Tag Archives: feminism

Pandora Press #6 out now!

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

Pandora Press zine body feminist zine

This issue is themed ‘body’, and features diverse writings by Swansea women on topics including sexuality, body hair, street harassment, and gender roles.

Copies of all our zines can be purchased at any SFN event, or via paypal – contact the editor Cath at pandorapresszine @ gmail.com for more info.

There’s nothing sexual about rape.

image by thetomi.deviantart.com

(trigger warning)

I was a feminist before I was a rape victim. I knew all the theories, I knew all the buzz words, and I knew that rape isn’t about sex. I’ve always known that the rapist is to blame, he holds the responsibility for his actions – and I say ‘he’ because, overwhelmingly, women are the victims of rape by men. I think that’s why it was so difficult to reconcile what I knew with what I felt. I felt shame, I felt fear. I felt responsible, and I felt like something inside me, which I didn’t even know I had, had gone, had been taken away. I felt like some little part of what made me myself was being pounded away. At the point when I realised what was about to happen, that I was going to be raped, I also realised that despite all the things I know about rape –  about my right to control what happens to my body, about defending myself –  I was completely powerless to stop this man doing what he wanted to me. I realised that it had nothing to do with the fact that he was bigger than me or physically stronger, and had everything to do with the fact that because I’m a woman this man felt that he had the right to use me as he saw fit. At that point, I had an overwhelming sense of impotent fury and absolute fear – for me, that realisation of powerlessness is almost worse than what happened next.

The powerlessness is the thing that has stayed with me above all else. I feel so angry that my sense of being independent and strong is compromised by fear of powerlessness, and when I politely tell a man who’s harassing me to Fuck Off, I have that momentary doubt that my outspokenness might lead him to teach me a lesson. Because actually, that’s what my rape did, was teach me a lesson. It taught me that we, as feminists, were right all along. Society rewards us for being women by abusing us, it tells us that it’s ok to violate a woman’s body and that violation is tacitly endorsed by the institution that is ‘justice’ (my experience with the police is a whole other story). It tells us that a woman’s sense of self is worth nothing. It dresses up rape as being about sex when it’s not, it’s about power and it’s about authority. My rapist pretended that he wanted to have sex with me and he pretended that what he was doing was having sex with me. He definitely wasn’t. I can say that because I was the other person there. So whenever I hear or read the complete shit about women being raped because they were wearing certain clothes that emphasised their sexuality, or that actually they did want to have sex – they were just playing hard to get, or any of the other rape myths that we like to pretend are true, I think to myself, if any of you people saying those things could see the face of a rapist while he’s raping, you would know that it’s not about sex. I’ve seen that face and it’s about the buzz of being powerful, of taking what you want, when you want it whether you’ve been told you can have it or not. There’s definitely nothing sexual about rape.

This article was originally published anonymously in SFN zine Pandora Press #2.  You can buy a copy at any upcoming SFN event.

My Feminist Hero: Angela Carter

I first read an Angela Carter novel in 2010, an amazing book called ‘The Passion of New Eve’: it was a set text on one of my elective modules.

I read Carter and I fell for her. Her words stream like a song, I swear, and I didn’t let go of the book for two days. ‘The Passion of New Eve’ details the life of a misogynist man living in dystopian New York, who ends up being kidnapped and is given a sex change by a tribe of militant and malicious women. It’s fascinating to read a novel of this genre – magical realism, through the lens of a post-operation trans woman who never wanted it in the first place. It’s gross, it’s good, it’s genius.

Angela Carter writes of boisterous, fiery women, more akin to mythical sirens than modern day post-feminist figures. She has no sympathy for timid or unassuming women – Angela Carter writes bitches, and I love that. Before her death in 1992, she was a feminist-literature icon. I am now the proud owner of all but 3 of her books, and cannot help myself when I see one of her books on ebay, even if it’s just a different cover. Her books are long-train ride gems – the kind of books you read with a broken-heart, when you’re feeling inspired – when you’re truly enjoying a night in. They’re beautiful and they’re grotesque – they’re sublime. The one thing about Carter is that she was fiercely unique: she was incredibly well-read and yet grounded. She wrote to ignite the minds of bookish types. Thanks Angela Carter, for knocking my favourite books down a place each on my top ten, and for making me read everything differently.

This is a guest post by SFN founding member Eleri, originally published in the SFN zine Pandora Press #1: Our Feminist Heroes. 

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!