Dr. The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein [USA/UK]:
WITCH B*TCH RESEARCH PAPER
Witch-Bitches, The Birth (and Never-Ending Resurrection) of Capitalism, and Pop-Culture’s Desperation for Its Own Exorcism: Embodying Pop-Monstrosities in Notorious
TRAMWAY Studio, GLASGOW directions
Sat 25 May 2019
ACCESS: all TMS venues are wheelchair accessible
‘I’ll be ResurrecDEAD as your ultimate fantasy – a horny dead virgin.’ - The Famous
The birth of capitalism and the European witch hunts are historical step-sisters (in the deadliest way possible.) ‘Witches’ were ‘hunted’, fined, ‘tried’ and killed, to delimit women’s financial independence, access to knowledge, and governance over reproductive choices, while property was being privatised, the division of labor literally domesticated women, and ownership itself was denied to women, to the poor, and mostly, to poor women.
That relationship has persisted, morphed to disguise itself within the socio-cultural context of the moment, and, in so many ways, has laid the scene for the neo-liberal commodification of (faux) feminism and its misogynist outcomes – with similar restrictions on our rights, choices, and available subjectivities.
A principle commodity to arise from this repetition of history is a pre-packaged narrative of redemption. We are sold the story that the witch, the feminist, the whore, the prude, the lesbian, the childless, the not-white, the boss, the bitch, the hag, the artist, can all be saved with the right branding.
The commodification of these figures, then, is its own kind of redemption – if it can be packaged and sold, it no longer threatens the means and managers of production. The agency of ‘the witch’ is stripped — and this is what makes the marriage of commercialism and ‘feminism’ a patriarchal problem. It’s the witch hunts with a feminist tagline. #sorrynotsorry but actually, sorry.
In Notorious, the subjectivities I inhabit, and the worlds I imagine, dip their toes into the overflowing dominion of pop-commodification, and yet pose a threat to the stability of that system. From old hag, to sorceress, to sexy baby, I embody a self-exorcising, changeable monster that is both desired and denied, punished and coveted, and, slips between identities – perhaps, revealing the monstrosities of pop-feminism itself.