Bloody Mary Podcast: The Accused

Bloody Mary is a podcast about feminism, sex and horror films hosted by Chicago comic Kristin Ryan. I am not a huge fan of the horror genre so I pitched her a non-traditional “horror” film, The Accused. She agreed it was “scary as shit.” Spoiler alerts!

Listen to us dialogue about rape culture, bystander accountability, women’s lack of credibility and the flaws of the justice system. It’s actually funny too!

Listen here: Bloody Mary Podcast Episode 14: The Accused with Alicia Swiz

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Kurt Metzger, Comedy & Rape Culture

The following is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for Esquire. Read the full article here

I live and perform in Chicago, where I host a show called Feminist Happy Hour. It’s also a city where white men dominate most performance spaces, especially comedy rooms where rape jokes and victim blaming are celebrated as much as the Blackhawks. And it’s not just the humor that’s toxic, as women who perform in Chicago experience assault that happens offstage as much as it does onstage.

The intersections of power and race and privilege make white-dude comics a very specific trope. Comedy, as an institution, is already inherently sexist (and racist, and homophobic). There is an informal agreement among comics that nothing is off-limits, which works out best for cisgender, straight, white guys. If you’re the most powerful person in the room, nothing is off-limits.

But this issue isn’t just Chicago’s problem, or New York’s. There is a larger cultural conversation about comedy, accountability, and the experiences of being a woman, which was triggered last week by the UCB rape investigation, Inside Amy Schumer writer Kurt Metzger’s Facebook post, and Schumer’s problematic responses to it all. After engaging in online messaging with a friend of mine, Metzger asked to call in as a guest on Feminist Happy Hour.

The Learned Fangirl feature: Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip, and Jarobi. And Me, Alicia.

A few months ago, I pitched an article about my love of A Tribe Called Quest, triggered by the 25th anniversary of Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Two weeks after I submitted my draft Malik Izaak Taylor aka Phife Dawg died. It is a loss felt by many who were raised with the music of Tribe. I am grateful that I was given the privilege of writing about this legendary group and that this piece may be shared as an homage to the Five Foot Assassin. Read the full article here.

Rest in Power, Phife. And, thank you.

I love A Tribe Called Quest.

The first time I heard them was in a middle school gymnasium with the first feelings of adolescence flushing through my body. Mostly through the parts that I didn’t know much about but I knew made me a girl. Another thing I knew about being a girl: nobody likes the new girl, especially the “cute” new girl. Except for the boys. I was at a tricky moment in my formation of self. I remember the feeling of being new, of constantly being stared at, of being lonely.

I remember the feeling of knowing when the girls whispered about me and the feeling of icy silence when they didn’t. I remember the sting on my skin when one of boys snapped my bra and the sting in my heart when one of the mean girls wasn’t satisfied by whispering or silence. I remember words like “slut” and “trashy” and “Who does she think she is in that ‘fuck me’ red lipstick?’” I remember Jason’ B’s hands on my hips, dangerously close to my butt, when the beat dropped – what would become a highly recognizable sound – to “Bonita Applebum.”

Read the full article here

#LadiesILove: Calamity West for Chicago Literati

I. Am. A. Feminist.
I don’t know how else to be.
I think and see and breathe through that lens – so it’s impossible for any of my plays to not be created through that lens. ROLLING is no exception to this

Award-winning Chicago Playwright Calamity West brings the world premiere of her new play, Rolling, to the Jackalope Theater this March. West was inspired to write the play after Sabrina Rubin Erdely (the journalist who penned the since retracted, “A Rape on Campus,” for Rolling Stonewent into hiding. A family drama, the play explores the difference between public vs. private misogyny and asks us to consider if there is a difference at all. I was fortunate enough to be able to pick West’s brain about the creative process, self-care and hip-hop music. Read the full interview at Chicago Literati.

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Tickets available here.

The Soapbox: Casting Women In “Male Roles” Won’t End Sexism In Hollywood

Originally published by The Frisky.

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Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon Photo credit: Yahoo

So, the question I’d like to see Hollywood answer is where are the movies that are simply about women?

Why not just create a female spy character that may grow to be as iconic as James Bond so that young girls can watch her? The idea that we have to simply put a female body in to a male character is not only lazy and severely lacking in creativity but it’s sexist. It tells us that stories about women are only valid when they are constructed through the male gaze and embody traditionally masculine gender roles. An all female Oceans 11? I’ve already seen Sex and the City.

Read full article here.