Ladies Night part 2 March 9, 2006Posted by Winter in the adventures of mind the gap.
So, on Tuesday night Mind the Gap attended the Student Unions’ event for International Women’s Day: “Ladies Night.” As I mentioned in the earlier post, on realizing that we were about to face a couple of hundred rich middle-class white kids, we thought we should go in “stealth feminist” mode. It’s a good phrase, but it didn’t really work out in the end, mainly because we were late as usual. As I rushed out of the house, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror: “Oh shit,” I thought, “I’m a stereotype.” Why am I always wearing jeans and black tops? Why is my hair unkempt? Why are my boots so big? Oh, because I’m a feminist, stupid. I got to the union nightclub where the event was to be held and started setting up the table. L and R arrived. Guess what? Both were wearing jeans, black tops and big boots. “I was going to put on some make up” said R, “But then my mother phoned.” At least, she had made one concession to femininity with a glittery scarf, but we all looked exactly like … feminists. It dawned upon me then that the sight of the three of us was simply not going to allay the fears of any young anti-feminist in the room. Not to be daunted, we laid out the leaflets to see what would happen. “I like the way we put mindthegapcardiff on the email address” observed L, “you know, to distinguish us form all our other offices in Cambridgshire, London and Birmingham.”
Interestingly, the first stall in the line was Ann Summers, complete with special International Women’s Day “Bunny girls”. We had the last stall. As people came along, they looked at the material and their faces underwent a manifest change. You could almost hear their thoughts, “What’s this, oh cute leaflets (we do have cute leaflets), what’s that word beginning with an F… Oh, look away, look away.” We smiled at them sweetly as they scuttled off, and went back to comparing leg hair growth and coming up with slogans for the T-shirts we want to make with the group. We’d photocopied an article about feminism from Marie Claire magazine, thinking maybe that brand of feminism wouldn’t be too terrifying and some people did take them, including one of the bunny girls.
The women’s officer did her best with the event, within the constraints of our union, and had obviously put a lot of work into it. One very good thing was the speech by the Welsh Woman of the Year who did speak very well. To be fair, the fashion show made an effort to use fair trade and alternative shops. We were very well behaved. Last year we (well, mainly me) almost got thrown out for talking and laughing during the speeches. I didn’t think they could really hear me down on the stage, but the lady bouncer seemed to think otherwise.
We did have some fun with Ann Summers looking at fluffy handcuffs, scary sex positions in the advice books and exclaiming at the price of vibrators (£53!). Everyone was presumed to be heterosexual of course: “For your bloke” they cried, pushing flavoured body oils in our direction. L made the mistake of trying the watermelon one – horrible. There was also a chocolate fountain, oh, and a body-piercing stall where I found out what it’s going to cost me to get my nose pierced. At the sexual health stall I won a little bag containing some strawberry flavor condoms and a pairs of “Chocolate tits.” I think this must be the only women’s event I’ve come across where it’s possible to come away with a bag of condoms and chocolate breasts. L and R cruelly refused to relieve me of them. Sometimes it’s hard being a feminist.