Tag Archives: events

WE WERE THERE: HER/LA’s Mothership Festival

HER/LA Mothership festival

Photo by Samantha Snitzer

On November 5th, 6th, and 7th, a group of two hundred women convened in Desert Hot Springs, California, for HER/LA’s Mothership, a queer, trans, and non-binary inclusive feminist festival for women. I attended Mothership with my childhood best friend, Chris Tsuyuki, with whom I’m writing this piece. For full transparency, I am white, and Chris is third-generation Japanese American. This year’s event was the second iteration of the festival—the first taking place in LA as a pop-up festival—so, as Chris points out, “it’s still growing and findings its audience and voice. If they can reach out to more POC feminists, this festival can probably grow into something that really feels like it’s for all of us.”

Chris and I camped Friday and Saturday nights, beside Camp Beaverton, the lesbian Burning Man camp. The camping spot was an open space behind Sam’s Family Spa and Hot Water Resort—essentially a trailer/RV park with three mineral pools—which meant we had electricity, potable water, toilets, and showers. A hundred or so camping tents surrounded four festival tents, where various workshops and activities were held throughout the weekend. The most popular event was “How to Drive a Vulva,” a presentation by sex educator Allison Moon, who was so energetic, intelligent, hilarious, and queer- and trans-inclusive that you could feel the positive energy vibrating through the room. If only everyone—specifically teens—could have access to such powerful sex education, where the focus is on feeling healthy about your sexuality, asking for and giving consent, communicating your needs during sexual activities, advocating for your own pleasure, and using safe sex practices. It always feels so important to hear someone talk about sex, bodies, and desire in healthy ways, and even for this audience of twenty- and thirty-somethings, it felt like Moon’s sex-positivity was something we all needed to hear.

Another popular event was the panel “Women’s Sexuality in the Media,” hosted by former editor-in-chief of AfterEllen Trish Bendix, with writer and actress Alexandra Roxo, artist and creator of the male-nipple sticker Micol Hebron, “Bye Felipe” creator Alexandra Tweten, and writer and actress Mel Shimkovitz. The panelists, acknowledging how white the panel was (Bendix reported that some panelists had cancelled), talked about working in the media, art, and film industries. It was an interesting glimpse into those worlds, though the one-hour time constraint meant we couldn’t get into a very deep or political discussion.

Chris and I, knowing we would write about Mothership for Weird Sister, observed the festival with a critical eye. We thought about white feminism. We talked with some women from London about Brexit and our upcoming election. We talked with some straight women who felt a bit left out for being straight at what felt like a mostly queer event. We thought about how different it was to be with only female-identified people for the weekend, how safe it felt, how the male gaze was absent; in its place were a lot of women walking around with bare chests—but no feeling of being just a pretty object. There were, of course, many beautiful women, with all manner of gender representation, all of whom seemed to feel comfortable in their own skin. From Chris’ perspective: “I don’t know if this comfort in one’s own skin is special in the greater scheme of things, or just a special first experience for me, but not only by removing the male gaze and not having our bodies hypersexualized, I felt comfortable in a way I never have. Just the women letting it all hang out. It’s the first time I’ve sat (in the dirt) and not even thought about sucking my stomach in. I saw such a diversity in body types and a celebration of the beauty of our differences that I’ve never known before firsthand.”

The only men on the campground were the guys inside the Pie for the People foodtruck, a Joshua Tree pizzeria. When the breakfast food truck didn’t show up on Sunday morning, these guys made breakfast pizzas. They were friendly and chatty, yet respectful of the space HER/LA was creating. A caption on Mothership’s Instagram account sums it up well: “A love note for Pie for the People: We feel like you’ve become a part of our festival, we love you, we appreciate you, you’re delicious!”

On Saturday night, Chris and I drank cocktails mixed by Chelsea Vonchaz and Cherryl Warner, the founders of #HappyPeriod, a nonprofit providing menstrual hygiene kits to homeless people, which received, as a donation, a portion of the weekend’s proceeds. We danced to DJ Good Boy, LEX, and CLAY. We made new friends. We went to the creativity tent and put “CUNT” stickers on our faces and took pictures. We celebrated. We connected. And we got female-symbol tattoos by Hannah Uribe. It was a warm desert night so a bunch of us in the tattooing tent, including Uribe, took off our shirts, put stickers on our nipples, and got tattooed like goddamn fucking women.

And then, Tuesday happened.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under We Were There

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup

Activism & Herstory

“We really felt like there needed to be a space that people could relate to that didn’t blame black people for conditions we didn’t create,” explains Garza in “Meet the Woman Behind #BlackLivesMatter”

Yes! Magazine

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundupMusic “When I didn’t appear in public, I wasn’t a recluse. I was just living my life.” Marine Girls’ and Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn tells The Guardian.

Pixable via Gif allows us to see how many men and how few women will be playing at a music festival near you this Summer. Disappointing to say the least. 

Yoko Ono’s “Woman Power” is #18 on Billboard’s dance charts! Listen to it now.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

WEIRD SISTER at AWP!

Come hang out with WEIRD SISTER at #AWP15, next week in Minneapolis!

We’ll be at the Monk Books table (#1429) at the Book Fair on Friday and Saturday. We’re also part of two extremely rad off-site events:

ON THURSDAY 4/9: Weird Atlas/Gazing Switchback

11082203_10100219371180654_6633953096495623642_o

 

& ON FRIDAY, 4/10: GIRL FRIDAY: An AWP Offsite Event Hosted by Our Flow Is Hard, WEIRD SISTER, & Dancing Girl

GirlFridayFlier
Come say hi! <3

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Everything Else

**THE FEMINIST SELFIE** on 12/18!

FeministSelfieFrida

 

Join us later this month for a series of live and virtual readings, performances and talks exploring selfies and feminism!

Featuring:

Veronica Arreola
Marisa Crawford
Kate Durbin
Morgan Parker
Jennifer L. Pozner

“The selfie suggests something in picture form—I think I look [beautiful] [happy] [funny] [sexy]. Do you?—that a girl could never get away with saying. It puts the gaze of the camera squarely in a girl’s hands, and along with it, the power to influence the photo’s interpretation.” – Rachel Simmons, Slate

***
Veronica I. Arreola is a professional feminist, writer, and mom. She took her degree in biological sciences with a minor in women’s studies and turned it into a career working on diversity issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Veronica is the assistant director of the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender and directs their Women in Science and Engineering program. Her blog, Viva la Feminista, has been named a top political blog by Blogher, Women’s Media Center and LATISM. Veronica’s work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized by her coworkers with a UIC Woman of the Year award, the community with a Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award and the White House with an organizational Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Her current project, #365FeministSelfie, aims to have people take a close look at themselves every day and see the beauty everyone else sees.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Events, Everything Else