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Music and magic tricks: feminist playing cards


Rosy Moorhead
WVoN features editor 

If you had to name your favourite feminist musician, who would it be? Beth Ditto? Joan Baez? Edith Piaf?

It has to be an artist who has not only given the world great music, but who has also contributed to the advancement of women’s rights, for example by being the first woman to make it in their genre or because of their activism.

Tori Amos, for instance, co-founded the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a helpline in the US that connects callers with their local rape crisis centre.

Homoground, a media company and platform for LGBTQ musicians, has decided to make a custom deck of playing cards featuring images of 52 feminist musicians, from a range of different genres and generations, by 14 artists.

The project’s creative director, Lynn Casper, who describes herself as a queer Filipina/American nerd, explains where she got the idea.

“I wanted to do a fun and creative project with Homoground [of which she is the founder, producer and host]. I had thought about doing T-shirts and things, but they all sounded boring to me.

“I’d always liked the idea of doing trading cards or collectors cards, but playing cards seemed more practical and universal.

“Since Homoground focuses specifically on music, I immediately thought of featuring different bands on the cards, and came up with a theme of feminist musicians.”

Casper, 28, approached a few of her artist friends to see what they though. They wanted to be involved right away and suggested other artists they knew, many of whose work Casper already admired.

The artists were free to pick out the musicians they wanted to draw, the only criteria being that it be someone who really meant something to them, either in terms of respecting them for their work, experiencing a life epiphany at one of their shows or discovering their identity through the musician’s song lyrics.

The women artists are Emily Henderson, Andrea Rae Georgas, Ramsey Beyer, Lauren Denitzio, Liz Prince, Marissa Paternoster, Clare Brown, Jacki Sullivan, Brandi Lee, Cristy Road, Ginny Maki, Citizen A, Martha Rich and Kay Kelley.

Many of the artists’ work has been used to forward the feminist movement, and a number are actively involved in activism in their communities.

Casper wants the deck of cards make a mark on history. “Cards have been around since the 8th century,” she says, “and many decks reflect the society and cultures of the time.

“It’s a chance to document amazing women who have made major accomplishments in music as well as a fun way to educate people and start conversations about these women.

“It will also highlight the beautiful artwork that the artists involved make.”

To make the deck will take money – $12,000. They have until Wednesday, March 21 to reach that goal and are hoping that music lovers, people who believe in equality and people who identify as feminists will want to be involved.

Casper hopes to be holding the beautiful, finished deck in her hands by May.

Homoground is a resource for LGBTQ and allied musicians and music lovers. They put out weekly podcasts featuring music from independent bands and ‘mixtapes’ by a variety of Djs, activists, film-makers and DIY groups.

Casper started the platform just over a year ago because she wanted to discover new music that aligned with her values, as well as to promote bands that “don’t get the attention they deserve”.

The site has grown from simply being a podcast featuring her friends’ bands into a fully-fledged media company that books and promotes events and artists, which aims to raise awareness of the issues facing the LGBTQ community.

If you would like to make a contribution to help get these cards produced, visit the Feminist Playing Cards fundraising site before March 21.

As Casper says: “It’s a perfect opportunity to educate people about amazing women in a really fun and aesthetically pleasing way.

“I think the dialogues they would spark around a poker table would be pretty interesting!”

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