Act 47

May 5, 2011

The 545 Test

In the spirit of the Bechdel test (, the 545 test asks: given the ratio of male to female incidental characters (background characters) described within a given text, could the population of a world sustain itself?

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Act 46

July 9, 2009

Vertical Horizons–women centred/feminist fanzine

I haven’t spoken much as yet about my involvement in SF fandom, but I am feeling pretty excited about women in SF at the moment, so you can probably expect to hear a good deal more about it in the future.

There is a great buzz in Australian feminist SF right now, gynacon is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Norma K. Hemming award is in development and due to be launched at Worldcon in Melbourne 2010, and the team of Swancon 36 (the 50th Australian natcon) have pledged to make feminist and women’s issues in SF an important part of their event.

I recently attended swancon 34, and was on a panel about the Norma K. Hemming Award (for which I am designing the award statue/trophy). While there I learned about Norma Hemming’s life and her involvment in the Vertical Horizons femme fan group and fanzine that ran for a few years in the 1950s. I was so absolutely inspired by this story that I decided there and then to start up a new femme fanzine, and to name it Vertical Horizons as a tribute to those original outspoken female fans. To learn more about the group and the original publication have a read of David Medlen’s fantastic essay The Women Who Were Not to be Ignored which he has kindly allowed me to publish over on the new Vertical Horizons blog.

And with that I declare the new Vertical Horizons open for submisions of femisnist/woman centred fiction, non fiction, reviews, comics, art, and any other good ideas you have that you might think fit the ethos of the zine.

Act 45

June 25, 2009

Women in SF online reading group

Today I opened the first discussion for the WiSF online reading group. Using a Dreamwidth journal as the communication medium, the group is set to read one nominated feminist/female authored SF text per month and then discuss the text on Dreamwidth in the last week of each month.

The idea of the reading group actually came about via the feminist cookies I made a few months ago. I was following up on some of the posts linking to the cookies post and I found this friday feminist five list at Confabulous, which, in addition to the cookies, included a link to the teaching work of Dr Sharon Collingwood. Dr Collingwood is teaching a Women, Society and Culture university course held entirely in Second Life. She is also teaching a course at Ohio State University on Women in Science Fiction.

This is a course I would love to attend, however, living in Australia and with little chance of me being in Ohio anytime soon I thought I would do the next best thing and start an online reading group based on the required text list.

We started this month with Joanna Russ’ The Female Man–which I found difficult yet facinating reading. The reading group is open to all, so feel free to come on over and discuss The Female Man, or join us next month for Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time.

Act 44

June 4, 2009

Feminist Cookies–the second batch

cookie group--batch 2

This time with colour and sprinkles! I made a second batch of feminist cookies, all created with sayings left in the comments either here on this journal, or on other pages that linked to the first batch of cookies–thanks everyone for your suggestions!

I noticed in comments on a few of the blogs that linked to the original post that several people were talking about making some of these for the Tiptree bake sale at Wiscon. I, myself am in Australia and have not yet made it to Wiscon (though it is certainly on my list of things I aspire to) so didn’t make them any cookies myself, but I really hope others made some of these cookies and took them along. I would absolutely love to see photos if any such cookies eventuated :)

Now, a bit of a disclaimer and an explanation of the ‘likes Buffy’ cookie, before I get in trouble. I, personally really like Buffy. I have watched the series several times and would even go so far as to call myself a Buffy fan. You can absolutely be a feminist/ally and like Buffy. However, the simple fact of liking Buffy does not in and of itself make you a feminist. You do not get merit points for watching the show. There is even reason to look at many aspects of the Buffyverse with a critical feminist eye– see Jenifer Kesler’s post on Joss Whedon and Feminist Cookies for more about that.

Anyway, as requested the second batch of cookies has more contrast for readability, which is good because the writing is slightly sploggier this time :) I have added six cookies, I was planning on more, but the gluten free flour that I used has sticking problems so I lost several cookies due to breakage. The new cookies read:

  • Works with women
  • Is pro-choice
  • Likes Buffy
  • My mom works!
  • Likes women natural
  • Likes kick-ass chicks

All can be seen in the cookie set on my flickr page, here, Enjoy!

Act 42

May 20, 2009

feminist t-shirts–get certified!

I am so pleased at the response to the feminist cookies, I really think it is a topic that is widely misunderstood so it is great to see discussions going on about it in other blogs around the place. Plus, they were lots of fun :) I have a second batch of cookies in the oven, but in the mean time I have set up a redbubble gallery to make t-shirts out of some of my favourite 52 Acts artwork. I have even made a new cookie inspired design just for the site.

minimum standard certification

Any proceeds from t-shirt sales will be donated to Amnesty International’s stop violence against women campaign.

The ‘meets minimum standards certification’ image is also available on my flickr page under a CC non-commercial share-alike licence (click on image to go there), should you have another creative use for it (icons anyone? bumper stickers?).

More Cookies!

April 30, 2009

It is a long weekend where I live, and making the cookies was lots of fun, so I have decided to attempt a second batch.

The question then is: what would you like to see written on a feminist cookie? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do :)

Act 41

April 29, 2009

Feminist Cookies

cookie--meets minimum standards

We talk about cookies a lot in the femoblogosphere, but it seems to me that this is a subject that is greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. The most common thing I hear with regards to cookie misunderstanding is “but why *shouldn’t* people be rewarded for good behaviour?”

So today I am going to address this.

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Act 40

March 18, 2009

Feminism and the fluid body–a feminist friendly dress tutorial

In January 2008 I created an instructables tutorial for a skirt that respected the changeability of women’s bodies. Now that a year has passed and my waist is once again in rappid expansion mode I thought it might be timely to expand my feminine/feminist friendly wardrobe with a new dress design.

goddess wrap dress

This is a simple wrap and tie dress made from two rectangles of fabric. It is compatible with, and flattering to, most body shapes including pregnant bodies. I have shared full instructions for the dress over on the instructables website.

Act 39

February 18, 2009

So you want to be a cyberfeminist—re-writing Bukowski

Hello and welcome back to 52 Acts. I have had a lovely Internet-free (after working through withdrawals) holiday and thought a bit of re-worked poetry might be a nice gentle way to kick things off for the year.

Recently I was sent a copy of Charles Bukowski’s poem So You Want to be a Writer via an email list I am part of. Now, the only thing I know about Bukowski is what I learned from a Modest Mouse song, the key lyric being “yeah I know he’s a pretty good read, but God who’d want to be, God who’d want to be such an asshole

Well I read it over a few times and couldn’t quite work out if it was meant to be taken at face value or rather if it was a tongue in cheek exploration of the way that people see artists as conduits for divine inspiration. The above lyric makes me think probably the former, so I decided to re-work it to my way of thinking.

So you want to be a writer

if you wait until it comes bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
you won’t do it.

if you only want it to come unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

if you think sitting for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your typewriter
searching for words makes you a failure,
don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or fame,
you may well be disappointed,
but don’t let that stop you,
you might find something even more valuable on the way.

if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
again this may not work,
but you might meet some interesting people on your journey
and heh, some may just end up in your bed.

if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
please, please do,
editing is as important as getting the words out in the first place.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
start it now.

if you’re trying to write like somebody
don’t worry,
you are just like the rest of us,
we all have idols
but you will find your own style soon enough.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
you may be waiting a very long time.
better to give it a kick start by going through the motions anyway,
it will roar out eventually
but you need to help it.

if it never does roar out of you,
do something else,
like go for a walk and then come back and do a
creative writing exercise and see if that helps.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
make sure they are people who are likely to be encouraging and give
you good editing advice.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who write but are afraid to call themselves writers,
or worse, are afraid to write at all.

don’t be dull and boring and
just be yourself.

the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep over your kind,
waiting for your book because you waited for inspiration.
don’t add to that.
write it now.

sometimes it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
but being still won’t
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
sometimes you need to be still to allow the ideas to come.

you need to fuel the fire so the sun inside you
burns your gut,
it doesn’t happen on its own.

it is truly time,
and you have been chosen,
but it will not do it by
you need to will keep on fueling it
until you die.

there is no other way.
and there never was.


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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2009

Well it is officially 52 weeks since the launch of the 52 Acts site. It turns out that an art work per week is actually quite a lot to maintain on a regular ongoing basis, and I have ended up a few acts short. Still I feel pretty proud that I have managed to maintain a cyberfeminist focus for the full year and averaged about 3 works per month.

I am moving house  this week and my contracted telco has informed me that they can re-conect me to the internet and phone line no sooner than a month from now, so I will be taking a month long enforced, but deserved, holiday from 52 Acts.

See you all in February with some more cyberfeminist art.