Kate “The Other Kate” Weiner ’15 writes in to tell you about some awesome food, music, earth-appreciation, and feminism happening on Saturday:
Come listen to awesome music, eat good food, enjoy the earth, and talk feminism at the Mama Earth Ecofeminist Festival this Saturday, April 26th, in WestCo Courtyard from 1 to 4.
Featuring performances from:
Jackie Soro ’14
Molly Balsam ’14 and the Kroox
Hallelujah the Hills
If you stop by the WestCo lounge on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday night, you may catch some members of the Wesleyan community talking about vaginas. It should look nothing like last week’s production of The Vagina Monologues. And that’s the point.
“I have always really not liked The Vagina Monologues, but not because I don’t like the people who are involved in the show here,” explains producer Olivia May ’14. “The show itself never felt welcoming to my experience, and I can really imagine how it would feel less welcoming to a whole lot of other people.” Co-producer Emma MacLean ’14 adds, “I’ve always felt that there is more to be said than what gets said in The Vagina Monologues.”
This just in from Kate “Millett” Weiner ’15 about a student forum that will interest people who like talking about sexual politics at parties:
Are you a person in this world? Do you want equal rights for everyone?
Then congratulations, you’re a feminist! We’re so happy for you!
Come learn more about what this means and what we can do at a brief interest meeting this upcoming Tuesday, January 28th, at 6 p.m. in Albritton 101. We’ll be talking about potential subjects, such as street harassment, race and representation,body hair, and radical homemaking, as well as collaborative projects, including a feminist music festival and blogging.
If you have any questions/comments/suggestions contact kweiner[at]wesleyan[dot]edu and lmyers[at]wesleyan[dot]edu.
Date: Tuesday, January 28
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Albritton 103
Tristan Taormino ’93 lecturing on her college book tour. All images c/o Taormino.
The editors of The Village Voice wanted someone to write about sex. Dan Savage’s weekly advice column “Savage Love” was gaining popularity and had outgrown its place in the back of the paper, alongside 900 numbers and ads for escorts. Sex needed a new section.
They convened a meeting. The late Don Forst, editor-in-chief at the time, asked if anyone had a writer in mind. One editor suggested the “Adventure Girl” columnist from the lesbian feminist publication On Our Backs. Was that the same woman who wrote that book on anal sex, another editor asked. A third wanted to know if she used to run her own ‘zine.
All three had in mind the same person: Tristan Taormino ’93, author, feminist pornographer, and now, sex columnist. They brought her into the Village Voice offices.
“They said they had one concern: Is there really that much to write about sex? Can you keep that going for a while?” Taormino said. “And of course, I kept it going for almost a decade.
“My answer then, and proves to be, yes.”
As Taormino has shaped her career, her brand of feminism has promoted realistic views of sex and sexuality by keeping politics and ethics at the forefront of her work. She had to carve her own path, but in doing so, she paved the way for dynamic change.
From Talia Baurer ’15:
What is the state of the feminist movement today? Where is it “moving”? How do we build a feminist movement that centers the needs of trans* people and people of color? If you are curious about these topics, have an opinion on these topics, have heard these topics discussed on campus (and want to know more), love Feministing, love panels, love PAC, love having opinions about things (yes, every Wesleyan student, that means you)… come hear Feministing editors Jos Truitt and Katie Halper, and Shira Engel (!!), speak and answer questions on these questions on Thursday, November 21st at 6 PM in PAC 001! Want to know more about our speakers? Read their bios here (note: Katie is a Wes alum!).
Brought to you by: Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA), Students for Consent and Communication, Womanist House, Women of Color House, Open House, Chi Psi, and Planned Parenthood
Sponsored by: WesWell; CAPS; the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship; SALD; and the African American Studies, FGSS, and English departments
Date: Thursday, November 21
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Place: PAC 001
Future employers, meet Master of Ceremonies J**e W****y.
Awesomefest seems to finally have a unified purpose behind its name, and it’s not what the non-ironically-minded might expect. The event at Eclectic, the various incarnations of which I’ve attended at many junctures during my time at Wesleyan, always seemed torn between genuinely debuting new bands and the joke acts of usually talented music majors and other prominent musicians. This year, though, the jokier bands truly got my attention, and perhaps exhibited greater creativity by breaking out of the confines of good music — if it could even be called music at all.
There was Zak Malik ’14 attempting to play drums while singing “Levels” by AVICII at the same time. The vocals got the short end of the stick, coming out more like “DA-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN-DUN-DUNH-DA-DA-DUNH-DUNH” than anything tuneful. There was Malik’s Lion King song cover band with Henry Molofsky ’13 (who just did a Music thesis that I’m sure was wonderful and had a lot of serious value) that butchered the songs and couldn’t remember half of the lyrics. About halfway through “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” there appeared to be smoke streaming from Malik’s keyboard in my pictures; I showed the pictures to the kid next to me, and after a big misunderstanding he ended up asking the sound guy if there was anything wrong – but it only turned out to be the sound guy’s cigarette.
Stephan Stansfield ’13 and Rachel Connor ’13 (now ’14) — returning, happily, to the Wesleyan music scene after a long absence — played a surf rock song about being “back in the UAE” that devolved into a paean to the pleasures of boofing. A band called “Bryan J. ft. Travis Porter,” which included Molofsky, Aaron Khandros ’13, Bennett Kirschner ’13, and Connor, delivered what one fellow audience member opined was “the worst music [he] had ever heard,” with Kirschner screaming at the top of his lungs. There was a strip show that ended with mashed bananas all over the floor and A-Batte somewhere under the stage, along with the microphone.
Bernstein ’13, a senior and former member of Spring Fling Committee, reflects on male domination in the Wesleyan music scene—and how it can be changed.
Ally Bernstein ’13 offers a critical view on the 2013 Spring Fling lineup, weighing in on an argument that appeared in the comments section of Thursday night’s announcement post:
As I struggle to match words to my experience, I recall the last time someone wrote an article critical of the gender imbalance in the Wesleyan music scene. Avery Trufelman ’13 wrote a Wespeak in 2010 in response to our general feelings of malaise as well as an upsetting incident of sexual assault at a Titus Andronicus concert. And while she wrote it during the beginning of our sophomore year, as a senior, I wonder how much has changed. At the recent, excellent Potty Mouth concert in the WestCo Café, an overwhelmingly male audience turned out to watch four punk ladies from Northampton churn out sweetly melodic lo-fi tunes. Spring Fling Committee is 72% male. The Spring Fling lineup is 100% male. The majority of campus bands are still male.
Since the Potty Mouth show, I’ve tried to figure out why. Why don’t more female Wesleyan students attend shows, and why don’t more female Wesleyan students play shows? Why are women not engaged by what Wesleyan has to offer? In 2012 I visited a friend living in Olympia, Washington, birthplace of riot grrrl and home base of Kathleen Hanna, who spoke at Wesleyan in 2010. I attended a show at my friend’s house, and every single band out of the four that played had at least one non-male member. Many had more. Not only did these ladies kill it, but the atmosphere in the crowded living room was electric. Men and women and non-binary folks were all feeding off the positive energy of dedicated people making good music. During that trip, I sat in on some band practices where people of all genders were collaborating and sharing and just figuring things out. The attitude was infectious.
How much Judith Butler is just enough? Have you read her in class? Did you follow her involvement in the BDS debacle at Brooklyn College? Did you freak out when you heard she was speaking at Memorial Chapel? Do you think she critically analyzed Zionism to satisfactory depth that Wednesday? (If not, don’t worry; the talk was adapted from parts of her new book.) I know you read the 8-part countdown and wrap-up series that Kelsey Henry ’15 wrote for the Pyxis blog, so I won’t even ask about that.
Anyway, if you’ve even read this far without clicking play on the YouTube embed above, you may or may not be surprised to know that Wesleyan recently released a 15-minute interview with Butler (who was a visiting professor here from 1984 to 1986, if Wikipedia is to be believed) for your viewing pleasure, from her visit back in February. Interestingly, top-level administrators decided to give the honor of interviewing the widely read philosopher to Michael S. Roth ’78, a visiting professor in the Art History department, over someone more established at Wesleyan. Life’s like a box of chocolates, yo.
The conversation spans a range of topics; Butler speaks on her own introduction to philosophy (she received a “punished” by engaging in a tutorial on philosophy with her Rabbi), writing feminist theory (her friends encouraged her to do it), her reaction to 9/11, Gender Trouble, the importance of memorialization, a book recommendation (of course), and much more. Spoiler alert: she did not have much to say about being tweeted about or being surrounded by humanities majors. Once you’ve devoured the interview, you might want to check out what was my first substantial introduction to Butler’s thought, a lecture she presented at a conference called The Anarchist Turn. Just stop reading this and go engage with JuBu; she’s good at words and I’m not. Seriously, stop reading. I’m getting nervous.
“You’ve all been very good. I’m sorry, I’m a bit traumatized.”
Neither snow nor ice nor free speech restrictions could stop her: as planned, Judith Butler, famed Professor of Rhetoric and Literature at University of California Berkeley, spoke in Memorial Chapel yesterday to a full-capacity crowd about the writings of philosopher Martin Buber and the promise they may hold for reinstating open dialogue about peace in the Middle East.
Butler was introduced by President Roth, who pointed out that she embodied the Wesleyan mission statement to a tee as a practitioner of “courageous responsibility, which is difficult to carry out to the street and back to the academy.” Professor of Anthropology and American Studies Margot Weiss, who provided background on her for a few minutes afterward, was greeted by a enthusiastic wave of applause when she rose to the stage. Realizing what had happened due to her faintly resembling Butler, she shouted, “I am not Judith Butler, but thank you!” She went on to draw connections between Butler’s current work and the work on gender that she is best known for, saying that her most recent book, Parting Ways, sees Judaism as a kind of “anti-identitarian project.”
Butler’s approach to critiquing Israeli policies was so carefully measured and focused on separating the Jewish people from the idea of the Jewish state that she paused halfway through to assure people she wasn’t a robot. She also thanked the audience for their patient listening and respect for her views, saying, “You’ve all been very good. I’m sorry, I’m a bit traumatized.” Laughter ensued.
Emily Jones ’14 invites you to put on your thinking caps:
Have you ever thought about the ways in which gender works in our world? What about in fantasy worlds? Join us for an informal conversation on the role of gender, feminism, and the digital age in adventure and fantasy novels from the 19th century to today.
This event is part of Alice in Wonderland Week at ADP and is funded by the Adelphic Educational Fund.
Date: Today, Tues Feb 12th
Place: Alpha Delta Phi