Fuck Flattering is a performance piece about unlearning body hate. It’s about stepping off the hamster wheel of physical perfection. It’s about exploding conventional standards of hot and desirable, and finding beauty and power and strength in the wreckage.
In its current form, it’s part furious call-to-action, part no-bullshit crash course, part personal exploration of my own relationship with my body. I’ve written about my struggles and triumphs with body image in the past – Fuck Flattering feels like the logical conclusion of a long and turbulent journey towards learning to love the body I have right now, almost 100% of the time.
But the fun thing about Scene + Heard is that it’s a festival for developing work, so there’s going to be plenty of room for evolution built into the process between now and the end of February.
Will you be performing it?
I will! With my own body and my own voice! On the condition that I don’t expire from nerves before actually making it to the stage.
Where and when can I see?
You can catch Fuck Flattering for two nights – February 28th and March 1st at 8pm in the Main Space at Smock Alley Theatre. Once again, you can book tickets here. It is paired with another show called Handling It, a dark comedy about grappling with becoming a “victim” in the wake of sexual assault. A ticket for both shows is €10.
Happy 2015, readers! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? “Why has Massive Hassle stopped updating?” you were undoubtedly asking your family over Christmas dinner, shedding distressed tears into your second helping of turkey. “I know, it’s tragic,” your grandmother almost certainly replied, “I fucking love that blog. Pass the sprouts.”
Long story short, a bunch of life happened all at once, but I’m back now and it is the dawn of a new year, which means it is time for an obligatory and indulgent personal post about my resolutions. I usually don’t make resolutions because they are boring and inevitably end up causing me more stress than I would have incurred by continuing to bumble around with no real plan. However, 2015 feels like it’s going to be a turning point in a lot of ways (see also: I have no idea where I’m going to be in a few months time) so this year I have decided to make a concession to tradition.
I have four resolutions, but in reality they are not resolutions at all. Overall, my New Year’s resolution is to be shit at things. That may sound a little counterproductive, but I’m fairly sure it’s going to be an effective strategy. Allow me to explain.
Link farm! Hello! Here are some the best things I have read on the Internet in recent weeks. But first, above, one of the best things about Beyoncé dropping a fourteen track visual concept album earlier this week (no biggie) is that this amazing TED Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is getting some much deserved extra spotlight, since Bey sampled a large section of her speech in the track “***Flawless”.
The Feminist Selfie(article) “Selfie” is the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year 2013, but is the rise of prolific self-portraiture – aided by webcams and smartphones – a feminist statement or tasteless narcissism? Can it be both? ChaosIntended makes an excellent case for the selfie as a feminist reclamation of the way women perceive and portray themselves.
What The Fluck(multimedia essay) This is a long and fascinating piece. It starts off talking about Tamara Mellon, creator of Jimmy Choo, but then expands to encompass some huge ideas… media, celebrity, public vs. private lives, corruption, politics and ultimately a call for new forms of journalism that can actually penetrate the giant financial power structures that run our world today.
My Abortion(article, content note for graphic descriptions of abortion) Brilliant journalism from Meaghan Winter at NY Magazine, reporting twenty-six abortion stories from twenty-six different women across the United States. There is no room for politics, but there is a full gamut of emotions – trauma, relief, nonchalance, fear, sadness, regret, gratitude – and some beautiful, heartbreaking moments that remind you that every single woman who has had an abortion is full and complete human being with a whole life of past choices and future prospects weighing on her decision.
I still don’t want to see Zack Snyder’s take on Wonder Woman(article) Charlie Jane Anders brilliantly articulates her (and my own) anxieties about Zack Snyder introducing Wonder Woman to the big screen and why he is not the director to catapult the world’s most iconic female superhero into the 21st century. Also, to save you reading the comments, they are full of “Wonder Woman will never work in movies because her origin is so messy and her costume is dated!” You know, as though screenwriters and directors have no creative license or agency to work around those things.
Loving your body and ending obesity (article) One of my favourite things about Emily Heist Moss is her ability and determination to find middle-ground on issues that have become so polarized that communication has all but broken down. In this article, she highlights that creating space for fat women to love themselves and promoting healthier lifestyles on a broad societal level are not opposing, or even mutually exclusive goals. And it’s not just that we can do both, it’s that we must do both if we ever want to see real change.
No Girls Allowed (visual essay) A comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing history of the rise of videogames that specifically charts the role of marketing in the evolution of the medium from family-friendly group entertainment to unrepentant boys’ club. Essential reading for anyone who still thinks companies “just make what sells!” Hint: they don’t, and marketing department don’t tailor their output to the whims of customers, but rather work hard and smart to create and control consumer demand.
Your Ability to Can Even: A Defense of Internet Linguistics (article) I love language! I love the Internet! I love The Toast! I love that online spaces are generating a whole spectrum of playful new ways to express ourselves through subversive grammar, memes, GIFs and typographic peculiarities. This article, I mean I just can’t even askkewefs abtklwvrqheqhljqv wow so linguistics
Feminists are not responsible for educating men (article) I have linked to this before across my various social meedjahs, but since I’ve had this conversations several times, drunkenly, in meatspace, in recent weeks, it bears posting again here. Go forth, well-intentioned men of the world, and read. And then restrain yourself from cornering me at the Christmas party to bombard me with enlightened questions along the lines of “Why don’t women just get over it?”*
*This is an actual thing that an adult man said to me during a “rational” discussion about feminism.
Hello! Here’s some stuff I’ve been enjoying on the Internet this week. Firstly, watch Friend Zoneby Dylan Garity. Slam poetry at its finest and a cutting summation of why the concept of the “Friend Zone” is bullshit and also vaguely misogynistic.
New videogame “The Novelist” doesn’t involve guns – Despite the somewhat redundant title of this article (a videogame without guns? Unheard of!), this game looks like exactly the kind of slow-paced story-driven offering I love. The concept is intriguing and the plot looks like the sort of thing that might make me cry.
Man creates very first Website for Women ever – AT LAST. A man who understands me and the fact my online media consumption needs are directly dictated by my vagina. Hair tips and worldwide news coverage on the SAME website? Inspired!
Hookup culture is officially not a thing – Good news! A proper study has officially proved that the young folk of today are not fornicating at a particularly alarming rate compared to previous generations! Well, good news if you’re not the sort of person who enjoys wringing their hands over the sex choices of strangers and something something moral degradation blah blah something.
I hate Strong Female Characters– “The Strong Female Character has something to prove. She’s on the defensive before she even starts. She’s George from The Famous Five all grown up and still bleating with the same desperate lack of conviction that she’s “Every Bit As Good as a Boy”.”
The Problem with Male Feminists– “The “retirement” of Hugo Schwyzer from his self-appointed position as “Professor Feminism” highlights some of the issues men have with feminism.” And consequently, according to Jem Bloomfield, some of the issues women have with men who have issues with feminism. Come on, get involved.
America’s Forgotten Pin-Up Girl– “Meet Hilda, the creation of illustrator Duane Bryers and pin-up art’s best kept secret. Voluptuous in all the right places, a little clumsy but not at all shy about her figure, Hilda was one of the only atypical plus-sized pin-up queens to grace the pages of American calendars from the 1950s up until the early 1980s…“
I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have my belly, so I’m going to assume it’s been with me my whole life. I was a pudgy child who grew up into a pudgy pre-teen and then abruptly stopped growing but remained pudgy, even when I gave up chocolate and sweets for Lent and didn’t cheat, even once.
My belly and I have a love-hate relationship. For most of my life, it’s been heavy on the hate.
Today, I had a mission. That mission was “Go to town, purchase two pairs of black leggings.”
As a teenager, fitting rooms were an intensely stressful experience for me. Things that were not confidence-boosters include: unforgiving bright lights, mirrors angled so you can see your whole butt at once and things that won’t button or zip even though they claim to be in your size. I rarely buy clothes these days, but historically I often gave up around the fitting room stage of the experience, purely because I felt so miserable about my body.
As well as my urgently-needed leggings, I picked up a few tops and also found an incredibly rare pair of jeans – 28-inch leg and 30-inch waist is like the Holy Grail when you have roughly the same proportions as a hobbit – that were 50% off. So I had no real choice but to try that shit on.
And in the fitting room, I stripped down to my underwear and took a good long look at myself.
I just watched the first two episodes of the new HBO series, Girls.
First off, I acknowledge that any show featuring a main character who is a 24 year-old publishing intern with a major in English Lit, currently writing her memoirs in essay format and having a casual sex thing with an actor is … already hitting scarily close to home.
There’s also been a lot of backlash against this show (which I, obviously, have to work hard not to take as backlash against my life personally.) A lot of it, despite being wrapped up in palatable words like “shallow” and “unnecessary,” still reeks of my favourite flavour: MISOGYNY!
Honestly, I’m not going to even address the RARRR-GIRLS-DOING-THINGS-NO-ONE-WANTS-TO-SEE-THAT bullshit, except to say that it is getting tiresome wading through the same old thinly-veiled “arguments” any time a woman makes something about and/or for women. That said, some of the backlash is totally legitimate, such as the almost total absence of characters of colour except in incidental, stereotyped background roles. I hope this is something Lena Dunham et al take into account when introducing new characters.
Apart from that, I enjoyed my viewing experience immensely and apart from the aforementioned creepy parallels, here are some things I really relate to: