Feminists, women, lesbians, queers, people with a trans*-identity and people who engage with gender roles and constructs in a critical and constructive way – or want to do so!
The organising team of Ladyfest Leipzig 2011 consist of a group of people, who, in one way or the other, define themselves as "women" and come from all kinds of backgrounds. We have formed this group in order to finally make another Ladyfest happen in Leipzig in 2011.
Let's start like this: We are born. We are given a name. A name which is unequivocal –
just as the law demands it. Unequivocal means: We are put into the category "male" or "female",
based on supposedly sound biological facts. This kind of categorization even takes place when one
sex cannot be identified unambiguously.
Just as the saying goes: What does not fit will be made to fit.
Ok, but what exactly is the problem here? Along with being identified as one of these two categories, certain characteristics and gender roles are expected of us, which we start learning at a very young age. These are tied to a hierarchy of power and oppression, in which we are born and which we therefore internalise from the start.
People who are perceived as female often have to endure discrimination because of their gender. Officially, women and men are treated like equals, but there are still serious inequalities between the sexes. Some well known examples are that women are still underrepresented in higher management positions, that they earn less money and that their work is valued less than the work of men. They are still expected to do household chores and take on child care. They therefore still have to shoulder the twofold burden of job and family for the most part. Physical and psychological violence also mostly affects women.
If we now look around us in our social sphere of leftist and self-organised (sub-) culture, where we spend our time and operate as political activists, we realise: The same shit is happening here too! But that's not very surprising, because this 'scene' is not set apart from society. Therefore, the structures described above are mirrored in it as well. No matter if in political activist groups, at concerts and parties, at arty and creative places or at the skate park, we always find the same kinds of patterns and structures. Many of these spaces are dominated by a way of behaviour which is associated with maleness. While for instance at a concert men, for the most part, are on the stage and take care of sound engineering and booking the bands, women often remain in the background, cook the food for the bands and work at the bar. Because of the dominant behaviour of people who are perceived as male, or their codes of behaviour to be more exact, others are being excluded. 'Just get on with it and do it!' does not hold water here. We cannot forget that we grow up with these kinds of gender roles.
Girls and women do have substantially less possibilities to gain experiences in certain areas. Let's look into the example with bands another time: Most of the bands consist of members which are perceived to be male. So even in their youth corresponding role models are missing. Thus, insecurities, low self-esteem and fear of embarrassment are often results of this problem. Girls and Women face silly prejudices, like not being able to understand how machines and appliances work, as opposed to men. In many areas of work and free time they are not taken seriously, which makes them feel self-conscious about just trying new things and by doing so, discovering interests and abilities and acting them out. A lot of girls and women who work in male-dominated areas, have to work twice as hard to get accepted. They have to be exceptionally good.
As these circumstances don't really change on their own we finally decided to host another
Ladyfest in Leipzig in 2011. Ladyfest is a feminist, uncommercial, D.I.Y.-festival which started
in 2000 in the USA. Ladyfest is enabling us to occupy and redefine room and places which, for
the most part, are "male"- occupied. To put it in a nutshell: to create free spaces.
By offering different events, like concerts, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, we want to encourage feminists, women, lesbians, trans and queers to get creative, practice (queer-)feminist politics, learn from one another, inspire one another, share ideas and connect with one another. We can do that without pressure, free from capitalist restraints, without hierarchy and discrimination of any kind. We want to create a space in which interests can be acted out, in which you can present your talents to others, you can be in the spotlight and can create new role models. From 19 May to 22 May 2011 a stage, a speaker's desk, a mixer and an exhibition space is available just for you! Let's smash those typically male-dominated rooms.
Operate the mixer yourself, enter the stage, repair cars an bikes on your own, shoot your own movie, create your own fanzine or get into a debate on (queer-)feminism and its ideas. You will be able to do all of that. Check our programme and be there! We look forward to meet you!