Tag Archives: femme a barbe

Femme a Barbe, available online

1 Aug

I still recommended picking up a paper copy from one of the distros that carries Femme a Barbe, but if you don’t have access or just want to read it online, here are scans of the three existing issues (click on the link for the pdf, and please let me know if you have any problems with it).

femmeabarbe1
femmeabarbe2
femmeabarbe3

❤ jb

Submit to Femme a Barbe #4–Deadline July 20th!

26 Jun

Make a spectacle of yourself. Join the Femme a Barbe insurgency!

Femme a Barbe is a zine for bearded ladies and other gender outlaws which seeks to use facial hair as an entry point to discuss issues of identity, embodiment, and resistance. For issue 4, we are calling for art and writing that speaks creatively to queer(ed) facial hair–growing it, removing it, whatever resonates with your experience. Hair, particularly in the “wrong” place on the “wrong” body, is politicized and demonized in gendered and racialized terms in cultural discourses and daily interactions. We seek to reclaim these conversations about our bodies, desires, and lives. [Note: The idea of using hair as an “entry point” implies that we hope submissions might go other places and incorporate other things!]

Some topics we have seen/ would love to see submissions on:
–“performing” beardedness
–facial hair and desire/ attraction/ relationships
–intersectional identities
–PCOS/ pathologization/ disability
–hair removal/ concealment
–politics of “passing”
–magic
–monstrosity
–resistance
etc. etc. etc.

All submissions must be:
5×8, Black and White or Grayscale
Written work should be under approx. 1500 words or, if you submit formatted zine pages, stick to about 5.
Images must be at least 350 dpi and JPEG
please send submissions to sassyfrasscircus [at] gmail [dot] com.

NOTE: This zine is titled Femme a Barbe because of the complicated disciplinary and liberating histories around the cultural figure of the “bearded lady,” but does not in any way limit who can and should submit to this zine. “We of the Femme A Barbe insurgency seek to reclaim the term and the symbol of the “Bearded Lady” for its transgressive potential, not as an identity, but as a weapon.” Past Femme a Barbe contributors represent many different genders and experiences, and we hope to continue to expand the topics and stories that the zine is able to capture.

Vaniqa and African Sleeping Sickness

3 Nov

The other morning in the car, I was somewhat startled to hear the name of the pharmaceutical Vaniqa (Eflornithine), the prescription hair removal cream whose name equally evokes “vanish” and “vanity.” It was mentioned in a Democracy Now interview with medical ethicist Harriet Washington, which primarily dealt with issues of patient consent and biocolonialism. Vaniqa has been recommended to me (without my asking) multiple times by multiple doctors, and was also a site of inquiry for my ongoing Femme a Barbe academic and zine project. Although I have largely set this project aside for the time being, I want to capture this ironic relationship first of all because I had an intense affective reaction, as well as for the purposes of future scholarship.

From the Democracy Now rush transcript:
HARRIET WASHINGTON: Right, right. I think that came to light—the story of eflornithine, for sleeping sickness, is a really good illustration of that. Eflornithine was found to be effective against sleeping sickness. It was one report in Science magazine. And a man who was a doctor caring for Belgian sleeping sickness patients wanted to try it. So he got Paul Schechter of Belgium to give him a sample. He went to Belgium. He went to Sudan. He—sorry, he went to Sudan, and he tested it. And he found it was the best medication ever devised against sleeping sickness. Typically, once you have African sleeping sickness and you slip over into coma, no drug will bring you back. But eflornithine brought people back. And they began calling it the resurrection drug.

So, cheered by this, the person who—the company who held the patent on eflornithine—they were testing it against cancer for Europeans—they decided, “OK, well, let’s try marketing it to the developing world. It works so well.” But they couldn’t make any money, so they quickly stopped. Doctors Without Borders partnered with them, and so, for five years, they provided it free to people in the developing world. But at the end—which is wonderful. I mean, when companies do that, I think that’s very laudable. The problem is, it’s not done enough, and when it is done, it’s usually done for a short period of time. After five years, they withdrew, because they found a new use for eflornithine. Eflornithine is now marketed as Vaniqa. Vaniqa—you might have seen the ads—is a drug for Western women to remove facial hair. So, Western women can afford to pay $50 a month to get rid of their facial hair, but African sufferers of sleeping sickness can’t afford the drug to save their lives. And the company has marketed—chosen to market it only for the hair problem. It doesn’t market it for sleeping sickness. [Emphasis mine]


From a conference paper I presented in 2010:

Vaniqa, like other hair removal methods, profits off of the prevailing cultural myth that woman do not grow hair, and therefore that female facial hair is necessarily pathological. Unlike other hair removal methods, Vaniqa, which works by blocking an enzyme in the hair follicle, is a cosmetic product prescribed by a doctor. This medical intervention reifies the culture of shame around the presence of facial hair in women. The Vaniqa website cites causes of UFH, focusing particularly on the “natural aging process” and “underlying medical conditions,” including obesity and pregnancy. The focus on outsider bodies —the fat body and the old body, compounded by femaleness and of course hairiness—as undesirable represents a project of policing and control over the female body as site of movement or change . The fat, old, or hairy female body pathologized by the culture of products like Vaniqa evokes Bakhtin’s pregnant hag , further theorized to represent the “fear and loathing” of biological processes associated specifically with the female body. In a Vaniqa television spot, the actress speaks directly to the viewing audience regarding her supposed “problem” with Unwanted Facial Hair. She says, “we all try so hard to keep it a secret. But now it’s easy with Vaniqa.” Another woman featured in the advertisement articulates that, “Vaniqa has given me the freedom to be close to people again.” The language of secrecy and freedom evokes the idea not only that facial hair must be hidden, but that women with facial hair themselves must hide or be hidden, as undesirable social outcasts (particularly in the economy of heteronormative sexual desire), with facial hair as a form of bondage that women must be freed from in order to live whole lives. In addition, Vaniqa is only effective as long as it is consistently used; it must be used indefinitely or the user will experience hair regrowth, binding lifelong and constant consumption to both the psychological possibility of self-esteem as well as the freedom from perceived and actual policing of the hairy female body.

I would love to at some point expand this project to better encompass a transnational lens on bicolonialist consumption and gender normativity.

Now back to our regular program…
JB

Femme a Barbe 3 on Etsy

7 Aug

Femme a Barbe 3 is now available on Etsy. There are also a couple copies over at Red Emma’s in Baltimore!

–jb

New Femme a Barbe!

1 Aug

30 pages, 12 contributors. Cover art by Deirdre M. It’s a really great issue, and I will be listing some on Etsy soon! I had a bunch but they all found new homes at the D.C. Zinefest on Saturday.

–jb

The best laid plans (Or, why editing a compilation zine sucks right now)

11 Mar

If you read this blog on the regular, you will know that I have pushed back the submissions deadline for Femme a Barbe 3 multiple times. I have also posted calls for submissions on multiple blogs and distro sites, made a Facebook invite, bugged my friends and gotten many promises of submissions. However, my last deadline has come and gone, and still have received only one submission. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great piece, but…

What is an editor to do? I have done community organizing and D.I.Y. projects for long enough to know that when people are busy, the work that nets the least personal gain is usually the first to go. I am aware that most zine people are notoriously flaky. I am notoriously flaky.

I wonder if I am not receiving submissions because Femme a Barbe as a project has reached its natural end–people are done with this venue of talking about gender and facial hair–and I should just lay it to rest and move on.

But if this is not the case, if people want to continue the conversations taking place in the pages of Femme a Barbe, then please submit. At least comment or send me a message to let me know that you’re planning to submit (or if you think I should give up). I started making zines because I was tired of one-sided conversations. Don’t leave me out in the cold here people.

–jb

Femme a Barbe seeks to promote discussions of identity and desire (and other themes!) through that stuff that grows (or doesn’t grow) on our faces. Whether you love it, hate it, want it, like people who have it, got rid of it or are trying to grow it….Issue 3 has a particular focus on relationships, romance, and attraction, but go ahead, deviate from that and see if i care.

From Issue 1: “To the Secret Freaks: Come with me! Dare to imagine a world full of women with beards and other gender outlaws, to imagine the possibilities of a feminist cultural politic that rejects the bullshit concern that feminism appear normal, a queer cultural politic that rejects the mainstream gay desire to assimilate and consume. Make a spectacle of yourself. Join the Femme a Barbe insurgency!”

All submissions must be:
5×8, Black and White or Grayscale
Images must be at least 350 dpi and JPEG
please send submissions to sassyfrasscircus [at] gmail [dot] com.

playing with linocuts/ call for submissions

24 Dec

i am just starting to teach myself how to do this, as you can probably tell. I had some little scraps of linoleum hanging out, so i figured i would give it a shot.

Let this serve as a reminder that I am taking submissions for Femme a Barbe 3.

Femme a Barbe seeks to promote discussions of identity and desire (mostly) through that stuff that grows (or doesn’t grow) on our faces. Whether you love it, hate it, want it, got rid of it or are trying to grow it….Issue 3 has a particular focus on relationships, romance, and attraction, but go ahead, deviate from that and see if i care.

From Issue 1: “To the Secret Freaks: Come with me! Dare to imagine a world full of women with beards and other gender outlaws, to imagine the possibilities of a feminist cultural politic that rejects the bullshit concern that feminism appear normal, a queer cultural politic that rejects the mainstream gay desire to assimilate and consume. Make a spectacle of yourself. Join the Femme a Barbe insurgency!”

All submissions must be:
5×8, Black and White or Grayscale
Images must be at least 350 dpi and JPEG
please send submissions to sassyfrasscircus [at] gmail [dot] com.

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY MARCH 1, 2011.

❤ jb