Camila Cavalcante is a UK-based Brazilian activist and photographer who has dedicated her career to documenting the lives of women who have been impacted by restrictive abortion laws. Camila’s recent project, Nós Por Todas, (Portuguese for Us For All), explores the idea of the female body as a confrontational space and challenges the stereotypical narrative of women who receive abortions. By photographing the bodies of women who have had illegal abortions and sharing their experiences, Nós Por Todas works to bring urgency to the debate around women’s reproductive rights in Brazil.
It has been a long pilgrimage to a place of self-love. I can see the summit, yet I have not fully and truly arrived.
I have learned to love the steep, wide slopes of my hips, and the soft rotundity of my tum—the droop of my breasts, nodding earthwards as though in reverence; my thick white marble thighs. Continue reading
It’s been a year of powerhouse womxn, fabulous page to screen adaptations, overwhelmingly binge-worthy television, and Fuck-You-Pay-Me music. The babes at Boshemia rounded up their favorite bits of pop culture of 2018. Continue reading
Artful cinema, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s insta, and victim-blaming in Irish court have Boshemia all talking this week. Read below for this week’s instalment of Toots & Boots.
A Star is Born
Lady Gaga is killing it in the recently released A Star is Born. This is her most extensive foray into film (although she has experience in writing and starring in TV, films and documentaries) and the performer is tummy-tinglingly brilliant opposite Bradley Cooper (also the film’s director).
It stars Timotheé Chalamet. Need we say more? We don’t need to but we will anyway. The film details a young drug addict’s (Chalamet) relationship with his father (Steve Carell) as he tries to get clean. Carell delivers a surprisingly poignant performance, given his comedic acting career. Based on the best-selling memoirs of a father and son, the movie (less surprisingly) simmers with authenticity and nuance.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram
Ocasio-Cortez, who is set to become the youngest woman to serve in Congress in US history, has been chronicling her congressperson freshman orientation via instagram story – and we’re loving it! Not only is she delving into what actually goes on during the first 60 days before taking office but she is an example to us all on how to be gracious, grateful and sensitive to her supporters and peers.
Soft Stud by Black Belt Eagle Scout
This six-minute track by Black Belt Eagle Scout, a self-proclaimed ‘radical indigenous queer feminist’ (like her yet?), is perfect to listen to whilst plotting your ‘comeback’ or sitting in the backseat of an Uber, driving through a midnight city.
Hill staffers shaming the very same congress gal
A Hill Staffer photographed Ocasio-Cortez from behind and sent it to Eddie Scarry, a writer at the Washington Examiner who then used it to shame her for wearing a nice suit, using it to argue that she’s faking her financial difficulties (previously she has discussed how she can’t afford an apartment in DC). Scarry tweeted the photo with the caption ‘Hill Staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now. I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles’.
Trump on Remembrance Day
“Rain, rain, go away come again another day – preferably when I have to discuss Stormy Daniels or climate change.” This week Trump skipped a veteran cemetery visit on Armistice day because drizzle grounded his helicopter. Why couldn’t he travel by car? He didn’t want to cause an ‘unexpected disruption to the city and its people’.
Women being blamed if they don’t stick around to provide men emotional labour
After the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, Ariana Grande received a tumult of hate online and in papers for not being supportive enough. This narrative of inattentive women being the root of their partner’s problems is toxic. Faima Bakar outlines the trend in her article for Metro.
Victim blaming in Irish court: #ThisIsNotConsent
In Ireland a man was acquitted of rape after his defence cited his victim’s thong as evidence of her consent. This sparked mass protests across Ireland and social media with people sharing photos of their underwear and laying knickers on the steps of the courthouse. Irish lawmaker Ruth Coppinger, also took out a thong in parliament in solidarity and fought back against the intolerable victim blaming.
Fabulous elections, depressing budgets, generally lovely music… Boshemia are here again to take you through their pop culture peaks and troughs with Toots & Boots!
The Rainbow Wave
So much emotion followed the American Midterm elections this week, but as well as democratic gains and an amazing voter turnout, we have to give a HUGE TOOT to every new representative contributing to a more diverse and progressive American government. Check out E’s lowdown of some sad losses (Beto <3) but also the astounding ‘firsts’ that these people represent.
Ezra Miller’s divine GQ shoot
The actor’s (Perks of Being a Wallflower, We Need To Talk About Kevin) most recent cover shoot for the men’s magazine sees him dressed queer head to toe in lipstick, hot-pink velvet gloves and printed blazers. Not to mention his love sickness-inducing eye contact. Less happy about his involvement in the latest Fantastic Beasts film which stars Johnny Depp.
Noname’s album Room 25
This album is HOT, as is everything Fatimah Nyeema Warner (A.K.A Noname) produces. It’s bold, black, poetic perfection. If you’re new to her music, start with Telefone and you’ll soon be addicted.
Believed – a podcast from NPR
This cutting series explores how Larry Nassar, the Olympic Doctor for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, got away with sexual abuse for so long and how he was brought to justice.
Paris Against Trump
The protests are planned against the president’s visit to France’s Capital this weekend. Recently rattled by the midterm results, hopefully our folk on the Parisian ground can shake him up some more. Follow @parisagainsttrump for details.
Some live music toots
Parcels: a funkin’ pop band who synthed their way into V’s heart this week with their glittering performance in Leeds. Andy Shauf: a ‘dreamy long-haired, folksy, crooning Canadian’ one of our beloved designers is seeing live as I write.
Pamela Anderson on modern Feminism: ‘it paralyzes men’
Stopping perpetrators of sexual assault and violence in their tracks and undermining their power is something we should be aspiring to. The idea that making men pause, think about consent and be held accountable for their actions is going ‘too far’ is completely bananas.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg being hospitalised
After a fall at the office, RBG has been hospitalised with three fractured ribs. With Brett Kavanaugh newly sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court where the pair serve, we need this fierce woman on top form now more than ever. We’re sure she’ll still be cutting some serious side eye from the bedside though. Get well soon RBG!
The UK budget’s latest claim that ‘austerity is coming to an end’
This week Phillip ‘fiscal Phil’ Hammond made the happy announcement whilst piling yet more money into a fragile and regressive Universal Credit system. We call BS.
by Alex Nolan.
In queer circles we fervently idolise certain female celebrities, but why? What qualities do these women share that make them a beacon to us? Perhaps there is commonality among them, or perhaps The Gays™ just have the best taste. I’ve selected some personal favourite icons, and tried to find the links.
Okay, Gaga was an obvious one. She’s been popular in the LGBT+ community (and it would be remiss to ignore the fact that she is bisexual, and therefore part of our community) since she broke into her industry. Born This Way is a quintessential acceptance anthem and I don’t think I’ve gone to Pride and not heard it. It’s arguable that Gaga is an icon because she made herself into one. In 2008 she offered us her own gay dance-pop artform of a soul and we said yes please. Well, straights thought it was weird but the gays knew it was art. She cultivated her eccentric and beautiful style and made the world pay attention.
But I don’t think that it’s just her immense contribution to music that made the queer community fall in love with her. She has long been a loud voice in advocacy for LGBT+ rights. In September 2010 she spoke at a rally for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” amidst an ongoing tour. In a reference to the meat dress she wore at that years MTV Music Awards she said:
Equality is the prime rib of America, but because I am gay, I don’t get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer.
Unafraid to declare herself as one of us, she spoke in fervent passion for a repeal that then seemed like it had little chance of success. She deplored Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military and protested his presidency outside Trump tower.
So, everyone loves Beyoncé, yeah? Queer people especially love her, and it’s probably because every second of her career has been an iconic moment. As one of the best-selling music artists in the world Beyoncé has endured where many others have faded into obscurity. And how many drunk white gay boys have shuffled awkwardly across a club dance floor to Single Ladies? (Me, I’m one of them, I’m guilty). And let’s not forget smash-hit collaboration with Gaga, Telephone, which single-handedly caused our community to implode.
What has solidified queer support of Beyoncé is her willingness to speak out on LGBT+ causes. In 2013 she voiced her support for equal marriage with a statement on Instagram. On tour in 2016, she spoke out about the North Carolina Bathroom bill and in 2017 also openly opposed Trump’s removal bathroom protections for transgender students. Her willingness to use her huge platform to support us earned dedication from a large queer fanbase.
Queen of Genovia, Queen of our hearts. Do the Princess Diaries films count as queer cinema? I’ve watched both so many times that I have just decided the answer is yes. Hathaway, despite being one of the top-earning women in her field (and in 2015 the highest) is often pegged as “too serious”, “inauthentic” or “over-eager” by her critics and the public. But in queer circles, she is revered as one of our staunchest allies. It’s not difficult to see why – Hathaway has repeatedly defended our rights and supported LGBTQ+ causes. In 2008 she said at the HRC Dinner:
I’m not being brave, I’m being a decent human being. And I don’t think I should receive an award for that. Or for merely stating what I believe to be true: that love is a human experience, not a political statement.
When I was fourteen and first heard that speech, it felt like a radical statement. Princess Mia had stepped out of my childhood and told me that she was there for me – it wasn’t quite so difficult being in the closet anymore. And again this year, a decade after that speech, Hathaway spoke again at the same event:
It is important to acknowledge with the exception of being a cisgender male, everything about how I was born has put me at the current centre of a damaging and widely-accepted myth That myth is that gayness orbits around straightness, transgender orbits around cisgender, and that all races orbit around whiteness.
Hathaway acknowledges her privilege alongside her support of us, and that makes her support feel all the more genuine.
The not-so-subtle conclusion I’m drawing here – famous women are better LGBT+ voices and allies than men. I may have only picked three women here – but that’s for brevity’s sake. Men who speak for us are most often one of us. Our straight male supporters might offer near-nude shoots in gay men’s magazines, but that’s hardly enough (and it hammers home my point when women are just often the focus of articles in said magazines). It was easy to research the accomplishments and support these women have offered to our community – because that information is so readily available. Our icons are so often women because they are visibly and actively supporting us – so they receive our love in return. It should not be difficult to support equality, and it is not too much to ask.
For more by Alex Nolan, see Yas Hunty // Unpacking Gay Pop Culture with Tom and Alex
“Is he a friend of Dorothy?”
This phrase dates back to at least World War 2 as slang for “what sexual orientation is he?” When acts of homosexuality were still criminalised, slang was needed to discern the gays from the str8’s. But why friend of Dorothy? Who is Dorothy, why does she have so many friends?
We are, of course, talking about Dorothy Gale, lead character of The Wizard of Oz, played to perfection by Judy Garland. Judy Garland and Gay Icon are practically synonymous; she’s the original gay icon, so of course, it makes sense that we start our series with her. Sparkly red heels on everyone, let’s analyse the gay icon, Judy Garland.
To the younger readers who don’t spend their spare time listening to Old Hollywood podcasts and playing Mid Century dress up (clocked), Judy was an old Hollywood icon, known for her roles in The Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born, as well as her vast musical and TV career.
Garland was also known for major personal struggles including substance abuse, multiple failed marriages, suicide attempts and financial ruin. Death and time have been kind to her, as modern audiences are less aware that, at one time, she was a joke within the Hollywood circles, and was often eviscerated by tabloid papers back in the day.
In the 30’s Garland was signed by MGM and started to co-star in a bunch of milquetoast comedies alongside leading man Mickey Rooney. Sadly, Garland was never the lead actress or the vision of desire; she was the girl the next door, the undesirable friend of Mickey Rooney who had a harmless, yet unrequited crush. She was forced to wear a prosthetic nose, frilly, juvenile dresses, and even teeth caps. The studio pumped her with the party mixture of amphetamines and barbiturates (how else are you supposed to stay awake at work then go to sleep? Normal circadian rhythm? Nah m8) and forced her on constant diets. Her teenage / young adult stardom left her with lifelong self-esteem and body issues, as well as a penchant for narcotics washed down in alcohol. There’s definitely some queer relatability to always being seen as undesirable to the object of your affection, feeling uncomfortable and undesirable in your own body, and being forced to wear a costume in which you can’t be yourself.
In 1947, an overworked and addicted Judy suffered a nervous breakdown whilst filming The Pirate, and attempted suicide for the first time by lightly cutting her wrists with broken glass. Salacious Hollywood rumour has it that this was triggered by coming home from set one day and finding her then-husband Vincent Minelli (dad of Liza) in bed with another man.
True or not, Judy was put in a sanatorium by the studio; this started a string of multiple failed recoveries, weight gain, weight loss, more weight loss, pills, rehab, showing up to work late, working too hard, not working hard enough, booze, pills, financial instability and even more pills. She was eventually dropped by MGM in 1950 after 15 years following another suicide attempt; MGM released a public statement playing Judy’s hysteria and manic mood, and she became international tabloid fodder.
She essentially became a Hollywood joke and didn’t make a big comeback until 1954’s A Star Is Born, a three-hour camp spectacle about Hollywood, fame, and the perils thereof. Despite difficulties on set, Judy Garland is fantastic in it; she shines on screen, is both over the top whilst remaining relatable, her voice is raw with both joy an heartbreak, and her Oscar loss is still known as one of the biggest snubs. It was around this time that Judy’s gay following started to rise; they related to the girl who was down on her luck and ended up on the big screen in androgynous gender-bending outfits looking fantastic. They related to her persistence; she was all but a washed-up has-been, an ended up being a major leading lady. Having grown up in a system that seemed hell-bent upon demeaning and destroying her, Judy’s career was inherently telling a story of survival and persistence; her tragedies became so well known that everything she did after was inspirational; especially to fellow people whom the world seemed hell-bent upon destroying or changing or shaming. Her vulnerability and courage made her an icon to a queer audience.
“It was precisely the quality that was the cause of all the pain that was also appealing to her audience. When she sang, she was vulnerable. There was a hurt in her voice that most other singers don’t have.” –Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars in Society by Richard Dyer
What’s more, A Star is Born, and probably the rest of Judy Garland’s career, which largely became concerts and tours, is camp as hell. Defining camp has become a whole discourse in itself; Richard Dyer describes it as “a characteristically gay way of handling the values, imaged and products of the dominant culture through irony, exaggeration, trivialisation, theatricalization an an ambivalent making fun of and out of the serious and respectable.” For all of Judy’s tragedy she handled it with a camp affect; when asked whether her life was tragic, she replied “Why do people insist on seeing an aura of tragedy around me always? My life isn’t tragic at all. I laugh a lot these days. At myself, too. Lord, if I couldn’t laugh at myself I don’t think I’d be alive.”
I mean werq.
There’s a camp theatricality to all old Hollywood stars, even more so when looking back now; the over-earnestness of her serious roles are camp, exaggeration of her ordinary-ness in her early roles was camp, but Judy wasn’t just seen as camp on screen; she was it. When asked how she could portray the intensity of one of the scenes in A Star Is Born over two long takes, she replied “Oh that’s nothing. Come over to my house any afternoon. I do it every afternoon. But I only do it once at home.” Similarly, she once said that she had “the rainbow up [her] asked,” when a fan begged her not to forget “Over the Rainbow.” (Which, to be fair, how could anyone in the world forget “Over the Rainbow?”)
In the late 50s/ early 60’s, Judy was broke and working her ass off doing concerts, TV shows and tours to keep ends meet. These shows were often intimate; she’d form an emotional connection to the audience, especially, as one reporter put it, “the men in tight trousers.” The queer community felt protective over her, and she was considerably accepting over them. When asked about her gay following, Garland replies that she performed “for people,” and she was a known patron of gay bars with fellow openly gay friends like Charles Walters and George Cukor.
After years of working her ass of singing and struggling to get more Hollywood roles, Judy Garland died June 22nd, 1969. Her funeral was held on June 27th, and in the early hours of June 28th, the Stonewall riots began, essentially starting the Gay Rights movement of the 20th Century. Some historians find it frivolous to connect Garland’s death to the riots; the riots were started by disenfranchised youth and trans people – not necessarily the same people who could afford tickets to a Judy Garland show. Others claim that her death stirred something in the Stonewall clientele that evening. That’s what people were talking about that evening at Stonewall, and during the riots, people were overheard chanting “St Judy St Judy Pray For Us.” The anger had been building up for weeks, but some argue that Judy’s funeral is what tipped it over the edge.
Judy was ordinary, yet camp. She was feminine, yet androgynous. She was tragic, yet she persevered. She had all the makings of the quintessential gay icons and may drag queens and performers let her legacy live on forever.