Alicia Swiz may be the hardest working feminist in Chicago. In the past few months she’s developed her Slut Talk into a standing room only event at The East Room in Logan Square, brought the Shout Your Abortion girls to Chicago to start a chapter, and began promoting a feminist lipstick company, The Smear Campaign, in Chicago. Between all that she’s still the rock star professor, telling funny stories at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, and hosting SlutTalk at Taboo Tabou. She’s our favorite and a doll so we can’t wait to hang out with her on May 11th at 8 PM to discuss Dating Dudes. We got lucky and caught her between all this crazyness to catch us up on her life.
You’ve been a busy lady in Chicago lately- tell us some of the amazing feminist things you’ve been up to.
I have a new project – Feminist Happy Hour – that I host once a month at The Whistler. It’s an audience interactive dialogue plus Q&A. The next one is Monday May 16 with guests CELINE NEON! It’s a fun and engaging way to unwind after work or after a long weekend without feminism. It’s from 630-8pm and FREE.
I’ve also been working to get SlutTalk off the ground and on the road! Aside form the dialogues at TabooTabou, I’m looking for anew venue for the staged show. I’m also talking with Lumpen radio about a call-in style radio show. But, my big-time goal is to get a van – a Slut Mobile – that I can refurbish with a recording studio in back so I can drive around the country talking to women and recording their stories.
You’ve recently brought the Shout Your Abortion ladies to Chicago – why do you feel Chicago can majorly benefit from them?
The founders of #ShoutYourAbortion were being honored by Planned Parenthood and that’s actually why they were in town. Amelia Bonow reached out to me because SYA is developing chapters in other cities and Chicago is at the top if the list. I’ve hosted successful feminist brunches in the past so another artist and dear friend of mine, Leah Ball, teamed up on a feminist brunch to welcome SYA and introduce them to some of Chicago’s most fierce feminists.
The goal of SYA, as is the goal of SlutTalk, is to destigmatize the language and dialogue around women’s sex, sexuality and reproductive choices. One thing I think Chicago can majorly benefit from is connecting all the people having these dialogues and supporting each other. SYA was born out of one woman sharing her story and Chicago still suffers a bit from that Midwestern politeness that would have women not speak up. Nope. Not on my watch.
You are also busy promoting the Smear Campaign- what’s that all about? Tell us more (P.S. Taboo is carrying it now!)
I discovered Smear Campaign on Instagram and just loved the idea and mission so I reached out to them. They are a cosmetics start-up seeking to raise awareness and change the dialogue around sex and sexual assault through lipstick! So awesome. I mean, a red lipstick named “Slut.” Sign me up. Because they are a newly developing brand I am heaping them to develop the dialogue side of the company.
Your next discussion is dating dudes- what are some tips you have for feminists trying to navigate in the dating world.
Set boundaries rather than expectations. One of my biggest struggles has been letting go or unlearning the behaviors I “expect” to see in order to believe someone has feelings for me. It’s a real slippery slope rooted in old school traditions and norms. One thing I have worked very hard on is understanding what I need to feel safe and respected in a relationship and communicating that to a partner. If someone isn’t able to give me what I need it isn’t a personal failure on my part nor does it mean they are an a-hole or a jerk. That said, I have seen plenty of dudes not really show up, not bring anything to the table. There is almost a default acceptance that relationships are a woman’s responsibility: to engage, to nurture, to maintain. I have no time for that anymore. I am much more interested in balance and accountability.
We’re seriously becoming majorly obsessed with you- what are some upcoming events you have and where can I learn about this so we can stalk you all the time.
May 10 I’m performing at Sappho’s Salon and May 18 I am hosting a panel discussion at Newton/Weinberg Gallery in coordination with they Body is a Battleground exhibit. On June I”ll be performing at Flick Lit at Logan Theatre, telling a story about feminism and Pretty Woman!
I’m super excited about an event I am participating in on June 18 for the launch of a new skateboard company SLIME. There is a skate jam during the day and an art show at night both of which I will be “performing” feminism.
All the information is on my blog and I do a lot of promo on Instagram so follow me! @popgoesalicia & @_sluttalk_