Pandora Press #5 out now!

The fifth issue of our zine, Pandora Press, is out now!

front cover issue 5

This issue is themed ‘media’, and features diverse writings by Swansea women on topics including body hair, page 3, relationships, chick flicks, and activism.

Copies of all our zines can be purchased at any SFN event.

You can buy a copy online at Marching Stars Zine Distro, or via paypal – contact the editor Cath at pandorapresszine @ gmail.com for more info.

We are now looking for submissions for our 6th issue, the BODY issue!  Details can be found at our Pandora Press page.

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A Timeless Pursuit? Feminism and ‘traditional’ Crafts

‘How can you enjoy baking and knitting so much if you’re a feminist?’ this, sadly, is something I hear far too often. And for me, the answer is very simple; it has everything and sometimes, nothing to do with feminism. I just really enjoy it.

It would be foolish to negate the latent symbolism behind such
activities: the 1950’s housewife diligently baking and knitting
clothes for the kids whilst her husband, the breadwinner and man of the house, is out earning money…but times have changed.

I would be reticent to claim that feminism has ‘reclaimed’ knitting
and baking from such eras in time when women were expected to do little else. However, whether women actually want to do these things or not is the key to the whole debate. It is about choice. That’s the key issue at the heart of the feminist movement in my opinion. Like to knit? Carry on knitting! Like to bake cakes? Keep on baking, girl! You’re not hurting anyone and you’re developing transferable skills in the process (and in this current economic climate, a diverse range of transferable skills is a must-have).

Women should not be made to feel guilty about enjoying ‘traditional’ crafts such as sewing, embroidery, knitting and baking. Like most social pastimes, these crafts have changed beyond their initial remit. Knitting isn’t about making booties for the kids anymore (though, if you wanted to do that, I’d say good for you; it’s cheaper to knit them for a start…), it’s about creative expression and exploring the boundaries of a craft that had been used to keep women in their place; in the home. And that, my friends, is what women have been denied for so long; a chance to express themselves.

Women are constant innovators in this respect. After WW2 due the lack of wool, women used to unpick garments they’d already made and redesign them to follow whatever style was en vogue. Women were called upon throughout the war to capitalise upon their knowledge of basic crafts to provide garments for soldiers fighting on the front, such as balaclavas, gloves, socks, etc.

Crafts such as knitting and embroidery offer so much in the way of
variety in these modern times. You don’t need any real technical
knowledge of either of these activities to sit down and have a go. The internet has revolutionised crafting in this respect; I learnt to knit from videos posted on YouTube. Yet I believe knitting is as relevant as it ever was; it has merely become more accessible to the masses. Apparently, knitting clubs in schools have really taken off, according to The Guardian. Good, I say! I want to hear those needles clacking together!

Knitting, like feminism, is about making a statement about the things you believe in. Or not as the case may be; it really is such a lovely way to pass the time. Yarn-bombing, guerrilla knitting, creating pieces of subversive art, knitting nonsensical things to decorate your home with or knitting a pair of socks for your mum; it certainly isn’t limiting and it certainly isn’t boring. Just like feminism, I would venture to say. You make it your own and in my opinion, it is a timeless pursuit that is constantly changing.

Some interesting websites:
http://www.sublimestitching.com
http://nannadknits.blogspot.com/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/therebelknittersguide/therebelknittersguide
http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory.php

Written by Kat Williams. Kat is a knitter, feminist, bookworm, lover of tea and horror novels. Co-founder of SFN, she can also be found blogging here: http://booksandting.wordpress.com/.

Review: International Women’s Day 2013

Thursday 7th March saw SFN hold our second International Women’s Day event, co-hosted by the Swansea Women’s Centre and Swansea University Students’ Union.

Local women’s organisations had information available on stalls at the event, including City of SanctuarySwansea Women’s Centre, Abortion Rights UK, and Healing the Wounds.

City of Sanctuary stall

SWC stall

The stalls fully set up at the beginning of the day, ready to begin!

Labour councillor Erika Kirchner came down to open the event, with a speech on empowering young women and girls.  After a relaxed morning chatting with the guests over refreshments, we had some acoustic music sets during lunch, and then an afternoon of workshops.  Highlights included the workshop on girl zines and feminism, where we all made our own feminist minizines, and a knitting workshop, which was open to women of all ability levels.

guests knitting together at a table

Although a little quieter than we had hoped, all guests had a lovely time, and we got some great feedback on our event!  We hope that future IWD events will be even bigger and better.

That evening we held a screening of ‘Grrrl Love Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC‘, a short documentary on the riot grrrl movement in New York City in the early 1990s.  We had an excellent turnout for the film screening, and had some lively discussion afterwards on the themes raised in the film.

Finally, on Saturday we marched through London on the Million Women Rise protest march.  It was an exciting and lively event, with lots of singing, cheering, and chanting!  Check out the photos we took on our Facebook page.  Here’s one of our banner:

photo by Nat Wlock

by Cath Elms, SFN Media Officer

News Update: Feb/March ’13

greatness

Hello comrades!

SFN have lots of exciting new events up on our ‘events’ page – take a look and come along to whatever you fancy!  Newcomers are always welcome.  Just wanted to draw your attention to the next month’s offerings:

1)      For those of you with great ideas but busy lives, the Pandora Press deadline has been extended to 28th February!  The theme is ‘media’; more info and writing prompts can be found at the Pandora Press page.  We will be printing this issue in time for International Women’s Day on Thursday March 7th (more details on our IWD event to be emailed out soon).

2)      BBC3 are filming a live discussion show called ‘Free Speech’ at Brangwyn Hall on Wednesday 13th February (this Wednesday!).  This episode will focus on casual sexism, unemployment, and online safety.  Let us know by tomorrow morning if you would like to come to the live show to sit in the audience with SFN.  It’s free to attend – arrival time 6pm, and then filming will happen between 8 and 9pm.  The more people who want to join us, the better – it would be great to have a strong feminist presence in the audience!

3)      We hold regular Feminist Fridays on the last Friday of every month (3.30pm, Costa Coffee at Swansea bus station).  This month’s Feminist Friday takes place on 22 February – come along for some fun feminist mayhem!  Materials will be provided, although you are of course welcome to bring any of your own!

4)      Sexual health charity Brook are putting on a free pro-choice training day on Saturday 2nd March in Bristol University.  SFN members will be travelling up on the train – email us if you’d like to join us on the train, or at the event. Email organiser Laura Hurley @ laura.hurleyATbrook.co.uk to register your place on the training day – be sure to register before 22 February!

5)      Reminder that seats for the coach trip to Million Women Rise in London are selling fast!  The march takes place on Saturday 9 March at 12pm onwards in Oxford Street, London. Contact millionwomenrisecymru2010AThotmail.co.uk if you are interested in paying for a seat on the coach.  More info about Million Women Rise can be found here.

6)      We have moved our monthly members meetings to the first Thursday of every month at 7.30pm!  We will not be able to hold one for the month of March due to International Women’s Day, so the next members meeting will be Thursday 4th April at 7.30pm in the Swansea Women’s Centre.  Each meeting will have a discussion topic which will be emailed out beforehand – more info about April’s discussion will be emailed out closer to the date.

In sisterhood,

Cath (SFN media officer)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Pandora Press #5, the Media Issue!

media advert

We’re now accepting submissions for the spring 2013 issue of Pandora Press,  the Swansea Feminist Network zine. The theme of this issue is MEDIA. We’re mainly interested articles and opinion pieces, but are also interested in the following (many of these, such as the reviews, will not need to fit into the theme):

Poetry
Short Fiction
Cartoons
Artwork/illustrations
Reviews:
– Films
– Music
– Blogs
– Zines
Interviews
Swansea Women’s News/Events

The theme MEDIA is a vague one, open to broad interpretation, but with some sort of focus on gender/sexuality/feminism. Here are some ideas where you could go with this:

– Advertising
– Print media: magazines, glossies, newspapers
– Online media: websites, blogs, social networking, memes, “trolling”
– Music
– Film
– Theatre
– Independent publishing (i.e. zines/pamphlets)
– Books
– Art/photography/fine art
– Television: soaps, documentaries, current affairs, reality TV, etc

Don’t feel limited by these ideas though; even if you want to write/design something that you feel doesn’t quite fit into this theme, submit it anyway and it will probably be featured (if not in this issue then certainly in a subsequent issue)!

Contributors must be from South Wales, preferably the Swansea area, and must self-identify as women. Just email your ideas, questions, or submissions to the editor Cath at PANDORAPRESSZINEatGMAIL.COM.

***Deadline: 31 January 2013***

NB: we are unable to pay writers for their contributions at this time, but you should consider this writing opportunity as a great chance to share your thoughts and creativity with others, and an encouraging and supportive environment in which you can develop your portfolio/CV!

SFN Celebrates International Women’s Day 2012

Thursday 8 March 2012 marked the 101st year of International Women’s Day,  a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  SFN celebrated it in style with a free day of workshops, stalls, and feminist art, co-hosted by the Swansea Women’s Centre.

An art gallery was set up in the main room, with a wide variety of feminist-themed artwork on display, including photography, collage, drawings, pottery, paintings, handmade crafts, poetry, cartoon strips, and mixed-media art.

Swansea Women’s Centre, SFN, and BAWSO had information stalls set up all day where people could come and find out more about the organisations.  SFN also had lots of goodies for sale – alongside our usual zines and pin badges, we were selling handmade cards and knitted wombs and vaginas that our committee members had made by hand!

Wombs and handmade cards for sale

The newly-released Pandora Press #3, alongside back issues of Pandora Press, committee minizines, and pin badges.

We had a number of excellent and informative workshops on throughout the day, including Human Trafficking, Lap Dancing, Domestic Violence, and The Sexualisation of Women and Girls.  A vegetarian buffet was laid on for lunch, during which time a poetry reading workshop ran.

Ali Morris hosting a workshop on the topic of Lap Dancing

The day went very well – the workshops were lively and filled with passionate discussions, and gave the attendees a chance to meet many like-minded feminists, view some inspiring artwork, and learn more about the women’s organisations working within Swansea.  We hope that International Women’s Day 2013 is even bigger and better than 2012 was!

 

Wanted: Feminist Art!

The Swansea Women’s Centre are holding a workshop day for International Women’s Day. One of the rooms at the centre will be turned into a feminist art gallery for the day, and we’re looking for all kinds of artwork to feature in our gallery! The focus is on women’s experience – artwork can include painting, collage, zine pages, poetry, crafts, sculptures, mixed-media art, drawings – anything that you have created yourself!  We can’t pay for items, but we are happy to return them to you if you provide us with a SAE. 

The deadline for submitting items is mid-February.  The gallery will be open to people of all ages, so we ask that artwork submitted is not sexually graphic/explicit.
For more details, email us at swanseafeministnetworkATgmail.com.