How did you get started in magic?

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How did you get started in magic?

Postby Guest » March 18th, 2002, 8:49 am

I'm compiling statistics for a Genii article on Women in Magic, and am interested in the following questions. Replies either here or to are much appreciated!

How did you get started in magic?

When asking for help from other magicians, what sort of responses have you received?

When going to a magic shop, either for help or to purchase products, what sort of help have you received?

Boys and girls apparently have an equal interest in magic as children. From looking at the field of magicians, something must happen between when they're young and when they grow up that discourages girls and encourages boys. Specifically to women, can you think of things that happen to you that ALMOST discouraged you? Specifically to men, can you speculate on what might discourage little girls from learning magic?

Do you think that women performing magic simply increase the number of magicians out there performing, or do you think that women bring something unique to the art of magic?

Thanks for your help,


Re: How did you get started in magic?

Postby Guest » March 19th, 2002, 5:27 am

One Man's Speculation.

Dr. Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University (author of "You Just Don't Understand" writes very convincingly about her studies which show that men and women interact with very different communication styles. Women tend to communicate in a way that binds them together and keeps everyone on an equal footing (and feeling good about the group) whereas men tend to communicate in a way that strives to put them in a "one-up" position. I feel that this competitiveness in men's style of relating to others makes them much more attracted to magic where they can easily interpret fooling others as putting them "one-up" on them. Similarly, women are not encouraged by men or women to put themselves in that position. I would suggest that anyone interested in learning more about this buy Dr. Tannen's books. It is quite fascinating.


Re: How did you get started in magic?

Postby Guest » March 20th, 2002, 1:34 am

Hi Miranda,

Good questions - Did I send you answers to these already?

If not - well, here they are for the whole of the forum to read - lucky them :D

I got started in magic for a couple of reasons. First, my older brother would do the red snapper for me, repeatedly. It would drive me crazy that he could do something I couldn't do. So, I set out to learn it and other tricks in order to fool him. In the end I developed more than a passing fancy in magic and began buying books and tricks. While I was in college I met a close-up magician who blew me away with the ambitious card and some coin work. I begged him to teach me. He did and then introduced me to Dave Williamson. I met Williamson while he was performing at a trade show and knew instantly that was the job I wanted.

Everyone has been extremely helpful to me along the way. Dave gave me his book and advice and help whenever I asked (thanks David!),Richard Kaufman taught me a great deal (including the importance of clean, well manicured nails :rolleyes: )...the list is really endless. When I met Mark Phillips, we became friends almost instantly, and he began to teach me the art of working at a trade show. Now we perform a show together that touches on the fact that he is traditional, stodgy, magicians-magician, while I try to bring a sleightly more hip, feminine perspective to the show. It's a lot of fun.

I feel I have been extremely lucky in the contacts I made and the friendships I formed as I was learning and honing my skills. And seeing Lisa Menna, Suzanne, Jade, etc. was very encouraging for me. The guys were always very supportive and encouraging. I think most of them would like to see more women in magic. Why there are not more women is a mystery. My best guess is that once you become a teenage girl it's not great to stand out as someone slightly different - and performing magic will make you stand out as someone different :D . It isn't cool and being cool and accepted is what being a teenage girl is all about. For boys it is okay to be the class clown and show off. I think Mark's response is a pretty good rationale too. When I was a kid, I tended to be less concerned about how I needed to act to fit in. As a result most of the groups accepted me and I was able to do magic and still hang out with people I wanted to be with. The typical peer role models for girls have traditionally been cheerleaders. Recently that has shifted more with sports figures, rock stars and movie stars becoming roll models for girls. I think, as a result of that, more and more girls are getting into magic and sticking with it. I think it is becoming more and more acceptable for girls to do things like show off and stand out - basically be in positions that were traditionally held by men, or boys. This is just my opinion, perhaps a parent with pre-teen or adolescent girls could offer their view.

As for whether or not women bring something unique to magic, it depends on the performer and whether or not they are doing something unique. Men can bring unique things to magic, too. It always comes back to the performance and the style. Lisa Menna made her effects more interesting by adjusting them to fit a woman's wardrobe and accessories. Did Melinda add anything, though, by performing traditional illusions in slinky outfits? If I do the ambitious card it is not more interesting merely b/c I am a woman, but if I do the ambitious card and in the end the card appears in a lipstick case (also a trick Lisa developed) - then maybe I have brought something to the trick.

I'm not sure that makes any sense. Sorry for the looooong reply. :rolleyes: I love to hear myself speak (or type, in this case)

Good luck with the article!

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