each of these systems, wherever we find them.

Our feminisms must be plural, they must be anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic. Our inspiration must come from the actions of feminists who have helped self-identified women reach revolutionary consciousness.

Our feminisms must be revolutionary.

Final word

You can pretend we didn’t come here, pretend nothing was said.

You can purposefully misunderstand us.

Or you can ask yourselves why we came, what we meant, and whether we’ll come back again.

http://nopretence.wordpress.com/

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Some interesting articles

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/may/01/burlesque-performance-art-stripping

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/17/feminism-america-sex-promiscuity-drinking

 

sorry for the grauniad-centric nature of this post!

But the debates inside and around these issues overlap with things we were thinking about a little.

It’s complicated, innit.

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