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[the feminist reader] Ladyfest Providence, Seattle’s Girl Army, P4k People's List, Pussy Riot, + more

You’re reading the first installment of On the Download’s Feminist Reader, a bi-weekly post of local events, national news, recommended reading, media criticism and more from the always-intersecting worlds of music and feminism.

[events] Ladyfest Providence set for September 21-23
The first-ever Ladyfest Providence is set for September 21-23 at Machines with Machines with bands, performances, workshops, skillshares, and local vendors, all to raise money for Girls Rock! Rhode Island. Workshops will cover gender and bicycling, blogging and getting published (disclaimer I’m leading that one!!) plus farming, comics, and more. Confirmed bands include Whore Paint, Downtown Boys, and Potty Mouth, with many more to be announced. Potty Mouth are also featured in this week's Phoenix.

Follow Ladyfest Providence on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook

[news] Seattle Girl Army vs. Terrible Concert Poster Company
In Seattle, a feminist group called “Girl Army” are trying to spread messages about sexism and self-empowerment around town with guerilla art in public spaces. But a local postering-company (who hang massive ads for concerts, cars, video games, and other things without permission) keeps covering them up. According to The Stranger, it's a total showdown: Poster Giant vs. Girl Army. Check out this depressing video of Poster Giant in action, wherein some dude pastes up big posters over a beautiful wall full of Girl Army's tags and drawings.



(Photos via The Stranger.)



[media] Weighing in on Pitchfork’s People’s List; voters included 18% women
Last week, Pitchfork was running a feature asking readers to submit lists of their favorite 100 albums from the past 16 years, to be shared online and compiled into “The People’s List”. I stayed in last Friday night to finish mine by the midnight deadline and then spent the rest of the night reading other peoples’ lists and talking about them and stuff. It was fun. I like making lists.

Apparently not a lot of other women were as interested though. Of the 27,981 P4k followers who completed the survey, just 12% identified as women.(In an interesting Tumblr post, P4k editor Lindsay Zoladz interviewed some women about why they didn't participate.)



The results of P4k's People's List.

This week, through the many lengthy conversations about the People’s List that have been happening on feminist list-serves, I found this blog post by Bitch, “Pitchfork Publishes ‘People's List,’ Confirms that ‘People’ are White Dudes”, by Web Editor Kelsey Wallace, which made some statements that were spot-on and some that were not.

“This isn't to say that Pitchfork's readers are all douchebags, or that they have bad taste in music, or that they're actively misogynistic or something. I happen to like most of the top 20 picks on that list, and chances are a lot of you do too. What this list does do, though, is underscore how heavily male the music industry still skews, especially when it comes to higher-minded "indie" fare.”

Totally. I mostly just took issue with the blog post calling Pitchfork a place that is not open to women or feminists. I left this comment:

"You make plenty of good points. But regarding your comment that "Pitchfork in general is dominated by men..." it is worth pointing out the clear strides that the website has made in the recent year or so to get more women -- specifically, more feminists -- writing: Lindsay Zoladz, Jenn Pelly*, Carrie Battan, Laura Snapes ... In the past week alone, they've had excellent coverage of Pussy Riot, a badass interview with Kathleen Hanna, an interview with the singer of White Lung+ about feminism. There are many great female writers contributing to Pitchfork on a regular basis, writing some of the best articles on the site recently, from a distinctly feminist perspective. In any article published by Bitch criticizing Pitchfork in 2012, it would seem obvious and necessary to at least acknowledge that."

* OK maybe I am a little bit biased.
+ Seriously read this

[media] The most depressing articles I read about Pussy Riot this week

Every article about Pussy Riot is depressing to an extent, as they all involve three innocent women in prison. But this week I read two that were particularly bad. An August 20 piece in the Atlantic on "The Kony-ification of Pussy Riot" looks at how Western interest in their story might be a misguided celebration of feminist art and punk rock instead of focusing on the political realities of their goals and why they are in prison. Joshua Foust writes: “Rather than the Pussy Riot trial catalyzing a broader Western awareness of Russian authoritarian backsliding or even a popular movement to pressure Moscow to loosen its restrictions, it seems to have inspired little more in the West than outrage about how sad it is for some punk rockers to go to jail for a silly little church concert.” Foust brushes off the band's feminism and punk music as a “spectacle” instead of explaining it as a powerful tie that has created connections between three women in Russian and Western feminists/punks/musicians who can relate to them. Plus, let's be real, there has not been another cultural moment in recent history where so many folks (especially those who don’t typically follow Russian politics) have been taking notice of the terrible nature of Russian authoritarianism.

That wasn't the worst though. The most terrible Pussy Riot article I read all week was definitely this one published in Bloomberg Businessweek though: "What Would a Music Label Pay to Sign Pussy Riot?"

[reading] Practical advice for musicians: dealing with sexist fans
In a recent installment of her weekly advice column to musicians for the Village Voice, Jessica Hopper offers some tips on dealing with sexist fans. If a fan only comments on the female musician's apperance instead of musical abilities, how does said female musician respond? "Any gal has the right and permission to react however you want," writes Hopper, "including telling the dude to fuck right off if you are so inclined. Other tactics might be more effective in potentially flipping their mind-script 'What, you don't think [insert male band member] is hot, too?'" Read the rest @ the Voice's Sound of the City blog.

[reading] There’s a new issue of Girls Get Busy Zine
Are y'all familiar with Girls Get Busy Zine yet? It is a rad London-based zine supporting female writers, musicians, and artists. Here's the cover of their new issue, #13:

Buy a copy here or at the very least follow their badass Tumblr.

OK that’s it. See you in two weeks. Comments/tips/suggestions lpelly @ phx.com.

//
On the Download // @BostonMusicBlog // ThePhoenix.com/Music //

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