We’re having a party to celebrate the launch of our third issue, featuring dazzling audio-visual installation, film, drag performance and explicit conversation.
Here's a sneak peek of the films that will be showing on the night from incredible filmmakers Yumna Al-Arashi, Anna Ginsburg, Natasha Austin-Green, Bronwen Parker-Rhodes and Diana Chire. Come join us for a night of sexy, seedy vibes, booze, and a butcher-shop look as we transform Hackney Showroom’s warehouse space into a meaty, delicious underworld. Last year was a sell-out event - get your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
What would happen if we taught girls to take up space inside and outside of the dance class?Read More
We make and unmake ourselves in the image of what our culture finds beautiful. Shape-shifting through time and across continents, who sets the standard tells us something unnerving about who holds power.
With the Beauty Issue of Ladybeard, we want to disrupt the ideal. Ahead of the launch on 28 April, here are four of the ten experiences featured in the magazine that trouble what we mean when we say something is ‘beautiful’. Taking us through birth, (near) death, the Playboy mansion and a makeup aisle in Nevada, these are stories that give us new eyes.
‘If we could admit that we are all pretty gross, then maybe the idea of what makes you a girl could change a little’
A Girl’s Guide to Personal Hygiene is the most delicious assortment of girls’ most disgusting habits and happenings, and the brainchild of Bristol-based illustrator Tallulah Pomeroy. After overhearing a story about a drunken girl who did a shit in a sink, Tallulah was inspired to create a Facebook group where friends could share their own indelicate experiences. The group grew, fast, becoming an ‘unwieldy’ thing that blossomed into a book, with over 40 stories, all illustrated by Tallulah. Divided into key groups – ‘Hair’, ‘Picking & Squeezing’, ‘Periods’, ‘Nooks & Crannies’, ‘Toilet Training’, ‘Tasty Snacks’, and ‘Love’ – it is glorious celebration of women in all their grossness. From flossing with your own hair, to leaving a tampon in a teapot, to that unique combination of discharge and poo you get smeared together in one swift wipe, this book leaves no nook or cranny of the female experience unexplored. It is a joyful, funny, liberating little thing. Here we share two of our favourite stories, and interview Tallulah about the process of bringing the book together.
A week long series of events celebrating women causing trouble.Read More
It's important to remember to take some time out for yourself...Read More
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ladybeard shares ‘Reclaim’, a project documenting a radical new movement amongst breast cancer survivors
‘Reclaim’ is a photo project by Gem Fletcher and Kate Peters of women who have reframed their journey with breast cancer. Some of these women have decided to undergo reconstruction, others have not; however, all have chosen to adorn their chests with intricate and detailed tattoos. The movement has been termed ‘P.ink’ (Personal Ink) and aims to offer women a way of reclaiming their bodies and turning their trauma into a symbol of strength. Gem and Kate searched the country for women who would be willing to discuss their decision and have their tattoos photographed. Here, we share an extract of their final piece and a selection of the photographs. The full story will be printed in Ladybeard’s ‘Beauty’ issue, published in Winter 2017.
Sarah Roberts spoke to Pavan Amara, who runs the My Body Back Project, about submissive fantasies after rape and why so many women blame themselves for having them
After sexual assault, it is very common for women to fantasise about ‘rape’ or submission. These fantasies are so veiled by guilt that nobody talks about them, which means that official statistics on the proportion of survivors experiencing them are non-existent. Anecdotally though, numbers are high. Often, women report fantasising about the man who assaulted them; in some cases, they are only able to reach orgasm by imagining the attack itself. Psychologists have shown that these kinds of fantasies are actually healthy steps towards recovering from abuse and reclaiming sexual pleasure – but because of the silence around the issue, they become a source of immense shame.
Pavan Amara runs My Body Back Project, which provides specialist healthcare services for survivors of sexual violence – as well as the project’s quarterly Café V sessions, which provide a safe space to talk about sex and masturbation after sexual assault – and all of the confusions, difficulties, and breakthroughs that come with it. Those attending are able to share their own experiences, and receive guidance on feeling physically and sexually autonomous after assault. Pavan started the project following her own experiences of sexual assault, and was struck by how often submissive fantasies came up in these Café V sessions, and the stigma, pain and confusion surrounding them. The first step towards dispelling that stigma, and reconceptualising these fantasies for what they are – natural and healing movements towards mental and sexual autonomy – is breaking the silence. Pavan suggested we have an open conversation about submissive fantasies after rape, considering so many women blame themselves for having them. What follows is extracted from that conversation.
Thirteen days on from the fire at Grenfell Tower the government and the media are still downplaying the tragedy and drip-feeding us numbers of the dead. We want to talk about the people who lost their lives in this horrific, preventable fire and pay tribute to them in any way we can. Here one woman, Caroline, shares her memories of a family who died at Grenfell.
Bex Shorunke interviewed Bronx-born artist Emma Kohlmann to understand why she is creating art with a socio-political resonance
Kohlmann is working to make the primordial form artistically relevant. Abstract in appearance yet visceral in content, her ink drawings zero in on the nuances and complexities that make us human. The traditional genre of the nude is given an overhaul and feminism, role reversal and sex take precedence. The result is a body of work that challenges traditional notions of gender and sexuality.
Kohlmann’s work has seen her collaborate with punk bands Hoax and Natural Law; and in summer 2016, she had a solo show, Studies Into Obscurity, of 130 watercolours at Copenhagen’s V1 gallery. Additionally, she's produced illustrations, zines and everything in between, often collaborating with friend, fellow artist and punk scene advocate, Sonya Sombreuil Cohen who makes beautiful customized denim work. This May, Kohlmann’s work was exhibited at Athens’ Athina fair, and she is currently developing a published series of watercolours.
To Mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we're sharing a piece about Yarl's Wood and the devastating impact detention has on the mental health of detainees. Originally published in our Mind Issue last year, this piece remains deeply urgent, as Yarl's Wood still stands and Britain creeps further toward punitive immigration policy.
International Women’s Day, 2016. As the government unveiled its ‘Strategy to end violence against women and girls: 2016-2020’, around one hundred women stood outside the Home Office in protest at the government’s treatment of refugee women in immigration detention. In between speeches by activists, former detainees, and a handful of politicians, the crowd rallied together chanting, “Theresa May, you are a woman too” and “Set Her Free”. The Set Her Free campaign, launched by Women for Refugee Women in 2013, has since become a rallying call for all those demanding an end to the policy of detaining asylum seekers.
Instead of standing together, we reduce Muslim women to symbols in our society: of otherness and danger and hate. Today we’re sharing a testimony from Anna, who chooses to wear the niqab, about how it feels to bear that burden of representation.
In the wake of the Westminster terror attack, on March 22nd, an image of a woman wearing a hijab became an Islamophobic meme. Circulated thousands of times as supposed evidence of her lack of concern, the picture shows the woman – who has chosen to remain anonymous – looking at her phone next to a group gathered round the injured. She’s spoken out about her devastation after witnessing the attack, and the shock of finding her “picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia”. Unfortunately this targeting of Muslims – and particularly Muslim women in traditional Islamic dress – has become an inevitable aftermath of terrorist incidents around the world. After the 2015 Paris attacks, there was a 300 per cent rise in the number of crimes perpetrated against Muslims in the UK, and a similar surge in violence is predicted to follow the Westminster attack. Read the interview with Anna about her experience of wearing the niqab on the following page.
To mark International Women's Day, we're sharing an interview with Jean Kilbourne about how adverts shape the way we see ourselves, and our power to resist them
Jean Kilbourne was the first person to study the portrayal of women in advertising. She started collecting ads in the late 1960s, tearing them out of magazines and sticking them around her house. Struck by how they repeatedly objectified and dismembered the female body, she became convinced that there was a relationship between advertising and endemic health and social problems, such as domestic violence, eating disorders, and addiction. She put together a slideshow of images and began to tour the United States with her theory. We see over 3,000 adverts every day and yet only around 8 per cent of an ad’s message is received by the conscious mind: Kilbourne’s presentations aim to make these “unconscious messages conscious”. By showing her audiences one advertisement after another, she systematically peels away the gloss and glamour to reveal the harmful messages beneath. The lectures became the basis for her award-winning film Killing Us Softly (1979), which has since been updated three times, charting the representation of women in advertising across four decades. According to Kilbourne, the ads and their consequences are only getting worse: as the female body is reduced from thin, to nothing, ‘0’, to double nothing, ‘00’, rates of mental ill health and gender-based violence are rising. In her critically acclaimed book, Can’t Buy My Love (2000), she analyses the way in which advertising creates and feeds an addictive mentality; in So Sexy So Soon (2009), co-authored with Diane E. Levin, she exposes the disturbing implications of the industry’s sexualisation of young girls. This, she appears alongside Susie Orbach and others in The Illusionists, which examines the terrifying, global spread of these Western feminine ideals and the white-washed, homogenised world they leave in their wake.
Ladybeard is going back to glossy basics with a Beauty Issue. Moving away from the pure, pale and palatable, this issue will embrace diversity and contradiction. We’re looking for writing and art that explores beauty as threat, power, subjection and inspiration – that celebrates the ‘superficial’ and re-imagines the sublime. We make and unmake ourselves in the image of what our culture finds beautiful - send us work that gives us new eyes.
Please send short pitches, along with a sample of your work, by 31 March.
With only a week left till our launch party, here's a sneak peek of the films that will be showing on the night from incredible filmmakers Anna Ginsburg, Kaj Jefferies, Naomi Berrio-Allen, Tyro Heath, Bafic, Ellen Pearson and Stroma Cairns. Tickets are going fast, so if you haven't already get yours here and come join us for a night of even more films, panellists, DJs, jelly-brains and lots and lots of magazines!
Dr Meg John Barker is an activist, psychotherapist and senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University. Internationally recognized as an expert on sex and gender, as well as mental health, Meg John personally identifies as non-binary, and much of their work focuses on the necessity of rethinking traditional classifications for identity. Ahead of their appearance as a panellist at the Ladybeard Launch Party, Meg John explores the mad/sane binary, and how we can move beyond it. If you haven't got your tickets for launch yet, get them here.