Needle n’ Bitch banned from K-Town Festival
Needle n’ Bitch: The tropical feminist “Bitch” banned from K-Town Festival
click link above to get info about the project
This story really happened, to a friend of mine. I am not writing this because he is my friend, but rather to open a debate about this weird issue. The guy was forced to close and take away his merchandise in a festival in Copenhagen, Denmark by some people who claimed to be from the staff crew of K-Town Festival 2011. The reason: these alleged staff crew were against the fact that some of the patches from south east Asia the guy had among his merchandise had the word “bitch” on them… Here the story…
“The fact that we, in the punk D.I.Y., anarchist or libertarian scene (you name it!), are against any form of sexism is clear as water!”
However, we have among us some very close minded people, who let their “political correct” immense boredom to get more importance than the objectivity of the matter and issue, and therefore, take a fanatic and (confused)extremist view of gender or sex issues that makes complicate to fight together with them against sexism (or many other related issues; they become a pain in the ass more than any kind of support for a change!). Their perspective becomes in this manner very closed and narrow, then perhaps, (without noticing?), they behave in an similar intolerant way to these conservative idiots who believe in sexism, with the difference these people label themselves as anti-sexist…
Moreover, there is a second important issue in this story: how is it possible than people who claim to be from the staff crew of a D.I.Y. festival in Europe have the right to tell a guy to take away his stuff from the D.I.Y. scene of a non-european country? As a fact, this was a hierarchical and authoritarian action (three self named staff-crew against one guy…). The governments behave in a similar way with immigrants who don’t show that they shape themselves to european manners! (particularly because as you are gonna read below, these self alleged staff-crew didn’t even want to know what is the D.I.Y. merchandise about, a kind of “we don’t understand and don’t care about other countries D.I.Y. culture”…) But I am not gonna get deep into that because here is not my intention to victimize nobody (therefore I am not gonna label this as a racist action…), but rather to highlight the arrogant behaviour of some people, from who we should be aware about letting them participate in D.I.Y. actions due to their lack of respect and understanding.
I do not want for moment to make a statement that the last two paragraphs are linked to each other or to suggest a cause – consequence reaction. Nevertheless, I wrote them to talk about values, because in the story that I am going to tell you next there is, in my opinion, a big conflict of values.
A guy from south East Asia, coming from the political punk scene of his area, is surviving in Europe. No need to tell that immigrants have it harder in working or surviving issues… so he has a merchandise of D.I.Y. libertarian and anarchist stuff that he sells in festivals of the same kind, not only to earn a little bit of money (mostly designated to support the D.I.Y. Projects from there) but also to spread the expressions and creations of south east Asian D.I.Y. culture in Europe. He went 2011 to Copenhagen, Denmark, to the K-Town Festival and he sold this merchandise during the event. Everything was fine until a small group of people who claimed to be from the staff crew of the festival came to him to tell him he had to remove his merchandise because he was promoting sexist stuff… the guy surprised, after trying to explain them and noticing they don’t wanna hear, took his merchandise away…
The more pathetic was that these guys did not want to know what the merch was about before labelling it as sexist! They did it because some patches have the word “bitch” on it. Well, it is true, the merch was from Needle n’ Bitch, an anti sexist collective in Indonesia which fight for similar anti – sexist issues as most of the collectives of this kind in the world. Here some images of the patches that were understood and labeled as “sexist” by these stupid people…
How was this aloud to happen? How can it be legitimated to make such an action such as to ban stuff from an anti-sexism collective from a place of the third world just because it was not understood, and even worse, with no attempt to understand or hear the explanations about it? They didn’t even let the guy explain what it was. This is even very disrespectful.
However, I am not unaware that in our anarchistic struggle we notice more and more the infiltration of intolerant people who defend their often almost fascist behaviours with the claim that they are “politically correct” to the point that they do not know anymore to what to be politically correct about. Even the term “PC” is appearing more and more often in our texts and it does not refers to computers… They behave as ultra – conservatives of this scene, they have a problem with language issues, in the same way ultra religious – conservative people do. Of course I am more than aware than aware that many words could be offensive and discriminatory, but if we have a bit of brain we know this depends absolutely in the contest that they are used. In other words, if you think is racist to say that somebody has black skin colour in a descriptive way, there is something wrong with you. I am afraid about the task of these people, focusing energies in absurd terminologies that could be used to support worthy initiatives or creating new ones. If we let this to happen, soon we will be confronted with the fact that we are gonna have to be super careful while writing our texts, because we are gonna have a black list of words and termini that are “not going to be aloud” to use. So who knows which words are gonna be soon included, boy? Woman? Gay? Foreigner? Latino? Who the fuck knows? However, is also a trend of these same kind of feeble minded people to criticize all the time what we do instead of doing something! And, in order to make my point here, I strongly believe than the people who attacked the Needle n’ Bitch patches were influenced by this kind of behaviour.
Coming back to Needle n’ Bitch, they are a cool D.I.Y. anti-sexist collective of awesome people who I was lucky to had the chance to meet in Indonesia. The carry out activities such as production of crafts and distribution with wmyn’s, sexuality, body authority, DIY culture, and politics issues, the development of an Info sheet; which include some information such as menstrual calendar, and a safe abortion hotline, a discussion space of what they call Bitching; in which they share skills and experiences together with discussion about sexuality, relationship, politics ect, they carry out a mobile library in various events or in public spaces, they made workshops; free skill share in events or communities, they publish zines and flyers; such as ‘Sister Be Strong’, a compilation of personal stories from friends with sexual abusive and repression experiences, struggles to defend their rights on their body and autonomous decision, and they translate closed related issues into Indonesian language. Their activity takes place in Indonesian society, which is quite different and in general more conservative than western Europe in sexual and sexist issues.
Needle n’ Bitch defines itself as:
“a safe space for wmyn/men/trans or what ever your sex and sex orientation is.
Not only a physical space, but also a place, situation, and condition we create to provide safe, secure, and comfort feeling for anyone who are not able to access it in this sexist, patriarchy, and homophobic society.
It is part of Institut-a- Info house and Community Center, an anarchist project. Needle n’ Bitch focuses more on wmyn, personal and sexuality issues.”
you can extensively read the self description of this cool collective if you click here.
I believe to make my point here again, that it was a very bad mistake to ban the merch of Needle n’ Bitch. I know some people organizing the K-Town Fest and I know is a cool D.I.Y. fest that share and practice similar anarchist views and aims. But I want to create awareness in this issue, think about who you admit in your crew to prevent that such a disgusting story would ever happen again and in general to any D.I.Y. project or initiative about accepting P.C. people among your lines… don’t be surprised if they come out with stuff like this or even much worse!
More about Needle n’ Bitch:
Get in touch with them!
Web: needleandbitch.org (on progress)
Free download: (Indonesian version)