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“Ladyfest: Sisters instead of rivals”: An email interview with Carr from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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Carr, a punk rock musician, discusses gender-free feminism, creative empowerment, and creating a culture of helping each other out.

Please introduce yourself!
25 years old/young, secretary, part time DIY booker. I play in a band, The Tommies.

How does Ladyfest relate to your feminism?
I see Ladyfests as a creative way of empowerment between women/genderless/etc; as a third wave of feminism. Ladyfest didn’t introduce me to feminism, but made feminism less like a “dirty word”. Feminism these days is not about using gender to limit you - it also means emancipation for men. I always saw feminism as a way of living your life however you please, such as having babies and becoming a stay at home mom - if that’s what you want, don’t let expectations limit you!

What was your first Ladyfest experience like?
Ladyfest Amsterdam 2002 - It was great [but] I did experience some feminism in which “being a girl” was not allowed. I, as a skirt and pink wearing little princess, felt there was a huge tendency as to “who could be the biggest bad ass boy kicking feminist activist”.

Why are Ladyfests needed?
People are still amazed to see powerful women with guitars who dare to have a voice and use it; or artists who express themselves without boundaries. Some days I am totally anti-ladyfest and somedays I love the whole “girls united” feel of it.

When I first started playing guitar in a punkrock band, I really needed to see examples. Women who were actually just as good as men (or better). Whenever I visited a guitarshop to buy something, the guys in the store would talk to me like I didn’t know what I was looking for or how to use it. I got those reactions so many times, that I needed a little reassurance: I’m not the only one doing this.

I am very happy to see women as my sisters instead of my rivals. Which for me is the only reason Ladyfests are still needed today. The world gets really mean and we need some support. Also, as long as a man makes more money than me doing the same sort of work, I am all for awareness and connecting with the women around me.

What does do-it-yourself (DIY) mean to you?
Giving and taking. It’s about creating a culture of “helping each other out”.

In your opinion, how can Ladyfest evolve?
By focussing more on gender emancipation for all. But than maybe it wouldn’t be a Ladyfest, but just a fest. Boys can support the cause too, so don’t exclude them.

What practical advice can you give to someone wanting to organise a feminist event?
Keep an open mind; don’t be as sexist as the people you are fighting against.

Affiliated organisation: 
Ladyfest Amsterdam 2002
Red Chidgey and Elke Zobl
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