Ladyfest Brighton was an excellent festival all round, but there's one unhappy event that's worth mentioning. During the final gig (held in a lesbian club called the Candy Club) one lass was dancing around with her top off; and being German, in a dyke club, at the end of a feminist festival, probably didn't think this was a mortal sin or would have any unusual consequences. Unfortunately the bouncers thought otherwise, asking her to put her top back on and announcing over the mic that any woman taking their top off would be asked to leave. This raised hackles and led to argument, a scuffle, and some graffiti, which led the club owners to end the night prematurely and kick us all out.
You have to acknowledge the club's problem, that they could be culpable for any illegal activity that went on in their venue - so they're conscious of that fact and quite used to making sure people don't take drugs or have sex in the club. But it really goes to show how the cause of feminism is still relevant today, when women's bodies are still regulated more tightly than men's bodies, and this regulation replicates itself through legal structures such as licensing laws. It seems utterly ludicrous that taking one's top off should be such a disruptive act, that a woman's chest is "obscene" in absolutely any circumstances (except breast-feeding, so I'm told). Something really needs to change.
In one workshop, earlier during the weekend, a Finnish woman suggested that the sauna traditional in Finland meant they grew up understanding more of the real variety of human bodies, and so they have less of a hangup about bodies/nakedness (a naked body isn't always sexualised). It seems relevant to what happened. Britain needs its head examined, institutionally. This kind of repressive/suppressive crap has gone on too long.