A few weeks back I promised you that the Awesome Lady Squad would be soon bringing you its LADYFESTO. In case you don’t remember I said that this document was about
…asserting the things we believe to be true into the world around us: that women are not lesser qualified or weaker, that our work is not niche or in addition to. It’s knowing that there is a space in which those views are supported and those intentions are believed in. It’s a promise that if we are able to articulate it, others will eventually understand the beliefs we know to be true.
Well guess what? It’s here. So, at long last and after great amounts of work we bring you:
THE AWESOME LADY SQUAD LADYFESTO
We*, the Awesome Ladies of the Awesome Lady Squad, hold these most awesome truths to be our evident and awesome tenets:
1) We believe art is powerful and necessary.
- As artists, we have the power to capture and reflect the human experience
- As artists, we have a super power in our ability to influence the broader culture with our work
2) We believe in supporting and celebrating our community of Awesome Lady artists
- We see our artistic landscape as abundant and plentiful of opportunity and resource and do not subscribe to model of competition and scarcity
- We believe that the successes of our peers are beneficial to all of us
- We believe in mentoring Awesome Ladies of the future and preserving the legacy of current Awesome Lady artists
3) We believe in an Awesome Lady’s equal worth as an artist
- We believe in our right to a place in the field and that our artistic products are not “niche”
- We believe our community should be a safe and respectful place for us as creators
- We believe in equitable pay for equitable work and in the value of parity of representation for all artists in all aspects of our field – on and off stage, in the board room, and on grant committees
4) We believe that being a Lady can inspire us but it does not limit or define who we are
- We see the perspectives and tools we develop as Lady artists as being of value
- We believe a Lady artist is a multitude of things and that a variety of different experiences and identities intersect within each individual Awesome Lady
- We believe in challenging assumptions of what “female” art can be
- We believe our gender is not the only lens through which we understand our individual experience of the world and the work we make
5) We believe in supporting other marginalized groups
- We recognize that our voice is not the only voice that is under-represented in our artistic community
- We believe that the more representative our work is of our community’s diverse population, the richer and more connective it becomes
6) We believe in taking action according to these principles
- We believe hard truths need to be stated publically and that there is value in honest and open critique of the mainstream
- We believe in being uncompromising in our refusal to tolerate such oppressions
- We believe in the power of the collective to dissolve damaging narratives and structures
*Expanding on a couple definitions:
Who are “we”?
We are Awesome Ladies who are inclusive of race, age and sexual orientation. We are ladies who are contained in a variety of body shapes and come from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. We can be funny, or not. We are experimenters or follow in a long line of canonical learning. We are history challengers and embracers, listeners and talkers. We are as varied a number of things as can be imagined. The one thing we share is our inherent Awesomeness.
Why call yourselves “Ladies”?
Words like “female”, “gender”, “woman” etc have long and complex histories and definitions that are in a constant state of flux. While some members of the squad may identify with all, some or none of these identities, the intent behind “Lady” is to create a new label that is self-applied for those who believe they have a kinship with the identity of the Awesome Lady Squad.
In other words, an Awesome Lady is an Awesome Lady because they define themselves as such.
And that’s why they’re part of the Awesome Lady Squad.