La Barbe: France’s bearded feminists
By Lucy Ash
A group of French feminists has found a new way to fight inequality - with sarcastic humour and fake beards. Only rarely is there a violent response.
Colette Coffin unzipped her handbag and pulled out a small piece of artificial fur. “This is my speaking beard,” she explains.
“I’ve got a much bushier one but this has a wider hole so I can talk without getting too much fluff in my mouth.”
Deftly, she hooks the string loops around her ears and turns to face me. The effect is bizarre. With the little ginger triangle on her chin, the schoolteacher wearing a prim summer dress resembles a wannabe Lenin.
Ilana Eloit, a political sciences student in jeans, shows me her beard. It matches her long dark hair perfectly but she complains it is “very itchy”.
Glancing around, she stuffs it back into her bag under the table. “We don’t want to give the game away yet,” she says.
As dusk falls, I sit at a pavement cafe in an upmarket neighbourhood in Paris with a dozen members of the direct action feminist group, La Barbe.
The name comes from the group’s pantomime style of protest. Its members infiltrate high-level, male-dominated meetings. In due course they get to their feet and silently don false beards before one of them reads out an ironic statement congratulating the men on their supremacy. read more…
I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am…You are a shit.Frida Kahlo, from an unsent letter to Diego Rivera
Here are some awesome and empowering quotes from several very strong female celebrities.
And Kristen Stewart.
No, you know what? Fuck you.
Let me tell you about Kristen Stewart.
Let’s talk about how she’s the centerpiece of one of the most inexplicably popular misogynistic pieces of film shit and somehow gets blamed for it sucking, despite the fact that, hey, the books were actually worse. For those who were lucky enough to escape reading the actual books, her apparent lack of emotion is 100% accurate to Bella’s character, because Bella is in fact not a character but a blank white wall for fourteen-year-old girls to project themselves onto. Robert Pattinson is not the only one in the cast who hates Twilight, thank you.
Let’s talk about how she got crucified in the media for having an affair with a married man, when that man was her director. And let’s remember that she was called all manner of things for “ruining her relationship with RPattz” when she wasn’t even engaged to the dude, let alone married with kids. But oh no, she gets called a slut because she’s Kristen Stewart, she gets her career fucked because she’s Kristen Stewart, and the dude gets off scott free.
Let’s talk about how she is incredibly shy and anxious (rather, incidentally, like Chris Evans) but does film anyway, because she’s just that awesome.
Fuck your noise. She’s not the best actor in the world but she sure as hell doesn’t deserve that kind of shit.
I’ll weigh in here too saying I’m not a personal fan of Kristen Stewart but I realize that she is a really fucking strong human being. And I admire her courage tremendously…even if Bella is a terrible role model, Kristin Stewart is a pretty good one.
When was super depressed, I wasn’t working—I was always too depressed. Hemingway did his best work when he didn’t drink, then he drank himself to death and blew his head off with a shotgun. Someone asked John Cheever, “What’d you learn from Hemingway?” and he said “I learned not to blow my head off with a shotgun.” I remember going to the Michigan poetry festival, meeting Etheridge Knight there and Robert Creeley. Creeley was so drunk—he was reading and he only had one eye, of course, and had to hold his book like two inches from his face using his one good eye. But you look at somebody like George Saunders—I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive—that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life.
You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know? I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist.
In an interview with The Fix, Mary Karr debunks the toxic mythology that it is necessary to be damaged in order to be creative. My own vehement defiance to that mythology is what led me to choose Ray Bradbury – the ultimate epitome of creating from joy rather than suffering – as the subject of my contribution to The New York Times’ The Lives They Lived.
Pair with Karr on why writers write.