Editorial: 200 Dangerous Women

Time flies when you’re having fun… or being dangerous!

In today’s editorial we celebrate not one, but two milestones. Time to break out the cake!

Earlier this month we marked the half-way point in the Dangerous Women Project. And we did it in style, with a powerful spoken word piece from rising star Agnes Török. If you haven’t already, you can check out the video here.

Agnes’s video was about reclaiming the internet as a safe space for women—who risk abuse and harassment when speaking up online. So far, the video has garnered hundreds of responses which mock, belittle, (attempt to) discredit and gaslight, and, well, harass and abuse. Aside from the barrage of negative feedback on the video before commenting was closed, several male YouTubers made response videos with similar sentiments that are now collectively closing in on 100,000 views. Ironic? You be the judge.

The second Dangerous Women Project milestone?

This week we’ll tick over 200 daily posts since International Women’s Day back in March. If you’re a new reader, or were away over the summer, here are some of the highlights since our previous editorial at the 150 mark:

At a time when the gender wage gap hit the headlines as a persistent, contemporary issue, we featured posts that considered different aspects of women’s work. We were grateful to publish an excerpt from the late Sue-Lloyd Roberts’s book War on Women, which tackles the inequity and corruption behind this very topic. From a research-led and personal perspective, Victoria Pagan discussed the dangers of participating in workplace inequality and how this perpetuates damaging organisational cultures. Meanwhile, Jackie Gulland traced the changing nature of work and domestic labour over the past century, and how this created complex, often catch-22 policy issues under the the welfare state that could leave women most vulnerable.

It was always our intention that the project would be mixed media, so we’ve been excited to feature smart, engaging contributions from visual artists. In ‘Hide and Seek‘, Afghan-born artist Zuhal Feraidon took a feminist approach to integrating women into Islamic art. Anna Brazier used movement and performance to ask questions about whether women extending themselves can be perceived as dangerous. Ana Ridler challenged our perceptions by incorporating the Wikileaks Saudi Arabia data dump into an artistic piece.  And Maya Mackrandilal’s confronted us with art that works provocatively with the idea of the ‘monster’—interrogating the fears of Western social norms through bold performances of Hindu goddesses.

Many posts turned back the clock to dangerous women of the past. Marianne Moen took a feminist approach to the archaeology of the Viking Age, examining what makes a woman dangerous 1000 years after her death.  Katharina Karcher shared her research into Red Zora, a German feminist group that claimed responsibility for forty-five arson attacks and bombings between the 1970s & 1990s. Lynnda Wardle reflected on what South African National Women’s Day meant to her while growing up white in South Africa. While Lesley Hulonce dug into the history books and her own creativity to explore how authorities in Victorian England thought prostitutes were dangerous to society, while simultaneously presenting one of the biggest threats to these ‘fallen’ women.

In addition to daily posts, we’ve been out there in the world, showcasing our contributors, whether they identify as dangerous women, or they’ve written, spoken or created art about dangerous women. We recently had an event in conjunction with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, following Jackie Kay and Carol Ann Duffy appearing on stage together—two fabulously dangerous poets! Plus, there’s more in store. Later in the year, the Dangerous Women Project will feature at Book Week Scotland (details very soon). We’re also planning our closing celebration in March. So, if you are (or will be in Edinburgh) around that time, do keep your 2017 International Women’s Day evening free, won’t you?

We would never have made it this far without our amazing supporters, contributors and readers, and we’re incredibly grateful for your involvement to date. But just because we’ve come halfway doesn’t mean we can take our foot off the accelerator. We need you now, more than ever, to help us round out the year in status-quo disrupting style!

What does that mean? Two things:

Can you help us make sure the second half of the Project’s posts are as diverse and engaging as the first?

Have a friend, relative, colleague, acquaintance who might be interested in contributing to the Dangerous Women Project? Our experience has demonstrated that some of the most interesting posts find their way to us through word of mouth. We’re hoping to round out the year with both well-known and new voices with something to say on ‘dangerousness’, and we look forward to hearing from any potential new contributors you may send our way—all our submissions information is available here.

Haven’t submitted your own post yet? Time is of the essence—the countdown to the end of the project has begun!

Can you help us to spread the word further?

Whether it’s via social media, personal contacts, or via the ‘old’ media, we always appreciate a signal boost. Please keep re-tweeting our tweets, or sharing our posts if you see them on Facebook, Tumblr or Instagram. We can also provide you with images if you would like to feature them on your own social media or web presences—just get in touch!

In the meantime – best wishes and thanks again for coming along for the ride during the first half of the Dangerous Women Project. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.

The Dangerous Women Project Team