SWOP Behind Bars

We were honored to be asked to donate a copy of Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking to this amazing project that seeks to put books about sex work and sex workers’ rights in the Lowell Women’s Correctional Institution in Ocala, FL.

Here are a few more details, via email from one of the organizers:

SWOP Behind Bars has been created to create a connection between people who are imprisoned and our amazing community of sex workers activists and advocates. We have been invited to participate in the creation of a pilot program in Lowell Womens Prison in Ocala Florida … that seeks to provide resources for people who will be released within the next 24 months.

This is a really big deal as it is quite unusual for a prison to allow – and in this case encourage – sex worker friendly material freely accessible in the prison library.

Please also note that the website for the project states:

You may send books that do not have anything to do with sex work or sex worker rights.  The ladies like novels, poetry, short stories, self help books, biographies, historical fiction and non-fiction, auto-biographies, GED study guides and How-To or DIY manuals. The program directors have encouraged us to send books on addiction and recovery as well.

Perhaps you have a few titles that might work in the library? Get in touch.

Comics Undressed request!

Friends,

As we round the final corners of this long, long, documentary-making process on this International Women’s Day, we have a request. We’d like to you to be involved directly in the film—possibly even in it. We have some questions and we’d love to hear what you have to say. Your feedback will be used to bolster the film’s message and narrative as we summarize our findings and thoughts.

Feel free to respond in writing or in video —  we may use your words to accompany our animation or we may include your video directly in the film. You can leave comments below, or reach us at ladydrawersdocumentary@gmail.com — we’ll be integrating feedback through the month.

Here are the questions:

  • What do you think the top 5 biggest or most interesting changes have been in the cultural sphere of comics, geek culture, and nerddom in the past few years, especially in regards to representation on the page, on the screen, and behind the scenes?
  • What has been the most significant change and how has it affected you?
  • What gives you hope, and what makes you ambivalent, hesitant, or nervous?

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts, and even more, we can’t wait to share the final product with you.

Ladydrawers at Harper College

We gave a super fun talk yesterday on gender, comics, and radical investigative methodologies at Harper College, where the delightful Brian Cremins invited us to yammer about what we do. Rivven made these amazing cow aprons, in honor of Sheika’s love of our bovine friends, and Anne had to wear regular clothes and look professional so they would let us in the door in the first place.

Thanks, Harper students, for coming out to draw with us yesterday!

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Photo by Brian Cremins.

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Reads like a graphic novel … except it’s non-fiction

“If you care about the general welfare of women, and all people around the world, this book is for you.” There are quite a few gems in this very, very early review of Threadbare from Portland Book Review, and we couldn’t be more excited to read it!

PBR says the work of comics journalism “reads almost like a graphic novel with a loosely connected plot, except it’s non-fiction. … Otherwise, the drawings and the cited research compel the reader to finish this quick read and feel uneasy in his or her very clothes.” The reviewer even concludes (correctly, according to our research) that, “Despite the belief of some people, anti-trafficking efforts make life harder for sex workers.”

International Comics Survey deadline: May 15

Our International Comics Survey—currently available in EnglishFinnishGermanLatvian, and Spanish—has a brand new deadline: May 15. Don’t stress out! We’re doing this because we’ll be running the data in an exciting Chicago-based workshop with our international feminist cohort starting at the end of May, and then turning them into comic scripts—or maybe even comics—during our Finnish residency in July.

To be specific, we are hoping for 100 Spanish and Latvian respondents by mid-May, 85 more German respondents, and 30 more English respondents. That should get us going in the Spring!

It’s a long survey, but it’s the information we need. Therefore, after you have filled it out, you can request a brief neck massage from The Ladydrawers or the next time you’re seated near us at a convention.

We are also actively seeking Swedish, Malay, Russian, French, and Japanese translators; if you’d like to pitch in, we’d love to work with you!

 

Growing Season: not over yet!

A Ladydrawers Meeting

Our quest to explore connections between food policy, public health, and race in comics form won’t end until March, but we thought we’d drop an update on you in the mean time. Our first update traced the humble origins of our project from a local Chicago artist’s garden to native food gathering traditions in Washington State (with Sarah Becan); then highlighted connections between food policy, consumption, and race in two strips about a farm collective on the East Coast (with Melissa Mendes) and a final strip by Sarah  Becan on the origins and machinations of food law.

Epidemic (drawn by Mendes, excerpted above) took a slightly more personal turn, and looked at the growing numbers of autoimmune diseases among members of our own comics collective, while Sheika Lugtu followed it up by illustrating a strip called … Like Lupus, in which specific racialized implications of these diseases and their treatments are discussed.

…Like Lupus promo

We’re excited to have active Ladydrawers member Sheika working with us on this strip (above), and on the final two in the series (still upcoming.) She’s an amazing force of fun and smarts!

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We’re equally excited to have brought Laura Ķeniņš on board the strip, a Canadian resident who’s worked with us since her days in Latvia. She drew The Sixth Mass Extinction, a look at soil diversity through the work of Chicago-based artist Claire Pentecost, and (below) Superbug Apocalypse! A look at a potential impact of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on public health. (Fortunately for us, although unfortunately for the world, the publication of this piece coincided with a BBC report on the actual pending superbug apocalypse, so it’s been quite a popular strip.)

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In the months ahead, Laura will illustrate a piece on meat processing and disease, and Sheika’s final two strips will look at violence as a public health crisis. These will, again, probably hit kind of close to home, so keep an eye out for them, only at Truthout.