Friday, October 3, 2014
For our September meeting we welcomed Debi Steven from Action Breaks Silence.
Action Breaks Silence was started by Debi in August 2013 to bring her specialist personal safety and self-defence workshops to underprivileged women and teenage girls in India. Debi is one of the world's leading self-defence instructors and is an advanced level self defence instructor with Self Defence Federation International. She has spoken about self defence on BBC Women's Hour, has taught workshops at the Women of the World Festival and was nominated in the Positive Role Model category at the National Diversity Awards 2014.
The meeting started with Debi telling us about her recent trip to India, with a very moving video showing girls from the workshops defending themselves in a real-life attack simulation. We then had an introductory self-defence session.
We learned about how to tap into our natural self-defence mechanism - fight or flight fuelled by adrenalin. We were all familiar with the feeling of being anxious and afraid - wobbly legs, nausea, sweating, a heightened sense of awareness - which is all caused by an adrenalin dump.
The first skill Debi taught us was about verbal diffusion, or talking your way out of a situation. Would you know what to say if someone confronted you on the street? And if you were unlucky enough to be in a position where you couldn't talk your way out of it then what would you do if you had to physically defend yourself?
Debi taught us some simple-but-effective moves that did not require any martial arts and it was our turn to have a go at the same moves we'd seen schoolgirls in India doing. At first we were a bit shy but everyone got into the flow of it quite quickly!
We had lots of great feedback about the meeting and we are so grateful to Debi and her team for running the workshop!
Debi runs a 1-day workshop in London through her company Premier Self Defence: http://www.premierself-defence.co.uk/
If you want to see more of Debi's work in India check out the Action Breaks Silence Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/actionbreakssilence
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Girls on Film Club
#3: POWDER ROOM, directed by MJ
+ post-screening discussion with screenwriter Rachel
Powder Room is a British comedy directed by MJ Delaney and written by Rachel Hirons, starring a stella British cast: Sheridan Smith, Jaime Winstone, Kate Nash, and Oona Castilla Chaplin. The film is based on the stage play When Women Wee scripted by Hirons.
Sam’s life is turned upside down on a big night out, and her story unravels within the grimy confines of a night-club toilet. When reunited with her old college friends, she is forced to re-evaluate, and constructs an elaborate façade in order to convince herself and her friends that she has it all. But once her dysfunctional yet devoted trio of best mates intervene, her carefully crafted charade begins to crumble amidst the shots, cigarettes, ciders and toilet transgressions. Faced with some very harsh realities, Sam struggles to remain true to herself and reassess exactly what she wants from life.
“Powder Room is a rare film all about women, and all the more universal for it” - Deborah Orr, The Guardian
Post-screening Q&A with Writer Rachel Hirons
The screening will be followed by a post screening Q&A with writer RACHEL HIRONS.
Tickets cost just and include a + a
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Yesterday, we learnt of Wendy’s and her breast cancer trauma in one of the UK's most read papers. Thankfully, she had seen Coppafeel’s campaign in The Sun. You know, that newspaper who put a half naked woman on the front cover back in March to sex cancer up a bit. Talk about tumours being a turn-off, eh?
“Because of page 3”, Wendy’s life was saved. We see this lovely mum in a photo shoot surrounded by four page 3 models, gently arching their backs to show off their assets alongside their guest. I wonder if this shoot still would have happened if Wendy lost both her breasts on her journey to recovery?
Yep, since 1970, page 3 has encouraged us women to be proud of our breasts. I love to see those aspirational, perky C cup tits representing my gender in the newspaper. The model is always the largest female image in the whole publication. I wonder what this says about the editor, David Dinsmore, and his opinion on women’s achievements and representation?
Page 3 model Lacey, 22, says “Knowing we helped Wendy makes me so proud.” I’m pleased and relieved for Wendy, I really am. But like the wonderfully natural breasts of a loving mother of 4, I can’t help feeling that the headline is a little stretched. “Page 3 saved my life”, it reads. Whilst, Wendy’s direct quote reads, “I never used to check my breasts but after reading The Sun’s self-check guide on Page 3, I felt my boobs”. Aaaah, so it’s Coppafeel’s content that saved Wendy’s life? Not the beautiful, perky models on the same page”? Now it all makes sense. How I love sensationalism to keep me entertained in the face of Cancer! I was worried it was all getting a bit dull.
Sure, The Sun has a wide reach, and perhaps it was a wise decision for Coppafeel to partner with them. But I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that they think the best way to reach out to women, is through partnering with a medium that sexualize the breasts that cancer threatens to take away. Teaming up with Page 3 almost feels like we were being told ‘You’re liked for your boobs, better not lose them”.
Ladies, let’s make sure we’re looking after our breasts and visit the Coppafeel site directly, and not through The Sun. Let us also remember that our breasts (those dangly things women have to feed our young – remember what they’re actually for, David Dinsmore?) should be checked regularly, so that we don’t need to be reminded by a patronising, outdated and misogynistic newspaper.
All of my best wishes go to Wendy and to anyone who is going through a similar experience. Should you like guidance in checking your breasts, I recommend going straight here. If you agree that Page 3 is less than a positive thing for society, you can check out the No More Page 3 campaign, and the thoughts of some celebrity supporters on the campaign's Youtube channel.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Our new film group - Girls On Film Club will be traveling to the BFI, Southbank to celebrate the start of the Birds Eye View Film Festival on International Women’s Day and watch a very special screening of Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's SXSW hit Wonder Woman! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.
Open to everyone, this is a public event. Lads, Lasses, lovers and all inbetween!
The screening is at BFI Southbank Saturday 8 March at 6.30pm, ticket info below.
Exploring the origins and legacy of the amazing WW, this superdoc features comic book aficionados alongside real-life superheroines fighting for positive role models – with contributions from actress Lynda Carter, activist Gloria Stienem, Buffy writer Jane Espenson, Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna and more.
Tickets and more info on the day’s events here: https://
BEV will also be launching their full April 2014 Festival line-up of fabulous films and events, and previewing one of their favourite short films from the programme. Plus! A chance to see top emerging talent at a special pre-screening BFI Future Shorts event from 4pm.
Wonder Woman! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.
Dir. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan Country USA, Year 2012 , 79 min
** Make a day of it! A ticket to BFI Future Shorts Screening also provides entry to Wonder Women!. Single entry tickets to the 18.20 screening are also available.
SEE YOU THERE!
Facebook link to event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1423361057904069/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming