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  • Women Galore – Celebrating Women’s Words

    Lauren Smart, probably one of the most committed journalist in town to equality, introduces Women Galore, the festival we asked her to program a few months ago. The result: a month of May packed with events about women, by women. Check our events section to see them all.

    Women Galore

    Lauren Smart, probably one of the most committed journalist in town to equality, introduces Women Galore, the festival we asked her to program a few months ago. The result: a month of May packed with events about women, by women. Check our events section to see them all.

    Near the end of January, Wild Detectives co-owner Javier Garcia Del Moral approached me with an idea. He’d been reading an article about the continuing gender disparity in literature and decided to do a self-audit of the Wild Detectives. Did they sell an equitable number of male to female books? Did they present an equitable number of author talks?

    In short, could they do better?

    Yes, of course.

    He wanted to take some sort of action. He wanted a woman to create a festival dedicated to female voices. That’s where I came in.

    It’s going to be a month of intelligent, thoughtful, fun programming we’re calling Women Galore.

    In a collaboration with the Wild Detectives (and help from journalist Caroline North) the month of May small-scale festival. We wanted variety, so we’ve put together (and are still finalizing) a schedule of events that includes author talks, panel discussions, solo performances, a comedy showcase, a backyard mini music fest, dj nights, poetry readings, poetry performance, a film screening, and writing workshops. There will also be collaborations with the Texas Theatre for a film screening and Dallas Contemporary for an arts writing workshop.

    It’s going to be a month of intelligent, thoughtful, fun programming we’re calling Women Galore.

    Borrowed from an Ian Fleming character, Pussy Galore, recognizable from both the James Bond novel and 1964 film, Goldfinger, Galore is the fiercely independent lesbian who tells Bond to take the charm off. She stands in subversive defiance to typical representations of women in 60’s films. We picked the name for its playfulness, but more importantly for its pride and its sense of female ownership.

    Originally, we’d gone all in with the name and called the festival Pussy Galore. For me, the name’s brashness pushed a sex-positive message of empowerment. The word itself a reminder of the underlying sexism in much of the English language itself. For me it was a take-back-the-word name subverting the traditionally masculine definition that objectifies women. But it didn’t work for a lot of the women involved, who felt the word came with associations to which they didn’t want to be attached. We’re at a moment in society where we are all negotiating language itself and for these women — masters of words — this name sustained the objectification rather than challenging it. And these were the women we were meant to be celebrating. We opened a respectful, open conversation and ultimately decided to go with Women Galore instead.

    Shouldn’t equity just be normal? When will it be?

    As I’ve been discussing the festival with many of of the participants, I’ve had numerous moments of frustration with the idea that an initiative like this is even still necessary. Shouldn’t equity just be normal? When will it be?

    One of my goals when filling the calendar with events was to demonstrate just how full we could get the month of May with events like this. I hope attending and participating in the festival will be a fun way to have discussions around the struggles women have getting their voices heard and a celebration of those voices when they are speaking. It’s fascinating to me how much work we still have to do in order for women to feel empowered to speak.

    Please join us at Women Galore!

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    Lauren Smart

    Lauren Smart is a freelance arts writer –former Arts & Culture Editor at the Dallas Observer– and she also works as an adjunct journalism professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she teaches arts writing and criticism. The rest of the time she's just a girl with her pup.

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