Issue 1 feb/mar 2018 Â£3.70
IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE FEB/MARH 2018 IN CONVERSATION WITH: CONCRETE JUNGYALS
A UK WOMEN’S CHARITY THAT DESERVES YOUR SUPPORT
KIERAN CLARKE: ADDRESSING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
tHE RELENTLESS YOUTH
FRENETIC: uh, mORE GIRLS ON THE DECKS, PLEASE!
10 EMPOWERING WAYS YOU CAN SPEND INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
A note from the editor To anyone who picks up this issue of GUM!. thank you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it. As a reader of GUM!. you are offered you a space of inclusion and liberation, whereby your voice is valued and heard. Always celebrate sisterhood and stand up for what you believe in, because together, women are powerful, and we can achieve anything. Hereâ€™s to the beginning of GUM! and what I hope is a future full of empowerment, progression, and growing.
CONCRE WORDS: ABI KELLY INTERVIEWEES: CONCRETE JUNGYALS CO-FOUNDERS; DALEY WILDE, CLARA MCDERMOTT, SASHA SK, AMY GLOVER, QUEENIE MATTHEWS
ETE JUNGYALS THE DANCE MUSIC SCENE HAS LONG BEEN A MALE-DOMINATED SPACE. NOT ONLY DOES THR SCENE PRETTY MUCH ONLY CONTAIN MALE DJS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, BUT 9 OUT OF 10 FEMALE STUDENTS ADMITTING TO HAVING BEEN GROPED OR SEXUALLY HARASSED IN A CLUB IN 2017; IT WOULD SEEM APPARENT THAT THE SCENE COULD DO A LOT MORE TO OFFER FEMALE DJS THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS MEN, BUT ALSO OFFER GIRLS AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THEY CAN RAVE SAFELY. IT’S ABOUT TIME THIS WAS ADDRESSED. Introducing Concrete Jungyals, the all-female creative collective at the heart of the U.K’s underground dance music scene. We spoke with the ‘gyals’ who, in their six short months within the industry, have raised significant awareness of issues surrounding representation and harassment, and are addressing the relationship between raving and feminism.
WHAT IS CONCRETE JUNGYALS? WHAT DOES THE COLLECTIVE AIM TO ACHIEVE FOR WOMEN? Concrete Jungyals is a Bristol and Birmingham based creative female collective. We aim to create a safe space for females and males alike to converse about music, art, photography, fashion and more without facing any prejudice or sexism. The collective aims to inspire and encourage other females to put themselves forward and not fear heavily male dominated industries (and not to feel shunned, judged or inferior!).
THE COLLECTIVE WAS FOUNDED IN SEPTEMBER 2017, HOW HAS IT GROWN IN THOSE SIX SHORT MONTHS? Since launching the collective back in September we have accumulated a huge following on our group page (over 2,000 members) from all around the UK, Europe and beyond. As well as that we have a developed a successful Instagram feed showcasing art and photography from women and men. In October we had our launch night on Halloween at the Star and Garter in Bristol, which went very well and we sold out the venue! We have also collaborated with a lot of brands around Bristol & Birmingham such as; Psyched, Ouse, Tunnel Vision, Free Rave & Sum Cellar. In addition to all of those we ran a self love workshop at Sisterwork’s creative event in Bristol in mid January. The workshop was structured around banishing any self loathing amongst our audience and it was incredibly well received!
WHY IS GIVING FEMALE DJS AND ARTISTS A BIGGER PLATFORM SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? The music industry is unfortunately very male dominated, and we want to challenge this with our collective. It doesn’t make sense that nearly half the global population is female yet the percentage of females on event and festival line ups is starkly different. It’s unfair that incredibly talented female DJs don’t get equal opportunities as males. We are giving female DJs who are not getting this equal opportunity, a platform to showcase their musical abilities on!
DO YOU THINK THERE’S A STIGMA SURROUNDING FEMALE DJS? HOW DOES CONCRETE JUNGYALS AIM TO TACKLE HOW FEMALE DJS ARE PERCIEVED, AND HELP BROADEN THE OPPORTUNITIES THEY ARE GIVEN? We feel that female DJs are generally seen as inferior to their male counterparts, sometimes even without a person intentionally meaning to enforce their underlying prejudices upon them. We’ve seen men reach over, fiddle and adjust things on the decks when women have been playing. No man would dare do that when another man is playing! However innocent, it’s the little things like this that remind you that there’s still that stigma that women are inferior. Also, so often female DJs are sexualised to appeal to a wider as well as being looked down on as being less talented than male DJs. We have come across the problem of tokenism in the music scene which is where to achieve a diverse line up event organisers purposely pick female DJs based on their gender, not their talent. One of our main aims as a collective is to reach gender equality in the music scene by pushing female artists as they are currently at a minority.
DO YOU THINK THE SAFETY OF WOMEN AT CLUBS AND RAVES IS IMPROVING? YOUR COLLECTIVE AIMS TO PROVIDE A SAFE SPACE FOR WOMEN TO RAVE HARRASMENT AND HASSLE-FREE, WHICH IS AMAZINGHOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PROMITING THIS MESSAGE AND ENFORCING IT? DO YOU THINK THE SAFETY OF WOMEN ON NIGHTS OUT IS AN ISSUE NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY ENOUGH? It’s slowly improving, groups like Bristol Zero Tolerance, Girls Against and like-minded organisations all aim to stop sexual harassment on nights out by educating venue staff. Staff are trained in how to deal with victims and harassers, and it’s a really positive step in the right direction. Concrete Jungyals have a safe space policy which we print out and stick up around our venue space, so guests are aware we have a policy in place to protect them: “Concrete Jungyals strive to create a safe space at their events. If you are made to feel uncomfortable by someone on the night please do not hesitate to let a member of staff, security or any
of the eight girls that run the collective know. We do not tolerate discrimination, prejudice, abuse or harassment on any of our online platforms and we certainly to do not tolerate them at our events. Our nights are fun, respectful and free spaces for people to enjoy themselves so anyone who disrupts that with inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with appropriately by security.” As the ladies who run the collective we make ourselves known to our event guests, and we make sure security at the venue are treating people considerately and fairly. Luckily many venues have their staff trained appropriately in how to deal with sexual harassment, so for us it’s just making sure we stay aware and that our attendees are fully comfortable. The issue of harassment is being taken seriously more and more all the time. Unfortunately, harassment of women in every sector of life is an extremely prolific problem. In regard to the clubbing scene, every venue is different, some take the issue more seriously than others. We think that generally, in the clubbing scene, there is an awareness however not enough is necessarily being done about it. That’s where our collective comes in as we are always reiterating our safe space policy.
IN SHORT, WHAT’S THE MESSAGE CONCRETE JUNGYALS AIMS TO SEND WOMEN? To all women, we say: You are a sick individual! If you have a passion- own it and don’t ever be pressured into changing to have a certain look, image or identity. Most importantly, don’t ever let anyone talk down to you or discriminate against you for being female. Stick up for your rights because women are very powerful beings and in times of prejudice we group together in acts of sisterhood, which is amazing.
"Stick up for your rights, because women are very powerful beings"
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE COLLECTIVE? WHERE CAN WE CATCH YOU IN 2018? So far this year we have an upcoming Valentines (Gyalentines) event in Bristol, and we have a takeover later in February with the very well know dubstep label Freerange, also in Bristol. In the pipeline and nearly ready to be announced, we have an event for International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, which will showcase female and male DJ’s, singers, artists and some live art! Later on in the year we are collaborating with an event up in Sheffield (Concrete Jungyals Going North), and in the summer we will be featuring at a very well known UK festival which we are so excited about! We also have some upcoming radio shows on 10 Twenty Radio and Rinse FM. In addition to that we are going to feature in a documentary made by a film maker in conjunction with Eventbrite and very soon we will be releasing merchandise, starting off with some wicked t-shirts! 2018 is going to be a very busy year for us but we are passionate women with a strong agenda and we are so excited about all the ventures ahead!
I WANT TO GET INVOLVED- WHERE CAN I DO THIS? Make yourself familiar with the main community of our collective, which is our Facebook group. The Facebook group acts as a safe haven for people to share and discuss anything they like (we don’t however tolerate any inappropriateness or discrimination on the group page). Some really great and varied discussions happen on the page with both males and females participating! Additionally, show your face at any of the aforementioned events we have planned for 2018. Information can be found on our Facebook page.
INSTAGRAM: @CONCRETEJUNGYALS FACEBOOK: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/CONCRETEJUNGYALS 8
A UK women’s charity that deserves your support:
Rights Of Women
It’s no breaking news that violence against women is a major issue affecting women and girls around the world, with the UK being by no means excluded. In England and Wales, 3,000,000 women are affected by violence every year, and 750,000 women over the age of 16 experience rape at least once during their lifetimes. A further 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence and abuse during their lives, and a harrowing number of 2 women are killed per week as a result of domestic abuse. Dealing with the law as a woman in a vulnerable position is often a great source of anxiety and uncertainty. Founded in 1975, following the Women’s Liberation Movement for legal and financial independence for women, Rights of Women was formed by a group of female legal workers to empower women, and help them find their way around many of the man-made laws they were affected by, especially those trapped within dangerous and oppressive situations. Working to better improve women’s understanding of the legal system and improve their access to justice, the charity aims to advise and educate women by providing them with a 24 hour helpline where they can access free and immediate advice from legal advisors and barristers.
Over the last 40 years the organisation has helped to assist and thousands of women within a diverse range of vulnerable positions, including women in abusive relationships; women who have been raped; women who have fled their country to escape violence; and women who fear their children will be taken from them. One of the most powerful and effective ways to break the cycle of violence and oppression for women in situations like these, is to ensure they are aware of their rights and all the legal options and protections available to them. Allowing women in need free access to speak to a lawyer who can give them expert advice about the law and their rights allows them to make safe and informed decisions for the wellbeing of themselves and their
families, and help them to escape dangerous situations. As well as offering legal advice, Rights for Women is a member of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which aims to focus on putting an end to all forms of violence against women, and campaigns to ensure that their voices are heard. But why only women? Gender-based violence is recognised as a form of discrimination, as it disproportionately impacts women a great deal higher than men. Providing a female-only service is vital to addressing and preventing this form of discrimination, and progressing towards achieving equality for women. If violence against women is a cause you care about and want to get behind, there are several ways you can get involved and offer your support. Rights of Women are always open to donations, and even offer the option to become a regular supporter and give monthly donations of £5 or more. Not everyone however, of course, has the luxury of being financially comfortable enough to be able to donate money, and that’s okay:-the charity regularly campaigns on a range of legal issues affecting women, which you can get involved with. These campaigns include legal aid, ending violence against women, and women’s asylum charter. More information on campaigning, and how you can help these causes, can be found at rightsofwomen.org. Supporting charity using your social media is a small act that can make a huge difference- raising awareness of the work they do is one of the best ways to gain them attention and support. Engage with Rights of Women’s official Twitter and Facebook, retweet tweets, share Facebook posts, there’s so much you can do with simply the use of your social media, which is free of cost to you and takes just a few moments of your time. You may not be able to afford to donate money or have the time to partake in campaigning, but maybe one of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers might.
rightsofwomen.org.uk 020 7251 6577 @rightsofwomen
“I couldn’t think of a more relevant time to make a film about sexual abuse within the entertainment industry.”
GUM speaks to University OF BOURNEMOUTH film student, Kieran Yates-Clarke, 22, part of the production of a short film focused on sexual assault within the 1970s fashion industy. Jane is a short film that explores the world of sexual assault that lies within the fashion industry, and the strong women that it impacts. The plot follows Jane, whose marriage with famous fashion photographer and sexual predator, Adam, begins to crumble after she learns he sexually exploits female models by threatens their safety within the industry. Jane soon begins a friendship with Nina, a young model and one of Adam’s victims, and the two women form a bond over their shared pain. It’s pretty hard hitting, aims to take a fresh perspective on abusive relationships, exploring the tension that lies between the gaps of abuse, and the recovery of the victims. What we really want to do is to deliver an ambitious and unique film that not only sheds light on a serious issue, but showcases our full potential as talented and determined filmmakers. There’s a team of nineteen of us working on Jane, and the entire production process, from the drawing board to the producing, and everything in between, has taken about six months. Artistically, we wanted to push boundaries with Jane, and create something as unique and creative as possible. Filmaking on a scale this big for the first time has shown us all the hard way, the importance of attending to every minor detail, from the script, to the location, to the make-up, and the shots- it’s been difficult at times, but it’s so rewarding watching all our hard work finally come together. I have the role of the production designer, where I get to design the sets and everything inside them. It’s a fun job, I essentially get to build the world in which Jane’s story unfolds. For me, the whole production process has been so enjoyable not just because I’m a creative person, but because of the nature of the film’s message. The message of the film is incredibly important, and my own personally strong interest in the feminist movement and female liberation has completely drawn me to the story. It motivates me to do it justice and gives me a lot of pride that comes from feeling like I’m helping to raise awareness, and contribute to some good.
Creating a film on such a big scale has come with its challenges, especially having to raise £4,000 of donations to fund the production. We had high aspirations for the film, and wanted to put everything we could into the art department, securing a talented cast to portray our characters, equipment hire, costume and make up, the whole lot. For a team of (broke!) uni students, a project this ambitious would never have been possible without a budget, so we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who donated, shared our social media posts, and supported our Crowdfunder. I think the most important aspect of Jane is its relevancy to our culture today. Though set in the 70s, I think that the message of the film is, sadly, just as applicable to many entertainment industries today. With the recent initiation of the #MeToo campaign, I couldn’t think of a more relevant time to create a film on sexual abuse within the entertainment industry. Jane’s message has been heavily inspired by the many victims who have come forward and spoken out about sexual abuse, whom we admire and show endless solidarity to. I feel that Adam’s character very much embodies many of the men in Hollywood and the music industry today who have recently been outed as sexual predatorspowerful men who have gotten away with abuse due to their status. The more we openly address the problem, the more it helps to stop these people being able to get away with sexual assault. With Jane, we really want to liberate those who have been sexually assaulted, and share with them the support they will find through breaking free and speaking out. Jane is looking to be finished by, and released in May. A certain date will soon be announced on our social media.
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RACIST ‘BANTER’ BE TAKEN AS YUTH UNIVERSITIES IF NTLESS YOUTH THE RELENTLESS YOUTH MS’ STORIES ELENTLESS YOUTH N’T GO VIRAL?” SS YOUTH THE RELENTLESS YOUTH UTH
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“I can’t describe the feeling of finally being at peace with your identity after years of internal battling, confusion and embarrassment”.
words: Emily, 20.
I already knew I liked girls when I started year seven at secondary school at around eleven years old. I remember fancying a girl in my class in year seven, and telling my mum one day when I came home one day. When she told me that I was just confused and too young to understand, I believed her. I grew up in a very small town in the south of England, that remains largely untouched by diversity of any kind. Everybody, including my parents, has a very one-dimensional perception of race, gender and sexuality, and anything outside the status quo of our white, middle class town that is, to put it bluntly, stuck in the 1950s. Growing older and starting to realise that those closest to me held misunderstood, negative and judgemental views towards my sexual identity gave me a real sense of detachment. My parents were not openly homophobic, or against gay people, but my attempts to explain my sexuality to them were met with exasperated sighs and dismissive responses of ‘Emily, are you sure it’s not just a little teenage phase?’. I knew they didn’t take me seriously, and I knew they just thought I’d grow out of it. My dad in particular I could tell, deep down, didn’t really approve, though he never openly said this. I was the butt of plenty of jokes in secondary school, and although this was nothing more than playful teasing from friends in the playground rather than actual bullying, it didn’t stop me from feeling totally isolated from all the other girls, and like my sexuality made me an outsider. You can probably imagine how disconcerting this was for me, as a fifteen-year-old girl in the process of exploring my own sexuality and essentially ‘finding myself’ and my identity. My suppressing of my sexuality during my teenage years was the source of a great deal of confusion for me, and it’s not until I was able to look back upon it, that I recognised how damaging this was. I went through phases of questioning who or what I was attracted to- I went on dates with guys, but a few sexual encounters confirmed to me I had no interest in them, sexual or romantic. For a very long time, I was stuck in a mindset that fluctuated between longong for the opportunity to explore my sexuality with a girl, and also trying to surpress this burning desire out of confusion and embarrasment. Years of not feeling like I could openly express my sexuality made me associate being anything but straight with shame and embarrassment. I had trouble openly sharing the fact that I was a lesbian- something I knew it was completely normal and okay to be. But I had had my parents’ dismissal and a lacking in acceptance of my sexuality ingrained into my brain long enough for me to believe that being a lesban was something that other people didn’t approve of, and that I needed to keep to myself. Starting university in Birmingham quite literally changed my entire perception of the LGBTQ+ community, and the way I felt about myself. It was like something changed inside me. I was suddenly exposed to this environment where being gay was just... Normal. Gay nightclubs subsided in their own entire area of the city (call me naive, but for someone that had never even been to a proper nightclub before starting uni, this came as a huge surprise). There was an LGBT+ society at my university. It was
an environment where those who were gay were totally open about their sexuality, and proud of it. What the fuck had I been missing out on the past six years? I was brought overwhelming emotion by the realisation that I had nothing to be ashamed of. I had nothing to hide from other people, and most of all, I was allowed to accept with my idenity. It made me recognise how willing I had been to just accept the stigma surrounding sexuality. I’ll never forget the first time I went to a gay club, and I watched two guys kissing on the dancefloor, with everyone around then whistling and cheering. They didn’t give a shit. And it sounds silly, but it inspired me. It hit me that I too could be that carefree about my sexuality. I have found love, acceptance and support at uni. I feel so welcomed as a gay person here, and so far, Birmingham has been the only place I’ve felt comfortable enough to be openly ‘out’. I’ve dated girls, explored sexual relationships with girls, and I almost can’t believe simply embracing my sexuality is something I have deprived myself of all thoughout my teenage years. The LGBTQ+ community I’ve discovered here has made me realise the importance of being proud of your sexuality, because it is more than just sex- it’s your identity, and a part of what makes you human. I still have a lot to figure out, and years of internalised resentment towards my sexual identity to pick away at. I still struggle with self-acceptance, and not to mention the frustration at how many years I wasted depriving myself of this self-acceptance. But being given the opportunity to be independent, far away from home, and surround myself with open minded and non-judgemental people has been enough to show me that it’s okay to accept who I am. I really cannot describe the feeling of finally being at peace with your identity after years of internal battling, confusion and embarrassment. Cringe levels through the roof: but coming to uni has allowed me to find myself and finally accept who I am, and I owe my happiness to coming here.
words: ALISHA, 19.
WOULD RACIST ‘BANTER’ ON CAMPUS BE TAKEN AS SERIOUSLY IF THE VICTIMS’ STORIES DIDN’T GO VIRAL?
Something that really hit me recently was the racist incident at Nottingham Trent University. Like many others, I was utterly disgusted to watch the video of a black female student, Rufaro Chisango, listening to racist chants outside her flat in her university accommodation. As a black girl myself, I can’t imagine the isolation and distress she must have felt listening to ‘we hate the blacks’ being shouted on the other side of her door. It is harrowing to me that this type of racial abuse still holds a place within modern Britain, but sadly, not surprising. Let me tell you, it brought me sweet, sweet joy to soon read on BBC News that the two racist students responsible had been arrested for hate crimes in response to the incident. I would like to commend Nottingham Trent University for openly addressing and dealing with the incident, and working to support the victim. But honestly, I just can’t help but feel that universities avoid tackling incidents like these on campus until the victims go viral on social media. Within just a few days of its posting, Rufaro’s original tweet of the video had received 30k retweets and had appeared on a handful mainstream online news outlets. I mean quite literally that everybody was talking about it on Twitter, including politicians and public figures. Music artists Lethal Bizzle, MNEK and Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy were among the many thousands to show solidarity to Rufaro on Twitter, and to also pressure Nottingham Trent to take action. Trent’s excuse for their three-day-late response to the situation was questionable, but nonetheless, they ated quickly acted to provide Rufaro with a new accommodation and reprimand the students responsible. Supposedly. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to state that it, quite literally, took a Twitter shitstorm for Nottingham Trent to even address the incident, let alone take action. I don’t doubt that incidents surrounding racism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry occur on UK university campuses more regularly than we’d all like to think. Whether its complicity in the situation, whether it’s concerns of reputation protection, what are UK universities really doing to tackle bigoted behaviour without the pressure of a large body of society to do so? I recently read an interview in an article where Shakira Martin, president of the
National Union of Students, told told The Times that she believes authorities and universities often ‘do nothing beyond logging these type of incidents, and only take action if the victims take matters into their own hands’- i.e, posting it on social media and letting it go viral for the nation to see. A statement I wholeheartedly agree with. 60k retweets on Rufaro’s video, her story appearing on national news, and pressure from thousands of social media users was enough for Nottingham Trent to take action against the students responsible for the racial abuse. Whether this action was a serious reprimand or just a light slap on the wrist, is something we don’t know. Whether Nottingham Trent would have dealt with the incident so seriously and efficiently had it not gone viral on social media, is yet another question I can’t help but wonder. This particular incident is not an isolated example of racism on campus. In recent months alone there has been notable news stories of similar racially-aggravated acts, including black University of Warwick student, Faramade Ifaturoti, finding the words ‘monkey’ and ‘n*gga’ written on the skin of a bunch of bananas she left in her student accommodation kitchen. Furthermore, a black De Montfort University student reported other students singing to her about lynching on a night out. As a first year student, it’s these sorts of disheartening stories that make me feel not only apprehensive towards the education institution, but disappointed that that these are the types of views that are held by other educated young people. It saddens me to think that the people I surround myself with every day, in my lectures, in my halls, everywhere- might share these views. In reality, as disappointing as it is, we shouldn’t be surprised by racism existing in 2018. Racism exists in all corners of our society- within our justice system, our workplaces, on our streets. What is unacceptable in 2018, however, is our education institutions showing complicity in racial, or any type of bigoted hate incidents, and showing anything but a dedicated intent to eliminate society’s prejudices from their campuses; without which, racism will continue to thrive. As long as these sorts of incidents exist, UK universities need to do more to tackle the structures that have allowed for this type of racist ‘banter’ to exist at all.
I think I speak for plenty of people when I say that despite the idealistic image we have in our heads of student life, university often isn’t a healthy place to be, especially for those of us who suffer from mental health issues. It’s not often said, but it’s something I want to raise- because otherwise, we throw ourselves into student life with unrealistically high expectations of having ‘the best years of your life’ at university. Honestly, I’d go as far as saying the belief that your student years at university are ‘the best in your life’ is damaging. It leads us into this dangerous thought process: ‘I’m young and I’m at university, so I must be having a good time at all times’. It causes us to suppress any negative feelings, especially those in regard to our mental wellbeing, because we feel like we should be having the time of our lives.
I won’t sugarcoat it: dealing with depression at uni is fucking shit. Here’s some tips on how to cope with it. words: Stephanie, 22.
I was very much guilty of this. I won’t sugar-coat it: dealing with depression is fucking shit. Some days are better than others, but at times, i’s unbearable. I’m sure anyone else who suffers from it will know this all too well. For me, learning how to cope with mental healh issues at uni has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. When living with a mental disorder that leaves you feeling constantly miserable, demotivated and often unable to even get out of bed for days- forcing yourself to live up to the stereotype student lifestyle of excessive partying, drinking, and the horrendous sleeping pattern that comes with it (because, hey, it’s only first year), while simultaneously stressing about maintaining good grades, takes its toll on your mental wellbeing. For a long time, my mental health issues were something I was embarrassed to speak openly about, because that negative, depressed person who just stays in their flat and never goes out and has fun, was not the person I wanted to be at uni. That’s not how I wanted my friends to see me, and that’s not how I wanted to feel about myself. I could name you too many occasions where I dragged myself out of bed to join my friends on nights out I really didn’t feel up to attending, and forced myself to have fun, just because I felt like I should be out enjoying myself- because I was a student, and that’s what students do. Not wanting to disappoint my supportive but very expectant parents by letting my mental health affect my studies, was a whole other story. It took me a while to realise I was putting too was much pressure on myself, and that all I was doing was trying to live up to unrealistic ideals of all the fun I felt I should be having at uni, and allowing my mental health to suffer as a result. I think the most important thing you need to remember when coping with mental health issues at uni is to be patient with yourself, and always make sure you allow yourself time to breathe, no matter how busy you are. Learning to balance going out, revision, and making time for myself to relax and switch off, really is the answer to keeping your head in as healthy a mental state as possible. Despite the unsettling start I threw myself into during my first year, moving away from the comforts of home to embrace the independence of university has allowed me to grow as a person, taught me how to open up to new people, and most importantly, learn how to cope with my depression as best as I possibly can. It’s taught me how important it is to celebrate the progress I make, even the tiny steps. I’ll be graduating in a few months, after three l years of learning how to deal with my depression alongside studying a law degree, and I couldn’t be prouder of everything I’ve achieved, both academically, and mentally. Here are a few tips that helped me to cope with my depression while at university.
1. Speak to someone. One of the worst things you can do when suffering from any mental illness is to withdraw and completely isolate yourself. Talking about your feelings is such an important part of taking care of your mental wellbeing, and the best way to cope with negative feelings and worries that you carry around in your head. Keep in touch with your family and friends from home regularly. Speak to your university’s mental health team. Don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it, and don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed of speaking out.
2. Eat well, keep active and get enough sleep. Realistically, what student isn’t guilty of living off beans on toast, binging Netflix shows in their pyjamas till the late afternoon, and then not sleeping until 3am. I pretty much just ate Pot Noodles and microwave lasagnes for my first two months at uni. And it made my body feel like absolute shit. It doesn’t seem like it would make that much of a difference, but your diet, sleep pattern and physical activity can really impact your mental health. I’m not suggesting you go on a crazy health mission, but going for walks, eating balanced meals and not going to bed at stupid o’clock in the morning can make such a difference to your head..
3. Don’t force yourself to go out just because you feel like you should be out enjoying yourself. Mental disorders, especially depression, are both emotionally and physically exhausting, and can leave you feeling a complete lacking in energy and desire to socialise, and that’s okay. Learn how to say no to nights out and social events when you feel like this, and remember that you don’t have to be going out, socialising and partying all the time, just because you’re at uni and feel like you should be out enjoying yourself. It’s okay to say ‘no’ to a night out or a social event.
4. Be patient with yourself. It’s all too easy to feel frustrated with yourself, to feel like you’re never going to be happy or amount to anything, and to get stuck in a negative, self-hating slump. You need to remember that you’re only human. Take baby steps, and celebrate every success- even tiny ones. It’s the little things- getting out of bed to attend a 9am lecture, starting an assignment you’ve been putting off, even just getting out of bed and going for a walk when you’re feeling really low. It may seem insignificant, but it’s prgress. Remember that recovery doesn’t happen overnight so be patient with yourself, don’t invalidate your feelings, and give yourself time to flourish.
5. Remember that no assignment is ever more important than your mental health. The threat of wasting thousands of pounds along with years of hard work if you let your grades suffer, is a lot of pressure. It’s all too easy to put your mental wellbeing secondary when it comes to coping with uni workloads, end especially exam period.. But we alll only have one body, we have to take care of it before we can take of any other task. Don’t beat yourself up over a low grade, over struggling to motivate yourself, over feeling too low to approach an assignment- nothing should come before taking care of your mental health. Always remember that you deserve happiness, and have every right to feel proud of yourself, no matter what grade you get.
UH, MORE GIRLS ON THE DECKS, PLEASE?
Words: Abi Kelly Interviewee: Lottie Aldridge
GUM! chats to Frenetic, an emerging female DJ who in the past six months has been shelling it down and making serious movements in the male-dominated drum n’ bass scene, playing at heavyweight-run events, including Ram Records and Hospital Records. We caught up with the West-Country born girl, known otherwise as Lottie, about gender inequality within the scene, sexualisation, and everything in between.
We’ve all seen it, time and time again- an all-male lineup on a night out. What’s new? Whether it’s XOYO in London, the Warehouse project in Manchester, Motion in Bristol, it seems that the underground electronic dance scene across the UK is an exclusive guy’s-club in which female DJs are neither valued nor welcome. The gender imbalance in the underground electronic dance scene is hard to ignore. According to research, women make up just 24% of DJs within the scene. Which is pretty terrible. From being paid less, to poor representation, to sexual
harassment, women working in the dance music industry have historically had a more difficult job to rise to the top than men. But the complexity of this issue is yet to be tackled head-on, and there are many questions that remain unanswered. Is the scene inherently sexist? Do guys in the scene care about seeing more female DJs? And, most importantly, just why does the scene seem to cater predominantly to men, and offer so few opportunities to women? Frenetic tells us the problem isn’t that there’s no female DJs- the problem is that they arent visible.
F The connection between the drum N’ bass scene and misogyny is a complex one. With drum N’ bass offering a much poorer representation of female DJs than techno, house, and other genres within the underground electronic dance scene, it begs the question of the type of relationships female DJs must have with the scene.
“I love drum N’ bass, I love the music, I love the scene, but I think as a girl who is emerging into the scene, it can be quite an intimidating place. I don’t know if I believe the scene is inherently sexist or not but it does offer such a shit representation of women. Like, the is extremely dominated by male DJs. That’s undeniable. It’s a fact. Just look at the statistics, and see how many women are actually represented on event line ups, festival lineups, the whole lot. Nine times out of ten, I’ll be the only girl playing at the bottom of a huge lineup across three rooms at a club event. I think an absence of women is so ingrained into the scene people just don’t even really think to challenge the male dominance anymore. There’s so many sly notions of sexism in the scene, even with the MCs shouting really misogynistic bars. It’s a difficult one for me, because as someone who absolutely loves being part of the scene, it’s difficult, because the scene seems to offer my gender no representation, and no opportunities.”
When asking Frenetic of her experiences in being a young woman in such a male-dominated space, she showed no hesitation to share with us
her beliefs regarding judgement, being taken seriously, and being treated differently. “I think as a female it is generally harder to get taken seriously sometimes. I feel like women tend to be judged more harshly, I think it was DJ Rap who once famously said, ‘if you have a bad set as a girl you won’t get booked for six months, if you have a bad set as a guy, you’ll still be booked next weekend not questions asked’. Which I think is unfortunately so true. Like, I feel a lot more pressure to smash a set because I feel like people will judge me a lot harsher. I love that a lot of guys are kind of surprised after I’ve smashed a set, and they’re thinking, like, ‘shit, she’s actually sick!’, because they don’t assume me to be sick at at mixing, if you get me. I guess it’s quite misogynistic that they even assume I wouldn’t be anything special in the first place just because I’m a girl, though.” The treatment of women within the scene is further issue Frenetic was eager to share with us. When we asked if she had any experiences of being treated differently or being taken less seriously, she responded with, “mate, honestly, loads. So many little comments and things that you normally don’t think anything of, but when you really think about it, it is just people unintentionally patronising you because you’re a girl”. She continued, “I’ve had a lot of patronising comments, mainly from guys, just stuff like trying to help show me where everything is on the mixer when I’m
about to go on, as if I’ve never seen one before. I’ve had a guy stop me in the middle of my set and ask me for gum before, like he didn’t even care that I was playing. It’s a respect thing, like I don’t believe they’d d that to another guy. Just stuff like that, you normally just have to overlook it though.” The way in which female DJs choose to present their appearances is, too, a debate that remains complex, and an issue that is rarely left out of the equaltion. In an article famously written in response to that Nina Kraviz bath scene in a Resident Advisor documentary (if you know, you know. If not, google it), where the author stated that ‘Kraviz’s beauty would be her passport to fame, and also the stick in which she’ll be beaten with’. A statement GUM! wholeheartedly agrees with, and Frenetic held a similar viewpoint on. “It’s so true that a woman’s good looks can her demise as much as they are her ticket to success. It proper annoys me when appearance comes into play. Personally, I’d rather not risk anyone chatting shit about my appearance, so I never wear loads of make up, and just wear baggy T-shirts. I feel like when a female DJ plays on her good looks, her appearance will always be brought into it, and people concentrate on that more than the actual music your ability to mix in the slightest. Nobody cares what a guy wears to do his set, so it really shouldn’t matter what a girl wears, either.” In asking Frenetic to expand on her point, we asked her if she feels people would perceive her skills in mixing differently if she put heavy emphasis on her appearance, she continued, “yeah, I think so. I don’t want my appearance coming into it, I rate it though, when other girls have the confidence to get dressed up to do their sets. Like, even with really famous and sick girl DJs, like Barely Legal and Madam X, the first thing people say about them is ‘she’s hot’, not anything about how well she can mix, or their music
selection. I love it when girls own their identities, but their looks shouldn’t be considered before their actual skills as a DJ, you know?” Though sexism towards women within the scene is yet to be tackled-head on, and there is much to be improved in terms of the representation of female DJs, for Frenetic, though, it’s been a positive journey breaking into the drum N’ bass scene. She eagerly tells us of the support she’s received in the last year, and the difference it made. “I feel lucky to have such a supportive network of people in the scene around me, which honestly, as a girl trying to make it in a scene that is totally dominated by men, I don’t think I would’ve gotten where I am without. I’m part of an all-female collective and it feels like a proper sisterhood, everyone is so supportive of each other’s endeavours.” It’s no breaking news that all-female DJ collectives are on the rise within the scene, with more and more popping up across the country, putting on events and showcasing female talent. To that, we say ‘go girl power!’. But the reason for these all-female collectives to exist in the first place is a question to be debated. “Yeah, it’s a tricky one. I think all-girl collectives are great, they do amazing things for representing women, and showing the scene that we are here, we are about, and also offer girls such an incredible and valuable support network. I think girls supporting other girls, especially in this industry, is so important. But, these all-girl collectives needn’t exist if we were just represented in the wider scene. I think everyone in the scene needs to be working towards 50/50 lineups now, just to prove that there is no difference between us skills-wise. I really do think women are on the up at the moment and it’s so inspiring to see more and more girls appearing on lineups nowadays. Big ups to all the ladies who are shelling it down at the moment, you’re all truly badass individuals.”
10 empowering ways to spend international women’s day
Here’s a small list of events going on around the UK on (and around) Thursday 8th of March, in celebration of the world’s wonderful women.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAy: RATTLE, SOS DJS & MORE Thursday March 8th, 7pm – 12am. 5 Broad Street, NG1 3AJ, Nottingham, UK Rough Trade Nottingham are hosting a free event from 7pm, featuring live performances from all-female artists, including Rattle, DJs from the all-female Sisters Of Sound Collective, and many more local artists. Have a boogie to a mix of rock, hip-hop, funk and soul while celebrating sisterhood (and supporting local artists!). Donations are welcome on the door, (£3 suggested), and 100% of all proceeds raised go to Nottingham Rape Crisis Centre. No RSVP necessary.
THE AMAZING NINA SYMONE: WOMEN IN ACTIVISM FILM FESTIVAL Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Road, N15 R4X, London Friday 9th March, 7pm – 10pm Women in Activism Film Festival brings you a collection of films and documentaries curated by Black History Studies celebrating Black Women in Activism. With an aim to highlight the diverse work and experiences of black women around the world through history, the festival offers a rich and inclusive experience of black excellence, and truthful accounts of world history. Tickets are available at www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAy BOOGIE 24 Kitchen Street, L1 0AN, Liverpool Thursday 8th March, 10am – 3am Melodic Distraction and 24 Kitchen Street present a day-tonight celebration of the creative women of Merseyside. Daytime discussions, poetry, choir and interviews with special guests (10am-7pm), an open decks DJ workshop for girls (5pm–7pm), followed by an evening of disco, hip-hop, techno and Japanese synth-pop promises something for everyone. Tickets are available from £3 at www.skiddle.com, and available on the door.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AT SUGAR MUFFINS Sugar Muffins, 8 Cleveland Street, WV1 3HH, Wolverhampton Monday 5th – Saturday 10th March, 1pm – 8pm 1950s rock N’ roll themed diner, Sugar Muffins, celebrates the power of women by bringing you a whole week of live music, along with cocktails, alcoholic shakes and ice cream. Artist Carrie Ann is to perform live vintage 1950s music, and DJ Vikki Scott mixing a range of female recording artists from over the decades. No RSVP necessary.
Women in Media: Panel Discussion Thursday 8th March, 7pm – 9pm GMAC Film, 103 Trongate, G1 5HD, Glasgow To celebrate International Women’s Day, Glasgow Film Crew join GMAC Film, along with some public figures in Scotland’s media, to discuss the issues faced by women in the industry. Join the panel of some of Scotland’s leading TV producers, directors and project managers, for progressive discussion regarding sexism, race, homophobia and many further topics. Tickets are available at womeninmedia.com
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AT THE JAZZ CAFE The Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden, MW1 7PG, London Thursday 8th March, 7pm – 11pm London’s famous Jazz Cafe celebrates International Women’s Day with an evening of soul, RnB and jazz. Live music from Jamaican singer Denia Moore, singer/songwriter Miryam, and South London collective KOKOROKO guarantee energetic, soul-infused sets and good vibes. Tickets cost £12, and are available at www.ticketweb.uk.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAy: collectIVE THERAPY Saturday March 10th, 1pm – 4pm New Art Exchange, 38 Gregory Boulevard, NG7 6BE, Nottingham, UK SheAfriq, a Nottingham-based collective of women of African descent, bring an afternoon full of creativity workshops aimed to empower women. Sessions focus on health, mental health and wellbeing and provide women with an environment for positivity, empowerment and support. SheAfriq aim to create an inspirational space for women to share their experiences, and help each other grow as individuals. No RSVP necessary.
CONCRETE JUNGYALS: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAy Hy-Brasil Music Club, 7 Baldwin Street, BS1 1RU, Bristol Thursday 8th March, 9pm – 3am All-female collective, Concrete Jungyals, celebrates International Women’s Day with a night of comedy, art, live vocals and DJs. Have a boogie to some dubstep, grime, drum N’ bass, and live vocals from a line up balanced with male and female talent, while supporting charity The Circle NGO, which helps to support disempowered women around the world. Tickets are available from £5 at www.headfirstbristol.co.uk, and available on the door.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAy: WOMEN’S JOURNEYS Birmingham Museum, Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH, Birmingham Thursday March 8th, 12pm – 7pm Birmingham Museums offers a free event focused on sharing the experiences of ‘women’s journeys’, that aims to bring together women of diverse backgrounds in Birmingham together by sharing and celebrating them and their journeys. You can also explore the work of local charities and organisations who work with supporting migrants, and take part in creative workshops. Pre-booking advised: tickets are available at www.eventbrite.co.uk.
NASTY WOMEN EXHIBITION: EMPOWERMENT The Black & White Building, 74 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY, London 8th – 10th March, 7pm – 11pm In celebration of International Women’s Day, Creative Debuts has joined forces with Nasty Women New York, Amsterdam, and London to showcase the work of international female artists. See a diverse range of contemporary artwork, including photography, sculpture, fine art and film, while raising money for End Violence Against Women. A limited number of tickets are available at www.eventbrite.co.uk.
In celebration of our first issue, GUM! is offering you the chance to win a pretty banging (if we do say so ourselves) prize bundle. If you’ve not heard of Brainchild, its a Festival is based in East Sussex, and is set to commence between the 13th and 15th of July. A non-profit festival focused on celebrating spirit, art and music, you can expect live music, jam sessions, spoken word and poetry, DJ sets, talks, workshops, film, theatre and installation art- even morining yoga Tickets are on sale for £80, and we’re giving you the opportunity to win two of them- one for you, and one for a mate. But that’s not all- we’re also giving away a £50 Urban Outfitters voucher. Cause’ who wants to go to a festival unequipped with glitter and without a banging outfit? All you need to do to enter and be up for a chance of winning, is head to the GUM! website and sign up for our exclusive mailing list, and enter your name, age (and other bits and pieces), and tell us what feminism means to you. The winner will be announced in the next issue of GUM!, so get on it, and sit tight!
WANT TO WRITE FOR GUM? If you feel passionately about something, want to raise awareness of a certain issue, or simply have an experience you want to share or celebrate, we are listening. GUM! VALUES THE VOICES OF YOUNG PEOPLE, AND We are always looking for writeRs and contributors to grace our pages with progressive and inspiring content. for submission guidelines and information on how to write for gum!, head to our website. we look forward to hearing from you. :-)