FEM.ALE Brewster Beer Festival


2 years ago, the first FEM.ALE festival launched in Norwich. This year, they’re back, with not one but TWO festivals – the first in Brighton, and the second in Norwich. It’s a 3-day event that focuses on female brewers and the women who love to drink beer, and will include beer tastings, live music, and female-brewed beer available. We’ve interviewed Erica Horton, the brains behind the event, for the next issue of Parallel – but ahead of their Brighton event, here’s a throwback to editor Sophie’s first interview with her 2 years ago.


The beer industry is quite possibly one of the most male-orientated industries out there, with women mainly making their appearances in the advertisements, on the logos, or behind the bar pulling the pints. And when beer companies do decide to attempt to target women, they do so with fruity flavours or low-calorie drinks, with one company even developing a “less gassy” brand specifically for women. I talked to Erica, who is a member of the Norwich Feminist Network, about why a female-focused beer event is so important, and what her feelings are about the beer industry as a whole.

Sophie Elliott: How did the idea of FEM.ALE come about?

Erica Horton: I’m part of the Norwich feminist network, who have meeting regularly to discuss local and international feminist issues. We wanted to have more of a casual meeting and go for drinks and stuff, and the more we talked about it the more we realised that a lot of the women enjoy drinking beer, so we thought we’d have a beer event but make it a bit more female orientated.

S.E: Why did you want to have an alternative festival to specifically celebrate female brewers?

E.H: The beer industry itself has lots of problems with reaching women, in terms of acknowledging that women are doing some really amazing things with beer. There are women brewing some really interesting things and there are some really great networks set up at the moment for women and female brewers – such as Project Venus, which is a network of women dedicated to educating women about beer, and who brew together every couple of months – so there was a great opportunity to draw attention to that and to celebrate it. Norwich is a city that loves beer and ale and quite a lot of women do like to drink it here, but elsewhere there are lots of problems with how women are represented within the production, distribution and serving, and consuming of beers. I’ve always noticed that quite often the beer taps will have a picture of a woman on it and the beer itself will be named after a woman, and I find that deeply upsetting because it is a form of commodifying women.

S.E: Let’s talk about advertising for beer companies. Do you think the degrading images of women mean it’s difficult for female brewers to be taken seriously? And do you think the male-orientated marketing puts off potential female beer drinkers?

E.H: I think that advertisements like that misrepresent women, and use them as a form of selling beer as opposed to depicting them making or buying it. Someone tweeted me the other day saying that beer is marketed towards men because that’s the bigger market, but by what definition is that a bigger market? There are more women in the world so surely that’s the bigger market? We’d like to change the idea that it is all for men. I’ve had tweets from people asking me if there are going to be women at the event wearing t-shirts soaked in beer, and stuff like that, and it’s horrible. Consistently it’s the bigger breweries that are encouraging this culture, like Fosters, and Stella, who are trying to make their advertisements more sophisticated but are still degrading women, and Budweiser, whose advertisements are absolutely ridiculous. So yes, advertising is definitely a big problem in how women are represented as brewers, beer makers and professionals.

S.E: Why do you think it’s important for women to get into beer brewing? Do you think your event will influence or inspire people to get into it?

E.H: That was one of the things I was interested in, for example getting women into the idea of home brewing. It’s a very different process to industrial or commercial brewing, which I didn’t know until I spoke to Jo C, a Norfolk Brewster who’s going to be doing a beer tasting at the event. She was saying how she can’t really recommend any tips for home brewing because she doesn’t know anything about it, because she makes big industrial tanks of beer. We hope to make women more visible in this industry, and to get more women together to talk about their experience and knowledge as professionals who know what they’re doing. I think it’s important to celebrate women striving in male-orientated industries, and to get all these women together in one place to mobilise their understanding and encourage other people.

S.E: What do you hope to get out of FEM.ALE? What’s the message you want people to take away with them?

E.H: It’s a great opportunity to celebrate women who are in the beer industry, and to create a nice women-friendly space. Obviously it’s inclusive and men should definitely come along as well, but to create one space in this city of ale beer festival where it’s particularly female-orientated would be really nice. It’s something that the feminist network was very interested in. Big groups of women, drinking beer? Brilliant.


The FEM.ALE 3-day event takes place on the 6th-8th of May in Brighton, and the 3rd-5th of June in Norwich. You can catch our updated interview with Erica, about the last 2 years of FEM.ALE, in the next issue of Parallel, due out in May!


An Interview With… Laura Fischer


Laura Fischer is the Co-founder of Onen Ena, a cross-disciplinary Art Collective. I first met Laura in 2014, before Onen Ena was born, and I could see that she was moving towards great things. Since then, she’s continued working on her art and multiple projects.  We talk about female experiences and art, activism and collaboration.

Laura Fischer

You recently launched your freelance business Onen Ena. Can you explain what Onen Ena is?

Meaning “One Soul” in Cornish, ONEN ENA symbolises the unity and equality of all art forms and artists alike. It’s as much a concept and a way of approaching the world as it is a tangible creative entity. We believe that raw creativity and the real richness of Art lies in the grey zone, the blurry borders between the different art forms, which is why the ONEN ENA Art projects aim for the different art forms to flirt with each other, merge and blur. This approach of Art without borders not only implies a change in which it is practiced but also in which it is experienced by the audience and in which role they play, as well as its relationship to other disciplines such as philosophy or physics, for example. Art in this way has a natural inclination for collaborative work and thus aims to bring people and their ideas together. Exchange being one of our core values, we give workshops and classes focusing either on Visual Art or Musical Art (or both) where we work with people in much the same way as we work ourselves; helping them unlock what is beheld inside rather than imposing traditional schools of thought onto them. They have as much to give as we do!

On a personal level, ONEN ENA is the bloomed flower of years of sowing a seed-idea. Throughout my career, I was constantly labelled different things. In one world, I was a Ballerina and Contemporary Dancer, in another I was a Photographer and Filmmaker, whilst in a third I was being awarded prizes in Literature, in a forth I was studying Performance Design and Practice, and a fifth I was working as an external examiner in Mathematics and Physics. But perhaps most ingrained than any other, having had my drawings and paintings exhibited since I was 12 years old, I was a Visual Artist or, frustratingly, a “Fine Artist”*. For me though, it was quite simple: I was doing what I felt passionate about. In my mind, there was no title, no box. Just fascination, curiosity, ambition and stubbornness. Each of these mediums came from the same instincts and used the same intelligence, so they naturally fed off each other and influenced one another. My idea of combining all of these was the obvious conclusion of the tension between these externally-labelled different things that to me were one and the same: creativity. ONEN ENA has just taken off, not all of this is visible yet, but be sure that there are many more flowers yet to blossom from the ONEN ENA garden in my mind!

* “’Fine Art’” is a term I feel is obsolete; Art is no longer defined by a criteria founded by our definition of beauty, though it is an aim that still drives the work of some artists. Its purpose goes much beyond that of being aesthetically pleasing; Art is a means of expression, freedom of speech, claiming the right to be, and a tool to perceive the world without the obstructive vales that society often places upon our eyes” – Laura

Gut Girls - performance - Laura Fischer

Gut Girls

What do you think is the importance of collaborative art?

In the case of ONEN ENA, collaboration is essential in order to develop this idea of Art explained above. Different perceptions, different skills, different trades and different cultures create a richer, more challenging, more vibrant palette. Only such a palette can claim to shake the definition of Art in an attempt to redefine it.

In a broader sense, the psychology of the process of a true collaboration is a profound interdependence. The sense of the boundary of the self is lifted. You are relieved from what you think you are and therefore what you need to be. This I feel allows for a shared breathing space, one in which each individual is of equal value. I think that if you succeed in creating such a space where people feel their intellects are being drawn upon, they will start to live in that space and qualities will expand.


Your partner, musician Daniel Woodfield, is the co-founder of Onen Ena. As two professional creatives, was this the natural next step of your relationship?

Yes, it was the natural direction of our relationship. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “step”. “Direction” is more appropriate because it didn’t happen in stages; it grew along with our relationship. Soon after our journey together started, he asked me what this big project of mine was. It didn’t yet have a name, but as I explained the concept to him I saw this light in his eyes. He didn’t say anything then, but I knew we had had the same thought: this was going to be our big project. Not only did it felt right to do this as one but it also made sense from a purely business point of view: we hold the same values, perceive and approach things in the same way, think scarily similarly, yet have perfectly complementary skills. Whilst able to overview the visual and movement-based aspects, I wouldn’t feel comfortable being in charge of the music which is of course an essential part of creative projects. He, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite.


What struggles have you encountered with the creation of Onen Ena?

I haven’t encountered many problems with the creation of ONEN ENA as such. The struggles have been with my health. I’ve had severe health issues the last 18 months, which inadvertently had an impact on the development of the project. But eventually ONEN ENA took off anyway. It didn’t wait for us to be ready, it seemed as though it had decided it was time. We were offered an exhibition in a fancy space in the City of London and the paintings dressing the marble walls were those I did whilst being very ill and in need of expressing. This, to me, was a strong symbol. That’s when we launched the website. However, ONEN ENA as it is now is the baby of a bigger project. We planned our long-term vision before tailoring an adapted version for the present and near future. Scaling it up is where it’s going to become difficult. But challenges allow for creative solutions, so we are prepared!

At The Crack of Dawn - Butoh-inspired performance - Laura Fischer

At the Crack of Dawn

You’ve been working to aid Syrian Refugees. What work have you been doing and what do you think others could do to help?

I only do my bit. I had been thinking of ways I could have a positive impact on the refugee crisis, whatever the scale of my reach, it seemed clear that I – like everybody else – should be doing something. With my health being so unstable, I felt quite restricted. So I decided to start small. The initial plan was to join my sister Aurelia who had left for Hungary to do some volunteering work wherever was needed as there was a high influx of refugees. But things changed and escalated rapidly. As soon as she arrived, the borders closed. She and some other volunteers she met there drove to Slovenia where they heard people were forced to change their route to due to the closing of the borders.

They arrived in a transition camp at the border between Slovenia and Croatia where thousands and thousands of people were enclosed behind bars without any food, water, medical attention or warm clothes. I won’t give graphic examples of the horrific things she reported to me, but in an audio message she sent me she described in tears these “modern concentration camps”. That’s when we understood I could be of more help from the outside. No one was allowed in the camps and no media was allowed to cover this story; all were either restricted access or censored. So instead of going on the ground, mine and Daniel’s role was to coordinate between the ground and the outside world; get the information out, raise awareness, funds and supplies.

Contacting the media and people in government proved one thing: it was all down to us as individuals. We didn’t sleep and at times it felt almost hopeless, but then we realised not only how much power a single individual can have but how it is precisely by not being affiliated to any official organisation that one can be so impactful. The situation evolved rapidly. Aurelia was invited by the Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Slovenia who made their group of volunteers the official one in charge of the camp, then they were received at the headquarters of the UN in Vienna, and finally, as a result of this chain of action and hope for Humanity, the association Individuals United (In’U) was created. In’U acts as an umbrella structure for all individuals with a common objective of support and help to any human being suffering – currently focusing on the most pressing matter; the refugee crisis. ONEN ENA is now an Honorary Member of In’U and we had the honour to launch the association together in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the 11th [December 2015].

This is just one story. There are many, many stories yet to be written by individuals like you and me. If you are not sure where to begin, start small. What is paramount is to speak, to talk about it to friends and family, on social media, by email, by post to your local MP. Staying informed, signing appropriate petitions, contacting the news. Showing you care. Raising funds, collecting warm clothes and medical supplies. Following and supporting the work of organisations you trust. Donate whatever you can. In’U and ONEN ENA are quite active, if you are uncertain about big organisations, it might be a good place to start.

Whatever you do, don’t ever give in to the thought that just one drop is too little in the ocean. That drop has ripples.


Are art and politics linked?

In my opinion, yes! As Artists, we have the unique ability to act upon what is happening in the world and express it through a universal language. I believe every Artist has a responsibility to be aware of the society he/she/they live in – how they act upon it is then their choice. For me personally, Art and Politics are strongly connected. Having always been quite politically engaged, Art not only helps me to express and channel my emotions, but also allows for a scream to be heard, a point of view to be seen, a different audience to be engaged, a debate to be triggered and the potential for a chain of action.

When I was 13 or 14 years old in Switzerland, a right-wing political party launched their new advertising campaign showcasing white sheep kicking black sheep out of the country. Yes. Seriously. To the contrary of the Swiss-German part, the French-speaking part of Switzerland was outraged (there is always this division). It was obvious people needed to do something about it. Posters were torn or tagged. But their ad was very clever; it was so simple and so visual that absolutely everybody understood it and remembered it – regardless of whether it was then destroyed or altered. So I decided to use exactly the same process and create political posters of my own, using lots of satire and irony. My drawings were shown in a big theatre, then in the newspaper. Whilst they may not have changed the politics of the country, I would like to think they have influenced or encouraged some people to vote (especially considering I wasn’t old enough to vote myself!). Art seems to have this beautiful capacity to be tailored to the situation and the audience; I don’t think any other medium would have had that reach.


Do you feel like your experiences as a woman inspire your art work?

Yes, definitely. They aren’t the only life experiences that influence me, but my experiences as a woman certainly are some of the most inspiring. As a young feminine woman, I find myself on the receiving end of sexual harassment on a near-to-daily basis. Considering the nature of Parallel magazine, I don’t think I need to expand on that. You probably know exactly what I mean. This, and one of these situations in particular, greatly inspires my work. I believe any bad holds the potential to be utilised for good. I would not wish for anyone to have to go through this specific event I am referring to (though sadly many have, do and will), but having lived it offers me a precious insight that can be used to create work that can raise awareness, attempt to break a long-standing taboo and hopefully help others. I won’t go much more into detail as ONEN ENA will soon be releasing “The Awareness Project” touching on this subject and on women’s rights.

The Awareness Project - Laura Fischer

The Awareness Project

What advice would you give to aspiring young artists?

I don’t have more valuable advice than that can be found in the heart of each Artist so as long as they are true to themselves. They can each get more answers from within than I could ever give anyone.


Interview by Jodie Matthews



Website: www.onenena.com

Facebook page: /ONEN ENA

Instagram: @onen_ena

Twitter: @onen_ena



An interview with… Molasses

Ahead of the release of issue 5, we interviewed one of our launch party bands, Molasses. Alessia, on guitar and vocals, and Katie, on drums, are a two-piece who work together to create grunge indie music with a powerful sound. Their most recent EP, Slagheaps, was released in 2014 and they have been regulars on the UK DIY indie gig circuit since their inception, described as “”Raging two-woman malcontents, twisted AmReptiles from the off-kilter no-filter noise-rock wunderground” by Powerlunches. We caught up with them to talk about how they got started, how they’ve progressed, and whether they have any advice for budding musicians.


Artwork by Erin Pixie Fletcher

How did you meet, and how did the band form? Where did the name come from? 

Alessia: We met in sixth form college. We formed the band a few years afterwards when I started university in London in 2011 and Katie was finishing her degree there. The name came from a list of ingredients on a box of breakfast cereal. We were both quite keen on sugar at the time.

Katie: Cereal and sugar still most definitely fuel our band.


If you could describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be? 

Alessia: erm… from what I’ve been told: offbeat, confounding, concise


Would you say your sound has progressed from when you first started?

Alessia: I’ve always tried to challenge myself with guitar, attempting things that perhaps were a little beyond my ability and that approach but I think that anyone who wants to improve any skill does that. Our sound has progressed quite noticeably but from my point of view it’s hard to describe how. Gradually developing as musicians over time might have caused us to become more adventurous, we’ve been trying to put more effort into writing more dynamic song trajectories rather than just stacking riffs.

Katie:  I think at the beginning we were both finding our way musically and to be honest we’re still learning.  I think it’s important to experiment and to not feel confined by one genre or one sound.


Do you play any other instruments at all? Why is music important to you/a part of your life?

Alessia: I played bass for a while before switching to guitar though it’s similar enough. I’ve recently started trying to learn drums and that’s been fun so far. I also bought a synth during the summer. Music is just something I’ve always been compulsively drawn to. There have been times when I’ve tried to avoid it and take a break from it to concentrate on other things but in the end it always feels like there’s something missing.
Katie: I’m a bit of an instrument collector but to say I can “play” all of them might be a bit of a stretch. Music has always been such a huge part of my life and my family – I’m lucky enough to have parents who have always supported all of my musical tendencies. I think buying a primary school aged kid a drum kit was particularly brave of them! I’ve actually always felt self conscious and anxious performing in front of anyone so to feel as comfortable as I do playing with Alessia has always been a really big deal for me – I wouldn’t want to be doing what we are with anyone else.




Your most recent EP came out in August 2014. What have you been up to since then, and when is the next EP due?

Alessia: Our next release is probably way overdue. I was in Finland last year as an exchange student so we took a break from writing. We’ve got material ready for the next one, it’s just a matter of coordinating ourselves and committing it to tape.

Katie:  We are desperate to record and write more.  We’ll either end up releasing something really soon or scrapping what we do have and writing an album.  We definitely want our next release to be the best we can make it and to not release something just because we have a collection of a few songs we could record.


Have you faced any difficulties in your scene, being two female musicians?

Alessia: More so in the beginning, less so now which is nice or maybe we now move in different circles or people aren’t so blatant about it anymore. Some sound technicians have been complete tossers with unfounded preconceptions while the majority have been pleasant and efficient and it hasn’t been an issue. If anyone comments directly on the fact that we’re female, it’s usually something like “there needs to be more female musicians doing what you do” which is fine and flattering. I think that in general though, since we started, there has been a subtle shift in attitudes towards female musicians that undermine the stereotypes being perceived as the norm (although we’re arguably not quite there yet).

Katie:  We’ve definitely had experiences.  I think mostly it’s a feeling that some people expect less from you because you’re female and that really offends me.


Would you consider yourselves feminists? Would you say this influences your music or musical career at all?

Alessia: I don’t think I could deny that I am a feminist. Unless you strongly support the gender binary, feel that you deserve to be subordinated or restricted because there are definitive roles, statuses and modes of behaviour meant for males and meant for for females, (or you are unconscious), then I don’t believe you can be a woman (or a person of any gender) who categorically refuses to be considered a feminist as I see it. I don’t generally write lyrics about it or use feminism as a gimmick for our band, or for any band I’ve been in but it does influence my life.


What is your favourite gig you’ve played and why? And the least favourite?

Alessia: Really tricky question. There have been many good ones, I have particularly fond memories of the couple of shows we did last January when I was back from Helsinki during the winter break. In Brighton with Sweet Williams, a band for which I have an enduring love and in London with Screen Wives, Nitkowski and Hate Fuck, all great bands, great people and vibes. Least favourite… maybe the shows we did when we were first starting out and put on pay to play gigs with unsuited acts.

Katie:  I always love playing in Brighton – some of our favourite bands hideout down there and it’s always a really nice scene.   As for my least favourite…certain crowds can make me anxious which always influences me.  Alessia and I are always about the music and as soon as a gig starts to become more image focussed I know I’m not going to like it.


Do you think a strong online presence is necessary for bands nowadays, or are you more about the IRL, DIY?

Alessia: An online presence helps, any artist can potentially go really far this way, we’re terrible at it though. If we were judged by our online presence alone, I don’t think we would exist. It also depends what you want to achieve, a combination of the three is probably good, but sparking interest about your music or any small successes always feel more genuine if they involve actual human interaction somewhere down the line.

Katie:  I always feel a bit torn here, I think an online presence can really help a lot of bands but I do worry that everything is becoming “online”.  We are a live band and music is our thing, everything else is secondary to me.


What are your upcoming plans?

Alessia: Recording hopefully. Also preparing for the gigs we have booked so far in March, on the 19th in London for Roundhouse Rising Festival and in Colchester on the 26th for Shallow Leisure.


Do you have any advice for budding musicians?

Alessia: Self-doubt will hold you back, commitment and enthusiasm are pretty important.

Katie: Just go for it. It really is frightfully easy to talk yourself out of starting a band, playing live or learning an instrument but if you want it and you love it don’t let anyone (including yourself!) stand in your way. (I didn’t mean to sound quite as much like an infomercial as I did there…)

You can find Molasses on their Facebook page [here] and their Bandcamp page [here]. They’ll be performing at Parallel’s issue 5 launch this Friday at The Birdcage Norwich – click [here] for the event page.



An interview with… the Ladybeard editors

As a part of issue 5, we spoke to a series of women who love, or are passionate about, their jobs. One of the interviews that didn’t make it into the magazine was with the editorial team of Ladybeard magazine, one of Parallel’s fave feminist mags. Words by Jodie Matthews.

Ladybeard magazine is a feminist publication which takes the form and format of a Glossy magazine, but revolutionises the content. It is an attempt to carve out a space in an over-saturated and stagnant industry and give fresh insight and hope to its readers‘.

I speak to the co-editors about life outside the magazine, fresh starts and what it takes to create a feminist glossy magazine with the weight of a book and the beauty of a piece of art.

L-R Sadhbh, Maddie, Kitty, Scarlet (design), Brony (design) and Tyro (art direction)

L-R Sadhbh, Maddie, Kitty, Scarlet (design), Brony (design) and Tyro (art direction)

Can you start by telling our readers a little about each of you and what you do?

KD: I’m Kitty, I co-edit the magazine with a focus on editorial. Outside the magazine I’m unemployed and addicted to Breaking Bad.

MD: I’m Maddie and also co-editor. I work for a literary agency and do a little freelance editing on the side.

SOS: My name is Sadhbh (pronounced Saive) and I’m also, also co-editor. I was made redundant (again) in November and now I’m freelancing as a copywriter/editor, tutoring, and eating off-brand baked beans.

You work collaboratively, with no single ‘leader’ or main ‘editor’ between you. Why did you decide to work this way? Has this been difficult to maintain?

MD: We were all doing the same thing so it made sense. Ladybeard aims to platform many voices, in particular those that don’t get the chance to be heard in the mainstream media. If there were a single ‘leader’ as such it would undermine this ethos.

Kitty: We were all friends first, the magazine is non-profit and we all work on a volunteer basis: hierarchies weren’t practical. For all of us this is a passion project, and we all end up mucking in and being equally involved. You’re much more likely to want to do something for free if you feel invested in it, as opposed to if someone has told you to do it. Also, we’ve found it’s a much better environment creatively if everyone is on a level footing. A lot of the meat of Ladybeard is just sitting in a room discussing our ideas. If everyone doesn’t feel like their voice is valid, that part of things is so stunted.

SOS: Part of why it’s taken us so long is because of this balancing act because it is really difficult to put into practice, especially when the whole team have different levels of employment at any one time. But like Kitty said, it’s integral to how we do it.

Ladybeard was conceived whilst you were all at Cambridge. How did it feel to create something innately feminist in surroundings that are renowned for rich boys clubs?

KD: I think the fact that we were surrounded by sexist drinking society culture fostered our drive. But in many ways, Cambridge is such a creatively stimulating environment. As a student, I was mostly taught by women, and I never ever felt that my gender identity biased anyone against me academically. There was also a lot of drag and queer nightlife when we were at Cambridge, so that was inspiring. For me, Ladybeard mostly grew out of a reaction to pressures I’d felt from the media growing up as a teen in an all girls’ school.

SOS: Yeah, it was more of a delayed reaction to being a teenager at first, and what I learnt of feminist theory at University. It came more out of our English degrees I think, and the way we were taught, than Cambridge itself. But the most radical things about feminist theory and practice, and cultural analysis, would not have been on the Cambridge curriculum even 10, 15 years before now. A lot of the stereotypes about those kinds of universities are true, but we weren’t unique in what we created. Ever since they founded my college Girton, and let women attend university, there has been a backlash from women against the boys club. Only now, that backlash is increasingly inclusive, and isn’t just for white, cis, straight, middle class women. It was exciting to be a part of that.

You released what you know refer to as a ‘pilot’ issue of Ladybeard, around 2 years before the Sex issue came out. How much do the two differ?

SOS: The design, the size, the quality, the manifesto, the font… If you’ll excuse the term, our ‘vision’ is clear now. For the first issue we truly had no idea what we were doing, and the fact we produced something is a feat in itself. But our structure was messy within the team and it meant a messy issue. Especially as we knew nothing about printing. But that was a necessary step to get to where we are today. This time we created what we set out to create.


What was the greatest struggle you encountered whilst putting Ladybeard together?

MD: Everything was new – we had no idea what we were doing – so everything was a struggle. There are over 40 written articles, which from an editorial perspective is a nightmare. No one person can copy edit or proof it in one sitting without missing something.

In interviews, you’ve mentioned acknowledging the privilege of your editorial team. How did you work to diversify Ladybeard?

MD: this ties into our ‘collaborative’ ethos – about profiling others’ thoughts and experiences and not our own. Over 70 contributors helped put Ladybeard together, all with very different stories to tell, and obviously without them it would be nothing. We tried as far as possible to remove our own voices from the magazine – there are only a couple of pieces by team members. But it’s hard, you cannot deny that as a team we represent a very small, privileged sector of society.

Why do you believe independent publications such as Ladybeard are relevant and necessary?

MD: Because people still suffer abuse daily – murder rates of trans women are some of the highest, suicide is still the biggest killer of young men (which is often not seen as a gender issue), and 85,000 women are raped every year in the UK alone. At the same time, and on a more positive note, the feminist debate is shifting and evolving. There has been a shift from more essentialist notions of womanhood and manhood, to a more fluid and inclusive understanding of these concepts. Magazines like Ladybeard, we hope, are part of developing this.

What was the most exciting aspect about Ladybeard for each of you?

MD: The thoughts section in particular for me with Dan Glass, Vince Dolly Dollotson, and Freiya Benson. And then getting it back from the printer, finally having something physical to hold on to. And then hearing positive reactions from people!

KD: I think the fact that our first issue speaks so honestly about sex. I love the 10 sexual experiences at the beginning. They feel so truthful, and I find that very liberating. I’ve spent so long reading and telling lies about my sexual experiences.

SOS: The wealth of talent we’ve met and worked with, and the number of people who want to contribute to it. My favourite pieces are probably the interviews, and the little snap shots you get into the lives of incredible people making concrete difference in the world. And also finally being able to show people what we’ve been talking about for so long and being really, truly proud of it.

How did you balance your everyday jobs with working on the magazine?

MD: With great difficulty.

SOS: There have been many sleepless nights and wrought conversations. We half-jokingly talk about having to set up a Ladybeard Survivors support group for our significant others.

MD: Someone did coin the term ‘ladyBORED’.

What advice would you to give to new writers and people who want to create their own publications?

SOS: Don’t judge yourself against other people’s outputs: just because someone else made something great, it doesn’t mean that your work isn’t also great. Value isn’t based solely on popularity, quantity, or response. Hold onto the idea of sisterhood and support one another, or else you’re giving into an unfairly weighted system of meritocracy: working collaboratively is so rewarding and uplifting. That said, there is hardly any paid work for people starting up so you’ve got to work for free and keep at it. It will reap its rewards, whether it is being commissioned or just ticking off the little note on your list that says ‘write’.

KD: Take your time. This issue took us two years to finish, but if we hadn’t taken that time it wouldn’t have been something we’re proud of – not nearly as comprehensive or detailed. There’s a tendency today to feel everything has to be immediate, and that’s true with some forms of journalism, but the beauty of print is that you don’t need to rush. It’ll all be old news by the time it’s printed anyway so you might as well make it good!

What’s next for Ladybeard?

SOS: Despite our big dreams, we’re taking it slowly. The next issue, the mind issue, will be out in late Spring/Summer this year. After that, who knows! Hopefully Kitty and I will be employed at least.

The Sex issue is out now – www.ladybeardmagazine.co.uk

f | facebook.com/ladybeardmagazine
t | @Ladybeardmag
i | @Ladybeardmag

For more interviews with women who love their jobs, pre-order issue 5 now! (Click here)


Parallel Issue 4


172 pages long, Parallel #4 is one of our biggest issues yet!

Featuring articles on: women with tattoos, zine culture, food, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, rape culture, cosplay culture, fetish culture, austerity and women, feminist subcultures, women in punk, female grime artists, a guide to New Zealand musicians, music VS feminism, orgasms in film, and female film directors.

We interviewed: Harriet Heath, Niamh Marron, Claire Ford, Rachael Ofori, the Tight Theatre group, Jodie Matthews, Marcia X, Charlotte Lipscombe and Amy Parish, Siana Bangura, Charlie Edge, and Shagufta Iqbal.

And we have submissions and work by: Helena Goni, Ruwani Hewage, Liam Gavyn Salt, Vicktoria, Alesia Fisher, Jahni Threatt, Fadekemi Tejuoso, Shauni Adekoya, Megan Stephenson, Tara Gulwell, Rabina Khan, and Anna Sanderson.



Parallel Issue 2

A4, 178 pages long, and with a glossy cover to rival any mainstream magazine, Parallel
Magazine is your alternative to misogynistic “women’s” periodicals.

Issue 2, “Taboo” features: interviews with Dr Marci Bowers, Annabel
Allum, The Petrol Girls, and Sarah Westgarth; pieces on comic book representation and women in music; articles about body hair, menstruation,
cultural appropriation, abusive relationships, sex, porn, pregnancy, and
disability; and work by our wonderful submitters as well as the
Parallel team themselves.

We talk about everything, from sex to shitting; from sexuality to gender.

Issue 2 is available here!