Women are called upon every day to prove our right to participate in music on the basis of our authenticity—or perceived lack thereof. Our credentials are constantly being checked—you say you like a band you've only heard a couple of times? Prepare to answer which guitarist played on a specific record and what year he left the band. But don't admit you haven't heard them, either, because they'll accuse you of only saying you like that genre to look cool. Then they'll ask you if you've ever heard of about five more bands, just to prove that you really know nothing. This happens so often that it feels like dudes meet in secret to work on a regimented series of tests they can use to determine whether or not we deserve to be here. The "fake geek girl" test is one, door guys stopping female musicians carrying gear to make sure they're actually in the band and not just somebody's girlfriend is another. Big rock magazines that interview male musicians about gear and female musicians about sexual harassment—that's up there too.—Meredith Graves talks about musical authenticity and gender, taking Andrew WK and Lana Del Rey as her examples. Graves is in the noise rock band Perfect Pussy. Here's a video for their song "I", a live performance and a short segment where Graves and bandmate Ray McAndrew buy books.
"Look at Miss Darcy, swanning around owning property, riding into town at will, choosing whether or not to ask someone to dance – the bitch!"
Miss Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of her burial was signed by the clergywoman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Miss Scrooge signed it: and Miss Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything she chose to put her hand to. Old Miss Marley was as dead as a door-nail.Genderswitching the Classics is a project by Kate Harrad where she takes classic works of literature and changes everyone's gender. So far she's done A Christmas Carol, two Sherlock Holmes stories, a Father Brown tale and, most ambitiously, Pride and Prejudice (first seven chapters are here). Harrad is now at work on James Eyre. She wrote about her project for The Guardian.
Choice of Broadsides is a choose-your-own-adventure game set in an alternate 19th Century world that is much like our own, where Albion and Gaul fight for naval supremacy. You can choose to be a gentleman in a standard patriarchal society, or a gentlewoman in a matriarchal one. Later on in the game you can choose your sexual orientation. Originally there were no options for a same-sex relationship, but after demands from players, it was added in. Spoilers below the cut. [more inside]
"In Loveland, Colorado -- population 61,000, 92 percent white and heavily evangelical Christian -- Michelle didn't know what to expect when she began to work with the school to facilitate her daughter's transition from a boy to a girl. At first, it was difficult. The school 'freaked out when I told them,' Michelle says. 'When we started with M.J.'s transition, I was envisioning riots.' And so Michelle became an advocate for transgender people -- those who identify as a gender different from the one assigned at birth. Michelle organized trainings for the faculty and staff and prepared 'cheat sheets' in case any of their students asked prying questions. But on the first day of school, nothing happened." - Trans in the Red States by Jeremy Bearer-Friend and Daniel Redman. [via Obsidian Wings]
Women and the Holocaust is a site about women's experiences in the Holocaust. It has poetry, testimonials, personal reflections, tributes, essays and more.
The Victorian Web is your one-stop resource for England in the Victorian era (1837-1901). The site is much too extensive to give but a flavor. It is divided into 20 categories, including Technology, Gender Matters, Economic Contexts, Authors, Political History, Theater and Popular Entertainment, Science and Genre and Technique. Here are a few examples of the articles inside: Inventions in Alice in Wonderland, The Role of the Victorian Army, Earth Yenneps: Victorian Back Slang (and a glossary of same), Algernon Charles Swinburne and the Philosophy of Androgyny, Hermaphrodeity, and Victorian Sexual Mores, Evolution, progress and natural laws and, of course, Queen Victoria.