Happy International Women’s Day!
I am the Founder and Artistic Director of La Banshee, a theatre and production company dedicated to empowering women, and I am the organiser of today’s event “A Body of My Own”.
Since the creation of the company in 2016, we’ve been striving to work towards promoting women by creating stories with a female focus and perspective, and by providing female performers and artists with interesting, exciting and in-depth roles.
This year marks the centenary of the women suffrage in the UK and the theme for International Women’s Day could not be more appropriate: “PRESS FOR PROGRESS”. I believe that one of the major changes - if not the most important change - that needs to happen in order to really make progress, is for women to claim back ownership of their body, to inhabit their body, embody it fully, shamelessly and unapologetically in order to break free from patriarchy, from being the second sex, break free from what Naomi Wolf refers to as the Beauty Myth. And it is perhaps one of the hardest battles of all of the battles women have had to fight over the centuries because to paraphrase what Wolf says: The Beauty Myth of the present is more insidious than any mystique of femininity yet; where women are trapped today, there is no door to slam, there is no wall to break down. The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically. It is not ballots or lobbyists or placards or marches that women need today; what they need is a new way to see.
Because if there is one thing that the recent Weinstein scandal has revealed is that a woman’s body is never really, never entirely her own. All women have experienced it, felt it, known it since birth, since the dawn of time it seems, it’s almost embedded in our DNA. It’s been enforced by patriarchy, demonstrated in history, used as a weapon against us by economy prying on the insecurity it generates, and perpetrated by women themselves. But one thing that the recent events such as the #metoo movement and women marches have also revealed is that women are ready for that to change; they are speaking up, coming together and redefining new, rightful frontiers to their scarred body; women AND men are uniting, fighting for progress.
Women want to speak up and we want to be heard. With this event, I wanted to give them, give ourselves, just that. Give women a platform to talk about their body, share their true and sincere relationship to it and show the damaging effect that the Beauty Myth, that patriarchy have on this relationship. How we see ourselves and what we feel deserve our attention. Our words need to be heard. And each word that you’re about to hear, each text written by women from Merseyside and beyond, is one little step towards reclaiming our body, towards breaking free. So thank you for being here to listen. Because we all deserve a Body of our Own.
Liverpool, 8th March 2018.