DCC 36: Ivory COnover- "if you want to put me on a pedestal, and objectify me, cool. But you're going to listen to what I have to say"
"It's the biggest reason why I do what I do: as a model, as a performer and why i;m so mouthy about the whole thing. I belong to all these intersectional communities that are constantly told to be smaller, that are already fringe and already left out. and so as someone who takes up a lot of space, personality wise, looks wise, energy wise, I constantly speak out about these things because it's so easy to tell us to shut up and be forgotten about...." --Ivory Conover
Ivory is a multi disciplinary performer by trade...and by personality! She's a graduate of Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and a former Miss Canada Plus. She's a singer, actor, dancer and model, not to mention a burlesque dancer who infuses her performances with intersectional feminist politics. She's also a co-founder of the Succulent Six--a team of curvy 'superSHEroes' who are working to promote body positivity and dismantle toxic ideas about female beauty. She's also a member of Les Femmes Fatales: Women of Colour Burlesque Troupe.
She's wonderfully outspoken about her politics and activism, which she attributes to her position on multiple intersections within feminist politics: she talked to me about being a biracial woman who 'passes' as white, a queer woman who 'passes' as straight despite her bisexuality, and her commitment to dismantling toxic cultural messages about women's bodies.
"Thank the gods, I'm an Aries, you know heady, and a fighter....I'm also a fire breather, ax thrower, an archer, knife thrower and horse back rider!"
She talked about her relationship with makeup, and starting a new process of learning to love her natural face--- "I think makeup is an incredible tool, I think it saved my self esteem. But part of my process to continually challenge my self love and my self worth, is pushing myself past comfort zones."
Please follow her adventures (and antics) onIG and twitter--and facebook. She's @pureivorydotca pretty much everywhere!
Thank you Ivory for a fun photo shoot! You are a delight and an inspiration :)
**photos by Sarah Innis unless otherwise attributed in caption!
Gigi is a long time vintage collector, appreciator and wearer. And an even longer time lingerie enthusiast! She is the owner/operator of Toronto's only Vintage Style Lingerie Boutique : Gigi's House of Frills.
We talked about 'everyday vintage', and her dedication to fashion and details from the 1930s to '50s. I love how her store makes you aspire to a more glamourous lifestyle, where you might entertain in loungewear or do your pincurls in a nightgown from the 1930s.
You can follow Gigi on her twitter: @gigisfrills
Instagram: gigisfrills or gigi’s house of frills, and of course her website which features information about the store and lookbooks.
Amazon Syren is a queer, poly leather femme, a sex-workers' rights activist, and a Professional Naked Girl. She's also a witchy glamazon who sings opera, writes poetry, reads tarot, grows veggies, works magic, spins her own yarn, cooks, preserves, and darns a lot of socks. The secret ingredient is always love. She lives with her wife and an assortment of metamours in 1821.
DIY is very close to her heart.
She has opinions! Which is what I love! We discussed the business of being tall women (she's 6'4" and I'm just under 6'2"), from slouching to people's surreptitious checks to see if we are wearing heels.
We also covered her 'femme muse' Musetta from La Bohème, queer hanky codes, what a newly minted dyke wears to pride in 2008,
DIY is a big deal with her, from knitting and handspinning yarn to gardening, preserving and cooking. She also weaves and sews. As an urban homesteader, the 'little house in the big woods' thing is no joke.
We discussed the terminology around ethical non-monogamy, and the idea of being "solo” poly, which she points out has no meaning unless you're working from a coupled default position. She also clarified the differences between pansexual and queer poly (spoiler alert it's hetero-normativity).
And please find Amazon online via her twitter, @amazon_syren, and also her two blogs:
Urban Meliad and Syrens.
Thank you so much Amazon! It was a pleasure. ♥
Amanda died in September of 2016. Rest in power Amanda, you left a huge legacy and I was privileged to talk to you for this episode.
I encountered Amanda Harris’ work via a Gender and Media class. I love her Femme Spaceproject and was so excited to talk to her for this episode! Amanda is a queer high femme charmer from the South. She was the co-curator of Y’all Come Back: Stories of Queer Southern Migration in the 2015 National Queer Arts Festival, where she exhibited portraits in her EXODUS series.
Her photographs have been published in Glitter & Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels on Wheels Galaxy, G.R.I.T.S.: An Anthology of Southern Queer Womyn’s Voices, Towards the “Other” America: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter, as well as various online sources including Al Jazeera America. She believes in the future of the femme oligarchy and the power of portraits to tell stories.
Amanda’s art and activism has been informed and nurtured by online femme community. We talked about femme visibility and marginazation in queer and other spaces. She also talked about taking the conversation beyond queerness to include race, class, ability, emotional labour, privilege of butch and masculine of centre people –and letting femme stand alone—femme sex, and femme on femme relationships
I liked hearing her perspectives on collaborating with vs exploiting femmes from marginalized groups. On the topic of privilege, she referred me to an article online by Cyree Jarelle Johnson,here.
….also to a wonderful resource for femme articles and resources—intiated and collated by Blyth Barnow, reflecting the wisdom of large community of facebook femmes!
Of course in the bonus round I asked Amanda for her book and music recommendations.
She mentioned author Amber Hollibaugh, whose book My Dangerous Desires is a favourite of mine too.
The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader
She recommended work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha whose most recent book isDirty River I totally recommend too!
And…Amanda contributed to a recent book, Glitter & Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels on Wheels Femme Galaxy. which I’m gonna try to get my hands on soon!
Her music recommendation is GAYmous which you can find on FB
Amanda’s latest project Y’all Come Back Now, is here, and looks amazing. Thank you so much Amanda! You’re a charmer for sure. ♥
**all photos from www.femmespace.net/femmespace used with permission
Crystal is a fat activist who moved from fashion blogging to tackling more contested spaces in fat feminist thought: cultural hatred of fat bodies; and how fatphobia can manifest as violence in intimate partner relationships. She's in her second year of a PhD gender, feminist and women's studies.
One of many nice things about Crystal is she seems to look pulled together effortlessly....which belies her thoughtful and reflexive approach to fashion, fatshion, getting dressed and fat activism, and how all these things intersect. She questions and challenges not just the status quo, but also her own belief systems.
Crystal was excited about Charlotte Cooper's Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement --which is out now!
“I’m told to look good as a fat woman I’m supposed to dress a certain way, I’m supposed shrink my body, or bind my body in particular ways, that create a particular shape….that conforms to what we are told is feminine, but that’s completely unnatural to the way my body goes…”
Jenna Danchuk is a writer, researcher, and occasional maker of things. Jenna Danchuk is an Assistant Editor for Spiral Nature, a magazine style website dedicated to alternative spiritualities, practical magick, and exploring occulture. She is also a PhD student in the Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies program at York University where she studies the role of cultural production in feminist witchcraft and magical communities. Jenna is a former Associate Editor of WORN Fashion Journal and her writing has also appeared in Shameless Magazine, FUSE, and on Bitch Media’s blog. A training ceremonial magician, but a feminist witch at heart, she has an interest in reconciling the two.
We talked about fashion and chaos magick, shopping guilt (this comes in so many varieties!), imagining an aesthetic bridging goth and new age, kung fu, academia, spirituality, astrology, and women of the esoteric western spiritual traditions.
Thanks for listening!
Vivek Shraya is a multimedia artist living in Toronto with strong ties to prairie malls.
She's produced 10 albums, written 3 books (with 2 more set for release next year) and created 4 short films, all to great acclaim. She talked to me about the production of art, how performance grounds her,
Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2014. A three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek has read and performed at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions internationally, sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara and Dragonette, and has appeared at NXNE, Word on the Street, and Yale University.
Vivek is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, the 2014 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award for leadership in Toronto’s LGBTQ community, recipient of Anokhi Media’s inaugural Most Promising LGBTQCommunity Crusader Award in 2015, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction. Both Vivek’s debut collection of poetry, even this page is white, and first children’s picture book, The Boy & the Bindi, will be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2016.
Her POC fashion project (co-edited with Karen Campos Castillo) is at
We talked about Rihanna, Beyonce (duh), gender expression, performance vs 'real life', and style as class privilege. She also educated me in the nicest way possible about being so judgemental about other people's style.
Thanks Vivek! You're amazing!
I'm baaaaack this week with Andrea Zanin, a butch/femme academic and leatherwoman who writes prolifically and teaches about BDSM/Leather/kink, power dynamics, non-monogamy and queer sexuality. She's also pursuing a PhD in Gender Feminist and Women's studies (I didn't realize when I booked her that we're in the same program!) --and her thesis is about Canadian leatherdyke history.
Andrea's erotic short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies.
Her online home is here.
Andrea co-organizes the annual Canadian leatherdyke weekend An Unholy Harvest and runs a pervy book club called The Leather Bindings Society.
FInd Andrea on twitter too: @sexgeekAZ
Thanks for listening!
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Mimi Thi Nguyen is an associate professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois. Her research interests are war, empire and...zines!
I first encountered her work via her amazing blog (a collaboration with Minh Ha T Pham) called Threadbared. Her zine work includes Slander, Race Riot (that link is to a pdf made possible by the POC zine project!), and a couple years ago Guillotine Press put out a chapbook called PUNK, a conversation beween Golnar Nikpour and Mimi.
Her first book is called "The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt and other Refugee Passages" (Duke 2012).
Her website is here.
She describes her looks a "New wave party girl who is forced to teach", although her 9 yo friend thinks she looks like a Monster High Doll.
She also made some awesome book and music recommendations.
Please see www.dresscodecracker.com for images and more show notes!
twitter: @dresscodecrackr or @sarahinnis
and Mimi tweets at @Inzombia !
Thank you Mimi!
Another park interview! Zoe's an aspiring orthinologist and all the birds came out to see her. She's a harm reduction and hep C worker very dedicated to anti-poverty and social justice activism. Anarcho-feminism FTW!
She's a long term participant and contributor to Toronto's hardcore punk scene which informs her look.
She also DJs sometimes and guests on the CIUT show Equalizing Distort.
We discussed her DIY punk style, although she acknowledged a hippie side and her admiration of her grandmother who had a 'high femme homesteader' look.
She's a devotee of dresses, jewelry and accessories who loves Value Village but only really gets excited about shopping for books and records.