International Women’s Day 2020

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Tom Stone
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International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 8th, 2020, 9:13 am

Today is the International Women’s Day 2020.
This is the day when year long projects dealing with women's rights and women's health is being presented and initiated.

Last year's theme was “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, which put innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.

This year, the theme is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. Besides supporting the big international efforts, there's also what we can do as individuals. United Nations gives 12 examples here.

Within our own fold, if the blackpool discussion is to go by, there might be cause for some reflection and considerations. Elsewhere, I wrote the following...

When a culture becomes too homogenous, its growth becomes stilted. We have had such an overwhelming lack of women in magic for so long, that many of us have taken it for granted that it is normal. It isn't.

Since Peter Rosengren made me aware of the lack of learning in our field, 20 years ago, I have seen the wonderful outcome when magicians work together, during the workshops I have led. Creative exciting work. I didn't think anything was missing.
Then, 5 years ago, in my and Johan Ståhl's university course, we had our first female participant. That made us happy, but we didn't think further than that. We assumed she'd just be one of the "guys", albeit in a slightly unusual shape.
A few days into the course, unexpected things begun to happen in the group exercises. It was like a new door had opened in our midst, and through it came faint whifts of new scents, possibilities, vantage points, thoughts, ideas, perspectives... and the presentations changed accordingly; became wilder, more unexpected, more artistic, more nuanced...

...That was when I for the first time realized that the lack of women in magic wasn't their problem - it was my problem. If the prescense of just one woman could transform the creative dynamic of a whole group...
...I had previously assumed I had come pretty far in my own artistic evolution, but when imagining how much further I would have come, if I through my life have had access to the same kind of influences as the group now had... it was pretty clear that my creative range actually was impoverished and pitiful. That needed to change!

I thought back to my youth, on all the things that made me go into magic.
The sense of belonging.
The role models.
The relief it brought to ignore the awful world around and jump head first into intense problemsolving sessions...
...then I tried to imagine that I had been a young girl instead. And that was pretty depressing. Had I been a girl, I would still have the benefit of the problemsolving (but even more problems to solve).
But I would have had almost no rolemodels.
No one in the books would look like me.
There would be no sense of belonging.
How to solve that?

As an experiment, I decided that in all my Genii articles for 2016, I would put women in my own place in all the illustrations. I wondered if I should explain the reason, but decided against it. Better just do it straight-on as if it was the norm, since I wanted it to be the norm. I was curious to see if it made any difference.
So far, I have no idea if it did.

Another aspect I began to ponder over was... over the years, I've seen the occasional girl enter magic, and then phase out again. I searched my memory and counted on the fingers, and realized that if they had stayed in magic, we would have a pretty good ratio of men and women. So one essential step could be to track down and interview those who left magic, to find out why they left. No idea how that could be done, though. Perhaps magic clubs could go through old membership rolls and do a survey, but who'd organize it?

Reading Nikola Arkane's blogpost for this week gives a hint. It is not only about dealing with socially inept and predatory men within our fold, it is sometimes even worse when venturing out in the real world. My own experience of being groped is limited to when I did close-up magic at the Ladies' Dinners at the Chalmers University when I was 23. Sounds like a joke, but it was bloody terrifying, humiliating and diminishing. I had bruises on my thighs. And I had no one to ask for advice on how to handle that experience. Had I been a young woman, I would have even fewer to ask for advice, and it would probably be more frequent than once in a lifetime. Soo... we do not only need more women in magic, we also need to encourage the growth of a community of female magicians, so that there will be somewhere to turn to for advice and encouragement in dealing with matters that male magicians seldom experience.

During the last decade, there have been a huge increase in the emergence of female magicians. So, evidently, we are doing at least some things right. Would be nice to pinpoint those things and do more of it.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 8th, 2020, 10:49 am

"A few days into the course, unexpected things begun to happen in the group exercises. It was like a new door had opened in our midst, and through it came faint whifts of new scents, possibilities, vantage points, thoughts, ideas, perspectives... and the presentations changed accordingly; became wilder, more unexpected, more artistic, more nuanced..."

That's exciting! So much to be learned from our female counterparts if we are open to it. They have a vision enabling them to see things in a different dimension, and a very subtle, insightful and creative perspective. My lovely girlfriend has often helped me to become aware of nuances I would have missed...

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2020, 5:56 pm

I’m happy for women in magic that tom Stone is here to speak up for them. We need more men like tom to help them and give them a voice.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby performer » March 8th, 2020, 6:20 pm

Some of them don't really need any help to "give them a voice". I know one who is perfectly capable of looking after herself. I better not name her as she is of a somewhat irritable nature if I mention her publicly and I do wish to live. However, I did mention her in my literary masterpiece "The Lives of a Showman" and in fact devoted an entire chapter to her. Here is a little extract which should give you an idea how she handles hecklers. She really does not need to worry about being harassed by male magicians in Blackpool or anywhere else. Come to think of it male anything---anywhere. . Read this and you will see what I mean.


"Temper came out if she was being heckled. I well remember two young men giving her a hard time. She lost patience with one of them as he bent forward to scatter the cards on the table. As he did so his tie was hanging down and this proved to be too much of a temptation and she promptly pulled it so hard that the fellow came down with a jerk and banged his head on the table. After that he and his friend took fright and he scampered away in a painful daze with his friend following after him."

They are not all delicate little flowers you know................................

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2020, 6:34 pm

performer wrote:
They are not all delicate little flowers you know................................



Oh, I know.

But then again, I’m not the one patting my own back astride the white horse.

If we want women in magic to be treated fairly and with respect, we might want to be careful of the messages we are send When attempting to be advocates.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 8th, 2020, 8:08 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:When attempting to be advocates.


I'm a bit puzzled over the non sequitur - are you perhaps replying to the wrong post?
I'm fairly certain that my post was about myself and my work - that I've found my creative range to be impoverished and pitiful, because I have been lacking influences that should have been there, and about my attempts to amend that void.

None of your posts seem to be about that, but about something else completely. If anything is unclear, let me know and I'll try to explain it to you.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 8th, 2020, 8:18 pm

Some of those posting here are annoying me. I have work to do which, at the moment, does not allow me to ride herd on this thread!
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2020, 9:51 pm

If we believe that it’s important to encourage women to participate In magic - and Men to treat them respectfully - then we should consider if what we are doing in actually encouraging that progress or working to its detriment.

I think that’s a conversation worthy of having. I think finding real solutions has value.

I don’t think posts like Tom’s help. I think posts like these are often self serving, which is admittedly no different from many posts made on the internet.

When men congratulate themselves on what they have done in regard to the issue it only reinforces the power dynamic of the male as being the gatekeeper and the woman as lacking agency. Tom is not the only male guilty of this. But as someone who sincerely cares about this issue, I felt it would be remiss not to use this as an opportunity
To call out detrimental practices.

Women aren’t merit badges. (Admittedly this speaks to some of tom’s other posts on the matter, here and elsewhere.)

Likewise, if someone really wants the perception of women in magic to change, the cause might be better served by encouraging the female magicians whose work one is fond to come here and share it herself. They don’t need a man to be a filter or their agent. There is a fine line between an introduction and an exhibition.

It may seem like a small point, but I think it’s an important one. While this post may not be the worst case of it, it certainly has elements which could be seen as some as potentially problematic. I think there is value in pointing that out - if indeed we do want our choices to encourage female participation in magic and change men’s attitudes about them.

Finally, It may also be wise to consider if the nature of our relationship with the people who’s work we are Amplifying undermines the agency of the people whom we are trying to help - if only in perception.

There is a terrible stereotype in magic about women being undeserving of their successes, that the only reason they are Known is because of “personal relationships” they have had with people who have power in the field. The person who’s work tom is amplifying is his girlfriend, and I’m sure is a wonderful person who has no knowledge of what he has done. Sadly the only way any of us would have known about her and her blog is because of Tom’s advocacy. Which - on national women’s day - only reinforces the worst and most outdated of sexist attitudes.

I don’t think tom considered this. I am reasonably sure he would hate for his choices to work against them goal of increasing participation among women in magic. But sadly sometimes our choices accidentally undermine our goals.

I wanted to point out that, in spite of his best intentions. Tom (and others who share his passion) may not be making the best choices for what they want to achieve.

In previous conversation tom has suggested that solving the issues of female representation in magic is a simple one. I disagree. I think it is a challenging problem that bumper sticker slogans will not fix.

I would prefer a discussion where we deal with the issues and I think there could be value in that. As you saw previously tom seems to think this is personal. It’s not. At least not on my end.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 9th, 2020, 2:07 am

Brad Henderson wrote:The person who’s work tom is amplifying is his girlfriend, and I’m sure is a wonderful person who has no knowledge of what he has done. Sadly the only way any of us would have known about her and her blog is because of Tom’s advocacy.

Regarding the blog, Google Analytics says otherwise. Regarding Nikola herself; had you bothered to read the linked blogpost, you'd know that no one paved the way for her - she won the IBM British Ring close up competition last year on her own merits; and you are the only one who think it wasn't merited.
Regarding advocacy, yes I talk about people in my proximity who do good work - as I've always done. You didn't seem to have a problem with that when it was male magicians like Anders Moden, Axel Adler, Tomas Blomberg, Håkan Berg, Johan Ståhl, Mystique... but as soon as it is a woman who is referenced, then it suddenly is such a huge problem that you must write long and multiple posts about it?

And what is the option you give as your prefered alternative when it involves the good work of a woman, or as you say, "a wonderful person who has no knowledge"? Ah, yes, to not mention them at all. Guardians of the status quo...

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 9th, 2020, 2:13 am

Tom Stone wrote:We have had such an overwhelming lack of women in magic for so long, that many of us have taken it for granted that it is normal. It isn't.
Is it ever normal for there to be an overwhelming lack of women in any field of endeavor where their capacity to excel is the same as that of their male counterparts?

There are three things that have consumed a great deal of my time and effort over the years. Chess, poker, and magic.
All of these activities are extremely lacking in female participation.

Out of the hundreds of tournament chess games I played, only once was I ever paired against a woman. You rarely ever saw even a single woman participant.

Poker is only a little better. Of the 8,569 players in last years WSOP Main Event, only 4% were women.

Maybe the number of women in magic is somewhat better than in poker or chess, but it is still very much unbalanced.

Why is this?

I don't know.

Maybe it's the way media portrays these things. Maybe it's because men are jackasses.

Chess, poker, and magic are just the three things that I have personal experience with. I feel sure there's probably a laundry list of of things that are numerically underrepresented by women.

You say it isn't normal, but sadly, by definition it is.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 9th, 2020, 2:58 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:Chess, poker, and magic are just the three things that I have personal experience with. I feel sure there's probably a laundry list of of things that are numerically underrepresented by women.

You say it isn't normal, but sadly, by definition it is.


Two of those are games, and unfortunately, I know nothing about games and can't say anything them. But if you compare it with other things from the realm of games (Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Bridge...) are the gender ratio in Chess and Poker an anomaly?
The third one - magic - is, to large extent, a performance art. Comparing with other things from the realm of performance art (theater, circus, music), the gender ratio in magic is an anomaly.

Or was, since it have changed, and is changing, in later years.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby performer » March 9th, 2020, 8:50 am

I am not sure this is anything to agonise over. If women want to do magic let them. If they don't then allow them not to. Just let nature take it's course. And it works the same in reverse. I haven't seen too many men take up knitting..........................

Oddly enough I devoted a short paragraph to this subject in the first chapter of my "The Lives of a Showman" book. Here it is:
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................

In the above paragraph I have used the words “he” and “himself”. To be politically correct I suppose I should have written “she” and “herself” in there somewhere. However, it is a fact that there are very few women in magic. Probably ninety percent of performers are male. Why this is I have no idea but I expect that if I thought about it enough I would come up with a reason. However, I don’t have the energy, inclination or space to deal with it and this is probably a blessing. I shall leave the matter to the psychologists and press on with my story.
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................

In other words I decided not to worry about it. I think that is the best course in this discussion too!

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 9th, 2020, 9:46 am

performer wrote:However, it is a fact that there are very few women in magic. Probably ninety percent of performers are male.

Your numbers are likely quite old. More women are entering magic now than before. And fewer women are leaving magic now than before.
About 30% of the attendees are women at the magic conventions I frequent. Over 50% of the participants in my next Conjuring workshop are women.
But it isn't really a numbers game, nor is it about fair representation. That's just tangents. Or tools. It is about the evolution of our art, and about presenting performances that are fresh and relevant.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby performer » March 9th, 2020, 1:18 pm

The book was published in 2011 and was started a few years before that. In fact I think around 2007 so I suspect when I wrote those words it was pretty accurate. It was only an estimate. Come to think of it from what I see in Toronto I suspect it is still accurate. I do notice however, that in the area of children's entertainment there seems to be a goodly number of female clowns.

I certainly don't see 30% female attendance at magic conventions. I am not sure I even see 10%. It may be different in Sweden of course. I don't think it is that important anyway. If women wish to pursue magic nobody is stopping them. And as I have already stated it is to their own advantage not to have too many of them around. It is a great gimmick and the more of them around the more the advantage is diluted.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 9th, 2020, 2:17 pm

I’m sure that all art, entertainment and market would be a lot better if there only existed one single filmmaker, one painter, one author and one musician. The time for that is long gone though.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Bill Mullins » March 9th, 2020, 11:14 pm

Tom Stone wrote: magic - is, to large extent, a performance art. Comparing with other things from the realm of performance art (theater, circus, music), the gender ratio in magic is an anomaly.

If you compare magic to performing arts to which it is more similar -- stand-up comedy, juggling -- the gender ratio for magic does not stand out so much.

Discussions of the gender imbalance in magic seem to start from the premise that this imbalance is a problem to be rectified. But what if the imbalance stems in part from an innate difference in how men and women are wired? We know that men and women see the world differently, and interact with other people differently. How do we know that at least some of the gender imbalance isn't a result of these built-in differences? Maybe men are just more interested in magic than women, and this manifests as more men taking up the craft.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Q. Kumber » March 10th, 2020, 7:11 am

Bill makes an interesting observation. Many disciplines do have a noticeable gender imbalance. Dancing for example. Boys who do ballet or Irish Dancing are frequently subjected to bullying.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/opinion- ... 46186e2954
https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/en ... ex-collins

I heard Jim Dale (the first to play Barnum in the musical) speak about the first time his father took him to a variety show in a theatre. He was 11. After it he said, "That's what I want to do." Showing extraordinary empathy and wisdom his father said, "Well if that's what you want, you need to learn how to move on stage." His dad sent him to dancing school for the next five years where he was the only boy.

Back to Bill's observation about being wired differently. Paul Daniels when asked why there were so few women in magic answered, "Around the ages of 10-12 girls become more socially aware and interested in things outside of themselves while boys tend to keep playing with their toys."

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 10th, 2020, 8:04 am

Q. Kumber/Quoting Paul Daniels: " 'Around the ages of 10-12 girls become more socially aware and interested in things outside of themselves while boys tend to keep playing with their toys.' "

It's gratifying to know that about half the 10-12 year old children on the planet are more socially aware than me. I am still playing with my (magical) toys 60+ years after acquiring my first one (the Magic Milk Pitcher). This is evidenced by the fact that my first official act after pouring a cup of coffee at 6 a.m. this morning, was to start playing with my Tenyo Flash Dice. (Awesome trick BTW).

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Moore » March 10th, 2020, 8:22 am

The point is not about "forcing" women to do magic or trying to deprive men of magic opportunities (as several of the posters above seem to fear) but simply highlighting that there is a huge imbalance in the magic industry and that virtually every part of the industry is inherently un-inviting to women for absolutely no good reason other than laziness to change outdated methods and ideas. It has been proven time and again that when new cultures or demographics enter the magic scene then huge innovations are made that benefit the entire industry - to argue that absolutely nothing should be done to eliminate the obstacles to women taking part in the broader magic scene is to argue that you don't want to have new opportunities and new benefits for yourself and ALL other magicians.

And the tired old cliches of "men are different to women" "they're wired differently" "maybe they aren't interested" are no different to the types of arguments made to not address segregation 70 years ago and more importantly are arguments made about 15 years ago by the dinosaurs of the comedy industry... the same dinosaurs who have now faded to obscurity whilst the broader comedy industry has boomed; has become much more representative of the audiences they serve and that now has some of its biggest (and highest paid) stars being the women and other minorities it was argued "weren't interested in doing comedy" and that "wasn't what the audiences wanted".

You don't have to take the idea that magic should be more representative on trust, you don't have to believe anything at all because you can see that every other performing art that has addressed the issue has benefited tenfold.
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 10th, 2020, 10:51 am

Tom Moore Wrote: "And the tired old cliches of 'men are different to women' 'they're wired differently' ... are no different to the types of arguments made to not address segregation 70 years ago" and
"virtually every part of the industry is inherently un-inviting to women for absolutely no good reason other than laziness to change outdated methods and ideas. It has been proven time and again that when new cultures or demographics enter the magic scene then huge innovations are made that benefit the entire industry - to argue that absolutely nothing should be done to eliminate the obstacles to women taking part in the broader magic scene is to argue that you don't want to have new opportunities and new benefits for yourself and ALL other magicians."

Who made the argument that segregation should not be changed because people of color were "wired differently"?

If men and women aren't wired differently, then why is "the industry" inviting to men yet "inherently uninviting" to women?

Who is it, specifically, that is guilty of "laziness" to change outmoded methods and ideas?

What exactly are those outmoded methods and ideas?

What does "the broader magic scene" mean?

What specifically are the "obstacles to women taking part in the broader magic scene"?

What "should be done" to eliminate the obstacles, and who, specifically, are the ones that can do it, and how?

In what way are the members of this forum responsible for obstructing women from becoming involved in magic?

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Moore » March 10th, 2020, 11:29 am

For the answer to pretty much all your questions go read the posts women magicians have made explaining all the problems and issues they've had. There's a thread on here about the recent Blackpool magic convention, there's plenty of threads on facebook about the responses female magicians have had when visiting the "traditional" magic clubs and events. Literally every question you've just asked has been answered a dozen times over already.
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Anthony Vinson » March 10th, 2020, 11:32 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Tom Stone wrote: magic - is, to large extent, a performance art. Comparing with other things from the realm of performance art (theater, circus, music), the gender ratio in magic is an anomaly.

If you compare magic to performing arts to which it is more similar -- stand-up comedy, juggling -- the gender ratio for magic does not stand out so much.

Discussions of the gender imbalance in magic seem to start from the premise that this imbalance is a problem to be rectified. But what if the imbalance stems in part from an innate difference in how men and women are wired? We know that men and women see the world differently, and interact with other people differently. How do we know that at least some of the gender imbalance isn't a result of these built-in differences? Maybe men are just more interested in magic than women, and this manifests as more men taking up the craft.


Hard to argue with this assessment.

Personally, I think it’s less a matter of actively attracting more females to magic, than it is actively encouraging and supporting those who are. Stop treating them like novelties, and instead treat them like people interested in the art.

I had a recent conversation with a young woman who has been into magic for around three years. She reported that while the majority of her experiences at conventions and club meetings have been positive, those that were not were particularly harrowing. Being groped in elevators and parking lots, asked to go out for lunch or dinner to discuss magic only to discover that it was intended as a date, being stalked around the convention floor… And again, these were not the majority of her experiences, but they certainly tainted the rest.

When I asked her what we, those who were concerned about such treatment, could do to support her and others, she said, “Say something.” Now, I would recommend first asking the female magician if assistance was even wanted first, but would otherwise have no problem speaking up. In fact, I intend to do so in the future.

If you see something, say something makes sense. It did back in the early 90s when I had words with a well-known closeup magician. He was gay, and kept hitting on young, underage boys. Touching them, etc. I not only spoke with him; I also spoke with the convention host. Who wouldn't?

Av

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 10th, 2020, 11:51 am

Tom Moore wrote:For the answer to pretty much all your questions go read the posts women magicians have made explaining all the problems and issues they've had. There's a thread on here about the recent Blackpool magic convention, there's plenty of threads on facebook about the responses female magicians have had when visiting the "traditional" magic clubs and events. Literally every question you've just asked has been answered a dozen times over already.


I'm trying to figure out how can I comment on this "response" without using words like "rhetoric" and "cop-out"?

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Moore » March 10th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Unfortunately if you feel unable to find and read the thread on this very board about the actual specific barriers and problems that were experienced at Blackpool convention this year (and sorry to keep bring that convention up - it was very good; it's just the most recent example), unable to read the specific experiences/issues detailed & linked in this very thread and if you're not a member of the various facebook magic groups that have been full of actual female magicians openly discussing the barriers and problems they face when interfacing with the traditional magic community then I'm not sure providing even more links for you to read would be beneficial?

Lets flip this around - why SHOULDN'T we be making magic more inclusive, more friendly and more diverse; why shouldn't we be actively seeking out as many cultures and experiences completely alien to our own personal experiences and seeing if they could contribute and better our hobby / career. The most depressing part of this whole conversation for me is the number of people saying "i don't think there's a problem so we shouldn't do anything" and the number of people saying "i'm perfectly happy if absolutely nothing changes and i'm not interested in discovering completely new things"
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Bill Mullins » March 10th, 2020, 12:33 pm

Tom Moore wrote:For the answer to pretty much all your questions go read the posts women magicians have made explaining all the problems and issues they've had. There's a thread on here about the recent Blackpool magic convention,


The Blackpool thread has no posts by women magicians, just a bunch of men telling us how bad we are to women.

One guy did say that there were "lots of women" there, so the maybe the problem isn't as bad as you are making it out to be.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Bill Mullins » March 10th, 2020, 12:49 pm

Tom Moore wrote: virtually every part of the industry is inherently un-inviting to women for absolutely no good reason other than laziness to change outdated methods and ideas.


Genii is a big part of the magic industry. In what way is it "inherently un-inviting to women"? 3 of the last 12 covers have featured women. Chloe Olewitz is doing a bang up job as a feature writer and columnist.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Maybe men are just more interested in magic than women, and this manifests as more men taking up the craft.

That is a valid hypothesis that have been refuted many times already.
I have access to Google Analytics for several magic related sites, and the demographic data tells a different story.
For sites about magic shows (for laypeople) the visitors are 45-65% women.
For sites about the craft (for magicians), the visitors are 21-53% women.

Those who run magic courses for beginners have a rather good gender ratio.

The last Swedish magic convention had 30% women as attendees.

And if it was a DNA thing, the current surge of female magicians wouldn't happen.

The matter isn't perhaps about attracting more women, but about figuring out, and changing, the things that make them leave.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 12:53 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Genii is a big part of the magic industry. In what way is it "inherently un-inviting to women"? 3 of the last 12 covers have featured women. Chloe Olewitz is doing a bang up job as a feature writer and columnist.

Kaufman have, since at least 5 years back, made conscious efforts to change the status quo. Large parts of the magic industry are lagging after.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 10th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Thanks, Tom. There's more to be done. We shall shortly have a new female columnist, and more women on the cover of Genii this year.
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2020, 3:02 pm

I don’t think anyone is against the idea of greater female participation in magic. The question we should ask is if our efforts are working to encourage or discourage this.

Complaining on the Internet accomplishes nothing - Nor does patting ourselves on our own backs for our enlightened worldviews.

Unless magic bookers feel there is a Consequence for not booking a more representative conference, there will not be change. (this is, of course, a two-sided coin. Will convention goers withhold their registrations from bookers who do not book equitable representation, or will they return to conferences that feature an equitable number of women participants? And how do we avoid the appearance that the booking of women is merely an expediency - tokenism - and not a sincere attempt to encourage participation. I often fear that in some cases it seems women are being used as pawns in a game of “who’s the most woke.’)

Likewise. I have suggested that male magicians who are particularly concerned about the issue band together and agree not to perform at conferences that failed to meet equitable representational goals. (And that of course, requires we agree on what that would be.)It is my understanding that several Hollywood celebrities have done something similar. Perhaps this could encourage actual change, at least more than a bunch of guys chatting on the Internet

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 3:14 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Unless magic bookers feel there is a Consequence for not booking a more representative conference, there will not be change.

Not sure it is necessary to go the negative route. Would work just as well with a positive route, like how to bring in more people.
Some conventions have had dwindling attendee numbers in later years. A change in the bookings would bring in attendees who wouldn't have gone otherwise.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Moore » March 10th, 2020, 4:43 pm

. Complaining on the Internet accomplishes nothing - Nor does patting ourselves on our own backs for our enlightened worldviews.


Of course not, which is why in my company we’ve got near perfect gender split, in every show we are involved in production/casting/employment we ensure that the demographic makeup is representative of the actual audience demographic (including in the magic theatre we built in 2019 in a very conservative country but which actually had 50-50 staff ration right up to Managment level) as well as actively sponsoring fringe events at conventions to ensure there is a more diverse offering. I worked closely with Anthony Owen over the last few years and have been entrusted by his business partners to ensure the projects he was working on will go ahead; specially projects to attract new magicians from diverse backgrounds and to provide support to “”fringe”” elements of the magic world precisely because that is where the next generation of stars will come from.

Here ends my humblebrag, please don’t ever try to suggest that being more inclusive is lip service/impossible/unwanted/not viable again because it’s actually very easy and produces the most amazing rewards.
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2020, 6:34 pm

Tom Stone wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:Unless magic bookers feel there is a Consequence for not booking a more representative conference, there will not be change.

Not sure it is necessary to go the negative route. Would work just as well with a positive route, like how to bring in more people.
Some conventions have had dwindling attendee numbers in later years. A change in the bookings would bring in attendees who wouldn't have gone otherwise.


As i wrote - and you ignored -

(this is, of course, a two-sided coin. Will convention goers withhold their registrations from bookers who do not book equitable representation, or will they return to conferences that feature an equitable number of women participants?


It’s quite easy to make a claim that booking women will increase attendance. I don’t think that is necessarily true - especially if the women booked are unheard of or fail to deliver a performance worthy of paying the ticket price.

The problem is more complex with myriad of social, cultural, and economic factors that cannot be solved with superficial bumper sticker solutions.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2020, 6:43 pm

Tom Moore.

If every male magician put as much effort into enacting solutions (which includes giving women agency in the discussion and not merely wearing them as merit badges as some like to do) as they do complaining on the internet, the problem would no longer exist.

I applaud your success. But you aren’t booking magic conventions. You aren’t the typical conference attendee.

Presenting magic to the public is a different beast than serving the desires of those who spend money at magic conventions.

It’s great you have used your resources to do what you have done

But I do not believe change inside the world of magic will come easily. In fact, tom’s friend gay mentioned that his journey was challenging and that there was a lot of hard work required to achieve the type of representation they have achieved.

If it were as easy as bitching on the internet the problem wouldn’t still exist.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 7:07 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:It’s quite easy to make a claim that booking women will increase attendance. I don’t think that is necessarily true - especially if the women booked are unheard of or fail to deliver a performance worthy of paying the ticket price.

I'm not sure why you insist that what you think should have higher credibility than actual real-world experience.
Yes, it is very easy to make the claim that more diverse booking brings in new attendees, in addition to the amount of regulars, when you've seen it happen.

I don't understand your aversion to female magicians. Did a woman kill your brother?

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 7:15 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:But I do not believe change inside the world of magic will come easily. In fact, tom’s friend gay mentioned that his journey was challenging and that there was a lot of hard work required to achieve the type of representation they have achieved.

Yes, Gay Ljungberg begun to challenge the status quo over 15 years ago - when female magicians were a lot fewer. It took him a lot of work and a lot of research back then. That is what he said. He wasn't talking about present day.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2020, 7:21 pm

Please read and respond what I actually write - not your weird prejudicial interpretations.

And why do you insist on making everything personal?

Do people usually pay to go to conventions to see people - regardless of their gender - who they have never heard of?

I know I don’t.

Do people pay to go see acts that they have seen before and didn’t care for?

I know I don’t.

Just booking female magicians is NOT the solution. There are in most conventions greater female representation than there was previously, but I don’t think much progress has been made regarding the issue of non male participation.

AS EVIDENCED BY THE CONTINUED DISCUSSIONS OF THIS TYPE.

I would like to see actual progress made on this issue but I’m not so arrogant to think that my individual efforts may prove anything or merit any community wide difference nor am I so delusional to believe that a complex problem is going to be solved by simplistic solutions. And I have his quote right here and it’s very much written in the present tense. He mentions ‘the hard research you do if you want to make a change and make your convention more inclusive Is a necessary part of the learning process.’ So clearly it’s not Easy - or else he wouldn’t have expressed concern about getting lazy. If it were Easy, being lazy wouldn’t be a concern.

And of course we can’t ignore the fundamentally different cultural dynamics that are unique to your country and not shared every where else in the world.

Now - when you care to have an honest discussion we can. If you are going to continue to try to make this personal, then just do that without me. I don’t need to prove anything to the rest of the world as you seem so desperate to do.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Moore » March 10th, 2020, 7:30 pm

If you're talking about the little regional conventions you would be right - but the larger & long running conventions do have a well established history of booking unknown performers, risky bookings, people who have never lectured before & giving them the support and extra resources needed to get them "up to standard" and those performers then find themselves on the circuit and get booked by those smaller conventions because they are no longer an unknown quantity. The larger conventions (and societies & magic grandees) regularly do get their attendees to trust their judgement and take a punt on the act/performer no one had heard of because the attendees know that by definition if Fism / Blackpool / The Session / MAGIC live / Genii convention have taken the trouble to put someone on the bill then they are probably worth checking out.
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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 7:48 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Just booking female magicians is NOT the solution.

And yet, everyone who actually have tried it says otherwise.

Earlier you said:
especially if the women booked are unheard of or fail to deliver a performance worthy of paying the ticket price.
You seem convinced that it would be hugely different than if the guy booked are unheard of or fail to deliver a performance worthy of paying the ticket price - when there's no rational reason for that assumption.

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Re: International Women’s Day 2020

Postby Tom Stone » March 10th, 2020, 8:14 pm

Brad Henderson wrote: but I don’t think much progress has been made regarding the issue of non male participation.

Things are happening there too. So far, mostly among the attendees. There's a few youtube channels being watched, people who might be ready to be gambled on in 2-3 years.


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