February 15, 2016

Extraordinary Tales of Strength and Daring

Tacked onto the end of Webstock (a two day party conference for those who work in the webspace) is Extraordinary Tales of Strength and Daring an afternoon of talks which, as far as I could tell, was by women for women. The candles and floral theme should have tipped me off.

As the proceeds go to Women's Refuge and Rape Crisis I had expected harrowing tales focused on overcoming men ruining their lives. Another attendee had expected a feminist or political slant around current issues. Their friend had expected tales of lived experiences as a woman, from everyday women. It was none of those things though the last was touched on necessarily by each speaker and especially by Zelda Edwards. None of us had expected the event to feel so sanitised. I identified with the first two speakers but these two attendees discussed leaving during the break, but were glad they didn't as the second half was well worth staying for.

Cindy Gallop is a force of nature. Natasha, the organiser, confessed she wanted to keep Cindy in a cupboard and bring her out whenever inspiration was required. No cupboard would hold Cindy in my opinion though I wanted to take her home too. Her talk can be summed up: wear what you want, date who and how you want, say what you want (I cleaned up the language a bit). This self affirming talk was followed by Zelda Edwards former superwoman trying to be everything to everyone who changed tacks completely to become a zumba instructor. I could have heard more from her. I did wish we were in a different space so that everyone could have joined in the dance she led.

My expectations were not met but I ended up having a great time. It was a little like a women's TED gathering but with less messages being conveyed. I wish all speakers had been as good as the last two but had these two not completely overshadowed the others I still would have enjoyed myself.

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