Funny Women Showcase, 13th June

Women. They’re a funny old bunch. I know this, you know this… but it seems there are still those out there who refuse to believe that the ‘fairer sex’ possess fully functioning funny bones. Hurrah, then, for Funny Women – a rather fantastic organisation that’s been supporting, recognising and rewarding female comedians for 8 years.

As we gear up to this year’s Funny Women Awards, the finalists are busy proving of their hilarious existences at various Funny Women Showcases, the next of which is this Sunday (the 13th) at Leicester Square Theatre. Get down there to see the brilliant Bridget Christie (Funny Women Awards finalist 2004 and Funny Women Fringe Award Winner 2007), who will most likely be dressed as a giant ant. No, I’m not joking…

I first saw Christie’s Ant act at Robin Ince’s School For Gifted Children gig, where her A. Ant character complained angrily about always being the token ant at comedy gigs and how, just because she’s an ant, everyone expected to hear all the same old ant-related jokes. Why can’t she be appreciated as simply ‘funny’, rather than ‘a funny ant’? Hmm, sounds familiar…

Find out more about the Funny Women showcase and, more importantly, buy your tickets here!

(Illustration by Sarah Barnes)

By: Sarah Barnes, 08.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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Feeling Empowered Yet?

So, today was the day that lingerie brand Triumph woke women up to a ’shape debate’ that was itself shaped by their aim to get as much publicity as possible. After thinking far too much about the whole spectacle in my last post, I thought it best to just follow up simply with some press images from the event, and some of Triumph’s ‘findings’, and let you decide for yourselves.

GERMANY – 81% of German women are satisfied with their overall appearance

FRANCE – 93% of French women feel that having a beautiful bust is the most important part of their body

CHINA – 77% of Chinese women wear a bra out of courtesy*

“Triumph’s findings cement the fact that breast and bodies are in the forefront of women’s minds and gives an insight into how women perceive their own body image and how our attitudes towards underwear can be shaped by culture, habit and social norm.”

So, what do you think? Are you feeling empowered yet?

* Research in Usage and Attitude Study by COIN for Triumph international

By: Sarah Barnes, 19.04.2010 | Comments (3)
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A Body Image Triumph?

A press release from bra-brand Triumph came my way the other day that got me thinking, once again, about the issue of body image. It seems that Triumph are aligning themselves with the ‘How To Look Good Naked’ school of self-confidence building; They are sending a troupe of six women to parade in their undercrackers around Leicester Square this coming Monday, all to spark a ’shape debate’. As the team at Triumph themselves say;

On Monday 19th April Triumph International – one of the world’s largest underwear brands–  ‘reveals’ new findings on women and their bras from around the globe, and what better way to show off their findings than to parade six Triumphant ladies that represent the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, China and France in London’s internationally renowned hot spot – Leicester Square.

Dressed in Triumph lingerie, the ladies expose an incredible insight into women and their underwear and officially launch the ‘shape debate’!

I can’t help but notice the wording; Reveals, Show Off, Parade, Hot Spot, Expose.

Titillating, huh?

We don’t yet know what their findings are, but I reckon there could be better ways to show them off… whatever happened to the humble pie chart? But I guess that, with the particular sexy strategy that they’re going with, Triumph will be fighting off the press!

One other interesting thing; The choice to represent women from different countries rather than different body types. This seems like something new for one of these body-image campaigns, and I wonder about the message they mean to send out with this? It must link with their ‘findings’, so are they ‘revealing’ that body sizes vary with ethnicity? Why have they stuck with mostly European countries and then thrown Japan and China into the mix? Does this represent where their findings have come from? Will the groups be racially diverse? Will the woman from the UK be Black or Asian British, maybe? Only time will tell, but from the promo pic (above) it looks like we can expect a white majority.

As I’m sure regular readers of this blog are only too aware, I am all for campaigns that inspire women to feel good about themselves and their bodies. But there’s just something about commercial companies jumping on the body-beautiful bandwagon that just feels off to me. Throw money into the mix and you have to question a company’s motives – Are they really presenting half naked bodies for empowerment’s sake, or is it simply because such a campaign will be lapped up by the tabloids?

I’m also getting really tired of this whole nakedness=empowerment line of thinking. I was watching a re-run of How To Look Good Naked the other night (so it’s my own fault, really!) and Gok Wan came out with the line “The moment you can start sharing your body with everyone else is when you can start accepting it” and I just couldn’t believe it. Really, Gok? Is that the best solution? Are you sure? I mean, I’m lucky and privileged enough that I can accept my body without having to show my birthday suit to all and sundry… but I really don’t see this as the answer for those with low body confidence.

But then this brings me back  to a conversation I had recently regarding feminist responses to Eryca Badu’s new video. Some feel that the piece can’t help but be exploitative due to her nakedness. I guess that sometimes we are so used to kicking back against the misogynist male gaze that sometimes we unwittingly slip into seeing with it ourselves. I hope I am not guilty of that in this case.

If you are feeling so inclined, you can go see the Triumph women reveal their findings from 9.30am – 11am on Monday the 19th at Leicester Square, London. As Triumph say; “Come on down and give us your view – which boob and body are you?”

Vintage Triumph adverts found here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 17.04.2010 | Comments (0)
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