The Ones to Read: March 2018

Here is this month’s Girls Against reading list – the best writing on women, gender, music, and art from all over the internet.

The 8th of March saw International Women’s Day celebrating women all over the arts, media and public sphere. Why choose just one day? Let’s celebrate creative women every day.

And we’d love you to let us know what we’ve missed. What was your favourite article, published in the last month, that discusses women and gender in music and the arts? Tweet us @girlsagainst and share what you’ve been reading!

  • Kim Deal: ‘Misogyny is the Backbone of the Music Industry’

Barbara Ellen, The Guardian, 3 March 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/mar/03/kim-deal-breeders-misogyny-pixies-cobain-rehab?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

  • The male glance: How we fail to take women’s stories seriously

Lili Loofbourow, The Guardian, 6 March 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/06/the-male-glance-how-we-fail-to-take-womens-stories-seriously

 

  • A different take on that viral sexual advice letter in the Guardian

Bertie Brandes, i-D, 8 March 2018

https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/evm3xm/a-different-take-on-that-viral-sexual-advice-letter-in-the-guardian?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=dlvr.it

 

The Spice Girls

 

  • An appeal to the Spice Girls, from little girl of the ’90s, to actually go through with the reunion

Helen Meriel Thomas, NME, 8 March 2018

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/spice-girls-reunion-2018-personal-appeal-2257744

 

  • Little Simz: Terms and Conditions

Yomi Adegoke, March 2018

https://crackmagazine.net/article/long-reads/little-simz-terms-conditions/

 

  • 100 Easy Ways To Make Women’s Lives More Bearable

Dani Beckett, 8 March 2018, Broadly

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/bj5ex8/how-to-help-gender-equality-international-womens-day?utm_campaign=sharebutton

 

  • ‘I wouldn’t want this for anybody’s daughter’: Will #MeToo kill off the rock’n’roll groupie?

Thea de Gallier, 15 March, The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/mar/15/i-wouldnt-want-this-for-anybodys-daughter-will-metoo-kill-off-the-rocknroll-groupie

 

  • A Slightly Embarrassing Love for Jack Kerouac

Amanda Petruisch, 15 March, The New Yorker

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-slightly-embarrassing-love-for-jack-kerouac

Taylor Swift

 

  • The Dollars and Desperation Silencing #MeToo in Music

Andrea Domanick, 15 March, Noisey

https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/9kzex7/inside-music-industry-sexual-misconduct-harassment-problem-and-metoo

 

  • We Shouldn’t Ask Art to be Emblematic of the #MeToo Movement

Hazel Cills, 18 March, Jezebel

https://themuse.jezebel.com/we-shouldnt-ask-art-to-be-emblematic-of-the-metoo-move-1823720689

 

  • Two directions: Why Harry Styles’ new song is a breakthrough for bisexual music fans

Owen Myers, 22 March 2018, The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/mar/22/both-directions-why-harry-styles-new-song-is-a-breakthrough-for-bisexual-music-fans

 

  • Why Does Music Sound Better When I’m Ovulating?

Daisy Jones, 29 March 2018, Noisey

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/ywxwb5/music-sounds-better-ovulation-hormones-science

 

Kate Nash

 

  • The Second Coming of Kate Nash

Lisa Wright, 29 March 2018, DIY

http://diymag.com/2018/03/29/kate-nash-yesterday-was-forever-interview-2018

 

  • Rae Morris review, Heaven – This ray of  light deserves more recognition

Alexandra Pollard, 29 March 2018, The Telegraph

Rae Morris

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/rae-morris-review-heaven-ray-light-deserves-recognition/

 

Written by Ellen Peirson-Hagger (@ellen_cph on Twitter).

‘The Magic Gang’ – Album Review

On 16th March 2018, The Magic Gang released their long-awaited self-titled album, gratifying their fans with an incorporation of old and new, heavy and dreamy but an all-round beautifully constructed record.

The Magic Gang are currently number 15 in the UK album charts.

We are super enthusiastic about The Magic Gang because they are openly supportive of fighting against sexual assault at gigs. It is extremely important that this is recognised by musicians from all genres, orientations, styles and so forth. By openly supporting Girls Against, The Magic Gang are supporting the fact that intersectional feminism is relevant, appropriate and (almost) as cool as their stage presence when performing their bangers live!

As I strolled down Mount Street in Liverpool with Your Love playing through my headphones, I could have easily been on the way to the Cavern in the sixties.

To me, the album feels like it was made for live performance. Hearing the re-worked versions of All This Way and Jasmine, for example, creates a desire for the atmosphere at a Magic Gang gig because of the memories that these songs have brought fans over the past few years. By including these in the album, the record still has a feel of the bands’ hard work and determination that has lead them to this point in their career – they have been solely committed to their music and it has most definitely payed off. Although, the track list does seem like a trip through the eras because their music could easily fit into the plethora of influential styles and bands that have crafted indie music of today.

I wanted to focus on some of the newer tracks for a deeper analysis – starting with an energetic opening to the album – Oh, Saki. The Motown drums and melodic bass line give an upbeat vibe to the song, leading to an interesting guitar solo to give the track a flare. However, this compliments the beautiful harmony in the second half of the song.

This is also evident in Caroline, where harmonies and grungy guitars blend seamlessly, producing yet another catchy chorus with brilliant vocal arrangement. The bass locks in with the bass drum in the verse which creates the solid beat which we can’t help aimlessly bopping to…

A personal favourite, Take Care has Gus on lead vocals. The Abbey Road piano sound with a reminiscent start leads to the modernised feel of the drum sound. The bass development through the song builds it perfectly, and the well-written lyrics including “take good care of yourself” compliment the new dynamic to the song, whilst ending where it started on piano and vocals.

Finally, Bruises has an interesting vocal sound that compliments the chord progression in the song. There is some great lead guitar throughout, which is reminiscent of Oasis.

The Magic Gang have an incredible summer lined up, playing at various festivals such as Reading and Leeds and TRNSMT Festival. They have also just finished their UK tour; you can find some snaps from supporters on our Instagram @girls.against – keep sending us pictures!

Ultimately, this debut album has impressed, inspired and enriched the music scene. Not only is it an easy listen, but an intricately crafted piece that deserves the upmost success.

Written by Megan Ryder-Maki.
Twitter: @ixxmcmxl | Instagram: @bbtalkz

Powerful Words From Girls Who Galvanised The World At The ‘MARCH FOR OUR LIVES’ Rally

Led by students and survivors of the shooting which left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the world watched and supported the demonstrations that took place in Washington, D.C. and other parts of USA. The ‘March for our lives’ rally is a call to action on gun violence and the importance of students’ safety. With so many shootings and deaths in the first quarter of 2018, students, activists and survivors of shootings expressed their frustrations in compelling and emotive speeches. However, some women stood out as they eloquently presented their speeches while they elicited various empathetic and sympathetic reactions from the audience.

NAOMI WADLER

Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old fifth-grader from Alexandria, Virginia, who led a walk-out at her elementary school was on the stage to give a voice to African-American women and girls who had been silenced. In her speech she said, “I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.” She also added, “I urge everyone here and everyone who hears my voice to join me in telling the stories that aren’t told – to honour the girls, the women of colour who were murdered at disproportionate rates in this nation.” Although, she acknowledged how young she and her friends were, the words she spoke made the crowd go wild like she was a younger embodiment of Oprah.

EMMA GONZÁLEZ

Emma González spent 6 minutes, 20 seconds on stage. Each second representing the time Nikolas Cruz spent aiming at her schoolmates. “No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach or where this would go,” González said. “For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, i’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep.” During her time on the March for Our Lives stage, she listed her slain classmates in a poem which she composed. For over 4 minutes, she didn’t speak but her silence said a lot and remains one of the most impactful statements at the protest. According to reports, she’s responsible for the loudest silence in the history of social protest in USA.

YOLANDA RENEE KING

The 9-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, made a surprise appearance on the stage. Just like her grandfather, she also had a dream to share with the audience. She said, “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of the skin, but the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough and that this should be a gun-free world, period.”

EDNA CHAVEZ

Edna Chavez who is an activist and youth leader in Los Angeles, spoke passionately about the need not only for gun law reform but also for drastic cultural change in schools. Edna, who lost her brother to gun violence, commanded the stage to give a moving speech about the trauma survivors face and the urgent need for change. She said, “I have lived in South L.A. my entire life and have lost many loved ones to gun violence. This is normal. Normal to the point that I have learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read.” In her speech, she emphasized that more guns and more police on campuses is not the answer while stating that cops in schools are more likely to “profile and criminalize” black and brown students than to make them feel safe.

SAM FUENTES

Sam was one of more than a dozen students injured last month when Nikolas Cruz attacked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “Our mission is simple and our ambitions are unbeatable”.“Let’s keep the guns out of the hands of
the wrong people and keep them in the hands of the safe and reasonable.” she said. Fuentes ended her address, asking the crowd to join her in signing ‘Happy Birthday’ for one of her classmates, Nick Dworet, who died during the February 14 massacre and would have turned 18 on March 24. Unlike many Happy Birthday songs, this was too difficult to sing as tears rolled down and voices quivered.

DELANEY TARR

The 17-year-old survivor of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, stood before thousands at the ‘March for Our Lives’ protest in Washington, D.C., to vow, “We are not here for bread crumbs. We are here for real change.” Her words were firm and unfeigned as she addressed the real purpose of the “movement”. She spoke passionately about gun control and the 17 people killed by Nikolas Cruz.

 

 

 

AALAYAH EASTMOND

Before the day of the protest, the 17-year- old said she will be marching not only for tougher gun laws — but for the classmate whose body she hid beneath during last month’s massacre at her school. In her speech, she said “Yes, I am a Parkland survivor and an MSD student, but before this, i was a regular black girl and after this i am still black and I am still regular and i will fight for all of us.” More than anything, Aalayah sounded determined to fight for “her angels” to stop gun violence.

 

 

 

Written By: Tommy Monroe (@TommyMonroe_ on Twitter).

Problematic Song Lyrics

As young women growing up in a world where music surrounds us, whether that’s on the TV, radio or played in clubs and bars, the misrepresentation and degradation of women is constantly echoed around us.

Even thinking about this song enrages me. Blurred Lines peaked at number one in at least 25 countries, becoming the number one song of 2013 in several of them. Yet, this highly misogynistic song celebrating the ‘blurred lines’ of consent, should not have been given this spot in the charts or in my opinion even produced. If the song title is not enough to cause concern, the lyrics ‘I know you want it’ suggests a complete lack of consent and is full of assumption that is extremely problematic. This not only perpetuates a toxic stereotype of male dominance and female submission but is actually celebrating the rape culture that for so many women across the world is terrifying and dangerous.

Music is a very important thing for many, and we need to start to question the content of the lyrics in the songs all around us:

1. Blurred Lines- Robin Thicke

Even thinking about this song enrages me. ‘Blurred Lines’ peaked at number one in at least 25 countries, becoming the number one song of 2013 in several of them. Yet, this highly misogynistic song celebrating the ‘blurred lines’ of consent, should not have been given this spot in the charts or in my opinion even produced.

Throughout the entire song, references to what could be interpreted as a rape scene are made ‘Do it like it hurt, like it hurt’ ‘Baby, can you breathe?’ this not only suggests that while he hasn’t been given any direct consent but chooses to believe he has, he is now endangering the woman by forcing himself upon her. Theses lyrics are extremely explicit and the visual imagery that is seen in the music video also provides a problem regarding the sexualized female form that can be evidently seen. This song was extremely accessible for many teenage boys and girls on platforms such as YouTube, not only causing a problem regarding their individual safety and to what they are exposed to in the lyrics, but it also shapes their views and opinions regarding consent.

By idealising these issues through the music video it teaches young boys that consent isn’t important and that ‘no doesn’t always mean no’. This is a highly toxic message to provide as organisations such as ours are constantly trying to combat issues regarding sexual assault, so I don’t understand how a song with lyrics as harmful as these can be praised while trivializing sexual assault.

2. U.O.E.N.O-  Rocko featuring Future and Rick Ross

A second lyric where by rape culture is again celebrated is in the song U.O.E.N.O by hip hop artist Rocko featuring Future and Rick Ross. Ross raps the lyric ‘Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it’. Suggesting that he used a drug and then took her home to take advantage of her in a vulnerable position. By making subjects such as sexual assault and ‘date rape’ drugs normalized, it not only encourages these kinds of actions but it makes assault survivors feel less validated. These song lyrics are completely harmful for women and men as they encourage the violation of women and the fact that it is seemingly acceptable.

3. ‘All About That Bass’-Meghan Trainor

This familiar, catchy, char-topping pop tune  also raises a cause for concern. While celebrating the ‘boom, boom that all the boys chase’ it suggests that if you have curves or a larger bottom or boobs then men are going to view you as beautiful. Although this song prides itself on body positivity and acceptance with lyrics such as ‘skinny bitches’ it seriously degrades those who are skinny or aren’t as curvy as figures like Kim Kardashian or Nikki Minaj who possess the iconic ‘hourglass figure’.

Meghan Trainor also sings ‘boys like a little bit more booty to hold at night’ while this message not only suggests that your beauty is defined by how males feel about you, it again marginalizes those who are thinner. Why can’t this pop tune celebrate loving every single size and figure of our bodies not dependent on how others view our worth but how we regard ourselves? Does this song really have to make those who are curvier feel better by calling those who are thin ‘stick figure Barbie doll’? Instead of encouraging self -doubt and knocking self -esteem of those women who don’t fit into this ideal of ‘all the right junk in all the right places’ let’s embrace body positivity of ALL shapes and sizes because we are all individually unique and that is what makes us beautiful.

4. Taylor Swift – ‘Blank Space’

This catchy pop tune has been a worldwide hit, but unfortunately, the tale behind it seems to promote the over-generalised stereotype that all women are insanely jealous, destructive beings. It also solidifies the idea that it’s acceptable for women to be both physically and mentally abusive in relationships, therefore making society believe that women can’t be domestic abusers. The lyrics, combined with the video released for this song portray that idea perfectly.

One example of this is in the video where Taylor gets progressively angry at her boyfriend for being on his phone and messaging other people while he’s with her. Yes, it’s annoying when you’re not being payed attention to, but the video implies that she’s angry because he’s speaking with other people that aren’t her, which shows clear signs of an unhealthy and mentally abusive relationship. This is further backed up through the line ‘oh my god, who is she? I get drunk on jealousy’, which shows how Taylor is unhappy with him speaking to other females, again showing signs of controlling within the relationship.

Taylor also, unfortunately, shows evidence of physical harm in the video – pushing him away and throwing a vase in his direction, as well as stabbing a portrait of him with a knife, burning/cutting up his clothes and attacking his car with a golf club. It’s safe to say that if this was the other way round, and there was in fact a man carrying out these actions towards Taylor, it would be deemed much more unacceptable by society and fans alike. Unfortunately, this implies to society that every woman is ‘crazy’, even if they don’t show it.

Although this is just my personal interpretation from the song/video, I think it’s important to see how important it is that women represent women well. Yes, it’s okay to show unhappiness/anger in a relationship, but it doesn’t have to be done in a way that might not only imply that women are always likely to act in an unacceptable way, but also upset victims of domestic abuse that may have had similar things happen to them.

Written by Samantha Hall and Emma Randall (@_samanthahall_ and @emmarandall99 on Twitter).

Rae Morris Live Review: Alternative Pop Perfection

Image by Conor Giblin

When I booked to see Rae Morris late last year, I didn’t expect to be running to the venue in the middle of a blizzard, but that’s Britain’s unpredictable weather for you! Manchester’s Gorilla was the venue, my refuge from the bitterly cold weather, and Rae provided me with the warmth and energy I needed to face the outside world again.

Opening with the bleak and beautiful ‘Push Me To My Limit’, Rae showcased her powerhouse vocals and won the hearts of everyone in the room in the space of 3 short minutes. With this song, she produced a stunned silence amongst the audience and was greeted with rapturous applause in response to the track.

She immediately lifted the tempo with Europop banger ‘Reborn’, as she and her backing singer marched along to the snare drum beat. Pleasing hardcore fans, she next performed a reworked, slightly more electronic version of ‘Morné Fortune’ from her 2015 debut album ‘Unguarded’.

In this trio of songs, Rae showed the crowd that she is absolutely not the same artist that she was when she performed over the road at The Ritz almost 3 years ago. Now, she’s bolder, more confident and more experimental, whilst retaining a strong pop sensibility.

However, despite this, she proved that the old Rae has not completely vanished, by taking a seat at the piano to perform ‘Physical Form’. But this was not for long, because before the audience could get used to the old Rae, she was back on her feet twisting and turning all over the stage to the infectiously catchy ‘Do It’. This track, along with ‘Atletico’ which she performed later in the set, are just pure fun. They generate so much positivity and she performs them in such a cheeky and carefree way that they give her audiences big beaming smiles.

She invited her drummer to act as Fryars for the duet of ‘Cold’, with the pair walking slowly towards each other from opposite ends of the stage. This was such an interesting and engaging performance, yet it was so simple.

Later on, she sang a personal favourite of mine called ‘Dancing With Character’. Whilst performing this song, Rae had to put herself into the shoes of a man who had lost his wife, reflecting on the life they had together and processing the grief of losing her. She did this so beautifully, looking up at the sky as if she was communicating with the man’s wife and moving around the stage elegantly.

‘Under The Shadows’ – a hit from her first album – was very well received, prompting a huge singalong. This track, to me, sounds like a more modern ‘Running Up That Hill’ and I loved the energy that her band put into the drums and sparkly synths that were layered over Rae’s stunning vocals.

For the encore, Rae experimented with vocal manipulation for ‘Lower The Tone’, a risk that paid off as the crowd seemed to love it. She ended the show with the title track from her latest record Someone Out There, which spread a hopeful message and had everyone swaying their arms in unison. A great ending to a rock solid evening of alternative pop perfection.

Written by Conor Giblin (@conorjgiblin on Twitter.)

5 Tips for Staying Safe at Gigs

(Source: VisitEngland.com)

With festival season fast approaching, it’s important to remember ways of staying safe and making sure your gig experience is as enjoyable as possible. Here are 5 tips for staying safe at gigs;

1- Make yourself aware of security and the exits. 

On your way in, have a quick glance around the venue; look for security so that in the event of anything where you may need them happening, you know exactly where to go. Also look for the nearest exit incase you feel that you need to get out to make it easier for yourself.

2- Choose a meeting point with your friends.

We all know how easy it is to lose our mates in the mosh pit. Pick a meeting point so that if you lose them, you know where to meet at the end of the gig. There’s nothing worse than trying to phone your friends in a building which usually has poor reception and trying to shout over the music to see where they are. Why not cut out the middle man and pick a place to meet to save the hassle?

3- Don’t accept drinks or drugs from strangers.

It may seem like a given but it can be easy to forget, especially in such a hot environment where all you want is a cold drink. Wait for stewards to bring round cups of water or bring your own drinks if the venue permits it. It’s worth paying the extortionate prices they charge for drinks at most venues over accepting a free but possibly spiked drink from a stranger.

4- Look out for mates.

If you see someone giving unwanted attention to a friend or anybody else at the gig, don’t be afraid to call them out for it. Check that the person looking uncomfortable is okay and warn mates of anybody who appears to be behaving inappropriately. Obviously at a standing venue, it’s almost a given that you’ll be touched by strangers but there’s a huge difference between being intentionally groped and accidentally touched.

5- Tell security or Ask for Angela

While meeting new people is one of the perks of going to gigs, you can’t always tell what their intentions are. If you begin to feel uncomfortable with the situation, let the person know. Be clear that they have overstepped a boundary. If they persist or you still feel unsafe, let security know! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling security that you feel uncomfortable and while we are often afraid to make a fuss out of situations, it is security’s job and perfectly fine to ask for their help. The Ask for Angela scheme could also be used in this situation. Asking bar staff for ‘Angela’ alerts them that you feel unsafe and they can then take the steps needed to help you out. Staff can often call a taxi for you and wait with you until it arrives in order to make you feel safe. Speak out about it; don’t suffer in silence. The only way of preventing sexual assault at gigs is by starting a conversation and letting people know that it’s unacceptable.

Obviously having fun should be at the forefront of our minds when going to gigs but it’s worth thinking about safety too. Keep these tips at the back of your mind in order to have an amazing festival season!

Written by Laura Cobham (@lauracobxx on Instagram).

The Songs I Listen to Are Misogynistic, Does That Mean I Am Too? (PART ONE)

This post is the first of a two-part series on the blog centred around the debate of whether you can still be a feminist if you listen to misogynistic music. In this article, Neive considers this  debate in relation to the indie genre.

A poster from CATB’s merch stand a few years ago.

Every strand of the music industry is encompassed by at least a degree of misogyny and the indie genre is no exception. Separating art and artist is a debate that has caused significant divide in this genre in particular, although it is often not characterised as such (which is another issue in itself), and the undeniable sexism which is at play is inexcusable. As much as it would pain me to stop listening to some of my favourite artists, I think the issue of continuing to support them boils down to the fact that by supporting them, you are indirectly supporting their views by default.

It goes beyond just lyrics it appears too, and so think that is an integral turning point for when it becomes acceptable to continue supporting such bands. It is incidents such as Catfish & The Bottlemen’s infamous merch stand poster from a few years ago, which makes you stop and consider what the bands you are listening to are really thinking. The aforementioned poster is blatant objectification, as much as it may have been intended as a joke. I think that with instances like this, there is an extent to which it is a joke, but an important factor to consider is how much the ideas and beliefs behind the joke are genuine. Of course, there is always room to reform and learn from past mistakes, and with this being a few years ago, it is completely possible that since then, the band have been educated.

At the end of the day, not everyone is automatically aware of the injustice and prejudice within our society, especially if you come from a place of social privilege. Begrudging someone the opportunity to educate themselves and overcome their internalised discriminatory attitudes is unfair. However, when no attempts are made to rectify this misogynistic mindset, I think it becomes evident that this issue is of no concern to the artist.

As a band, regardless of the size or number of fans, you are awarded with at least some level of power and obviously there are bands that use this power for good and at least try to assert a positive influence over fans who are often young, impressionable and vulnerable. Despite this, it is integral to acknowledge the artists who abuse this power and take advantage of their audiences.

It is bands like Misfires and Mooseblood, who have been publicly condemned and accused of using their status to sexually harass and take advantage of their fans. Yet still, there are some fans continuing to support them, and festivals continuing to book these artists, and here in lies the issue. By providing continual support despite their actions, you are ultimately funding their pursuits and allowing their career to flourish.

This could be detrimental- allowing them to have influence and power over an even wider audience and showing they can just behave in this manner without any backlash is completely wrong. I think in cases like these, separating art and artist is not possible. An artist’s personal life and beliefs have such a significant impact on their art, and thus their misogyny and art are intertwined. Therefore, supporting these artists extends to supporting their misogyny and so it is imperative we do not separate the two and instead actively criticise their views and prompt a change by showing acting in this manner is unacceptable.

Written by Neive McCarthy (@neiveeee on Twitter).

Hi! I’ve been following this campaign for nearly 2 years since I heard Circa Waves shout you out at a gig. As it is something I feel strongly about, I was wondering if there is any way that I can become a rep or join the campaign? Thank you! -Megan Dyson

Hi Megan, thanks so much for showing an interest in the campaign! We’re not recruiting for reps at the moment but here’s 5 things you can do to support the campaign:

  1. HAND OUT FLYERS AND POSTERS! All of our PDFs can be found here stick them anywhere u can! (ask permission if you need to tho)
  2. TALK TO PEOPLE! Security? Bands? Venues? Have they heard of GA, do they know about sexual assault happening at gigs? If not… tell them! Any security companies that are unaware? Let us know
  3. DON’T BE A BYSTANDER! Let people know around you that you are looking out for them. Keep an eye out in the crowd, see if anyone feels uncomfortable or needs help & report it.
  4. WRITE FOR US! We’re always looking for blog contributions so feel free to email any potential ideas or submissions to girlsagainst@outlook.com
  5. CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM! Any ideas on what we could be doing better? Ideas about how to progress as a campaign? Let us know. We are always excited to hear new ideas and perspectives on how to tackle sexual assault at gigs.

Hope this helps!

Upskirting: In Conversation with Gina Martin

Upskirting is taking unauthorised photographs under a skirt therefore capturing an image of crotch area, underwear or genitalia. Sometimes these images can be taken and can get shared around on various websites; this has always been an issue but recently it has been bought to light over laws and social attitudes.

There have been many cases where photos have been taken unknowingly and have become sexualised by people posting them onto porn sites. There are often cases where these images are involving  victims who are minors or people who can be clearly recognised, this raises issues of privacy and reputation.

Upskirting photos can be taken easily, for instance, when you are walking up and down stairs. It is often very hard to know if someone has taken an upskirt photo of you unless you see them take it or find it on various websites, this is because the cameras are normally hidden.

At the moment, there is no law in the UK specifically naming upskirting. However, Scotland created specific legislation against the crime of upskirting in 2009. In Britain, victims and police are currently only able to pursue offences under the two current laws which are voyeurism and outraging public decency.

Voyeurism: This only applies in a private place (at home, in a changing room etc) where the victim has a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ so, if you are in a public place voyeurism cannot be used.

Outraging Public Decency: A 100 year old public-order law which protects the public from having to see anything lewd (this is often used to prosecute urinating in public etc). It does not recognise upskirting as a crime with a victim. Prosecuting under this law, the assault must meet a series of ‘rules’- e.g. two or more people had to be there to see it happen- so it is notoriously difficult/often impossible to charge with it because it is so outdated and unfit for purpose.

As you can see it can be hard to prosecute under these two current laws as there are limitations to both laws but upskirt photos can technically be prosecuted so the aim is to make upskirt photos a specific crime.

Gina Martin has started a campaign to make upskirt photos a specific crime after being a victim at a music festival. She reported the incident to the security at the festival who then passed it on to the police. Only five days later she received a phone call from the Met police to say the case was closed and “there’s not much we can do” because “it’s not a graphic image”. Her petition currently has 82,000 supporters and 7 months ago the Met police reopened her case. I was lucky enough to interview Gina:

What inspired you to start a campaign?

I had upskirt photos taken of me at a festival by guys who wouldn’t allow me to reject their advances. It was humiliating, and after handing the phone, picture and guy over to the police they said there wasn’t much they could do.

What advice would you give to anyone who has been a victim of Upskirting?

I would tell them to tell the people around them, to get the evidence if they can and to think logically – e.g they will have to fight for people to listen due to this grey area. On the other hand, it won’t be long until I change that, so hopefully, it won’t be so hard to prosecute in the future.

Why do you think the issue of Upskirting isn’t commonly spoken about?

It’s a very secretive assault. Many women don’t know it’s happened to them. But more importantly, I don’t think women feel comfortable speaking up about something they know they’re not supported about. The law doesn’t currently support all women who are upskirted, so why would they speak out about it? It’s also true that as women we’re taught that assault and harassment is ‘just part of being a woman’. It shouldn’t be.

What are your aims for the campaign?

We are going to change the law so that all victims can be prosecute effectively.

How can more people get involved with raising awareness about Upskirting?

You can sign my petition on Care2. Just type in ‘Gina Martin’. But if there are any writers, journalists, speakers, lawyers, academics, authorities – anyone out there who could lend their voice to the cause, please get in touch! We already have in incredible team and support from MPs across all parties, academics and lawyers have all agreed this needs to be changed. But the more that lend themselves to the cause, the quicker it will happen.

Overall there are a lot of things that need to change regarding Upskirting from the laws surrounding the issue to social attitudes. Even though this may take time it is important to keep fighting and speaking out eventually people will listen and things will change for the better.

Written by Alice Dunham (@alicerosedunham on Twitter.)

Kesha: A Feminist Figure We Should All Be Praising

Her show stopping performance at the 60th annual Grammy awards was a powerful call to action as she was flanked by an army of incredible women at the 60th annual Grammy award show. Her first major success came in early 2009 after she featured on American rapper Flo Rida’s number-one single ‘Right Round’. In 2005, Kesha Rose was signed to Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Entertainment, and his music publishing company, Prescription Songs.

Kesha’s unpolished aesthetic and juvenile stage persona, which she described as her own personality “times ten”, quickly made her a deeply polarizing figure. What seemed to start off as a great career was later harmed by Dr Luke’s alleged verbal and sexual abuse towards her. This brought her career into a drought and her tears flowed like the rain.

Kesha had always been a strong woman. Whether she was praising cunnilingus in her breakout single ‘Right Round’ with Flo Rida, or subverting gender roles in ‘Blah Blah Blah’, her lyrics are rife with references to female sexual freedom.Today, Kesha is a force to reckon with and a feminist idol. Kesha has been one of the prime supporters of the widely known #MeToo movement which aims to put an end to sexual abuse, in Hollywood and beyond.

Despite the isolating experience dealing with lengthy court proceedings while coping with emotional trauma, Kesha rose above it all and poured out her heart into her Grammy nominated album—’Rainbows’. Her inspiring album, which was a cathartic response to her legal battle and the pain she felt, has been a source of inspiration to many females around the world. With her words, she healed the pain of wounds inflected by men on thousands of women, soothing them with her voice. Rainbow was released before the #MeToo and #TimeIsUp movement but has correlated with the beginning of a reckoning for sexism, misogyny and abuse of power.

Kesha’s public support of #MeToo is particularly poignant after years locked in a legal battle with her former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and his Sony imprint Kemosabe. Kesha went through a brutally public court battle in 2016 when she was trying to get free of her contract with Sony that bound her to working with Dr. Luke, the producer who she accused of sexual assault. She lost her case and the internet came rushing to her support with the hashtag #FreeKesha. That was the beginning of awareness in the entertainment industry. She persevered through it all, setting an inspiring example for women who are also trying to overcome abuse.The bitter and protracted fight has made Kesha a hero to survivors of abuse. Kesha put her entire career on the line in her fight to free herself from her alleged abuser. Looking at it figuratively, Kesha put everything she had on the line in her fight to free all women bound by the chains of sexist men.

Women aren’t in any industry to be taken advantage of, women are strong, hard working and goal oriented. Over the years women have been made to seem like the lesser gender. However, never undermine the power of a woman. Undermining the power of a woman is undermining the power of a mother, a wife, a sister, a leader, an innovator, a role model and a human being.

In Kesha’s essay celebrating her feminist anthem ‘Woman’ She stated “In the past few years, i have felt like a woman more than ever. I just feel the strength and awesomeness and power of being female.” Indeed, Kesha Rose is a feminist figure we should all praise.

 

Written by Tommy Monroe (@TommyMonroe_ on Twitter).