I. Poppe on Wed, 18 Jun 1997 13:54:09 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> bossy cunts online

Women with Beards can be seen on http://www.dds.nl/~beards

Calendar 1997 - the Structure of Our Website
>From January 1, 1997, the project Women with Beards has been up on the
Internet. On every first day of the month, a new 'hairy babe of the month'
is presented. She can be admired and you can read about her likes and
dislikes; a high-resolution image of the model can be downloaded, with that
month's calendar, which can be printed out, saved and assembled as a
calendar over the year.

On the first page, you can choose between four languages: English, Dutch,
French and German. There is a link there to that month's calendar page, on
which you can look at a full picture of that month's model, read a bit
about her preferences and work and link to sites that the model wants to
show you. You can download the high-res image from this page, too. For
instance, babe of the month June is Anita de Waard, a physicist from Boston
who links to sites about science & art. There are also links from the first
page to previous month's babes.

The Guest Book is an important part of our website. People can subscribe to
this, and it works like a mailing list: visitors post their comments, and
respond like in a newsgroup. Through our site, we have gotten in touch with
different organizations globally, such as the New York publisher Pam
Winterson who lobbies for women not to shave their body hair, and a group
of German men, 'Lebenshilfe fur Manner', who offer advice to feminist men.
The sponsor page shows the (mostly small) companies who sponsor our site,
and the e-mail links show how you can stay informed of the monthly progress
of the site.

The location of our site was sponsored by the 'Digital City'-project in
Amsterdam; their elaborate software also allows us to monitor our visitors
in detail. From its initiation on January 1, our website has had an average
of 2500 hits a day, and this number constantly increases. We periodically
receive large numbers of hits from the Middle East, and are also quite
popular in Eastern Europe. We received an invitation via the internet to
partake in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Warschau, where we were the
entry for the month of April.

The models for the calendar have different ages and different professions:
the babes so far been  a writer, an artist, a model, a journalist, a
director and a physicist. For the rest of 1997 we have planned, amongst
others, to show you a web-designer, a musician and a politician.

The models get the opportunity to show something of themselves and their
work, by submitting a text on their on their lifestyle, fascinations and
profession. There are links to their work: the artist, Linda van Booven,
has links to a video of a project she did for the city of Amsterdam; on the
site of Sonja, the 67-year old model, we can see pictures of her modeling
in the fifties; on Poppy's site we see links to some web-based art projects
she and her friends have made.

The beards have been applied by a make-up artist, and the photo's were shot
in Jetty Verhoeven's studio. The texts and links to websites are written in
collaboration with the models. The cost for materials is paid by a few
sponsors; the models, make-up artist, the translators and the photographer
have all volunteered their time and labor for this project.

The entire project has been set up by a community of friends/colleagues:
technology-minded women who want to show their thoughts and bodies to the
world in this playful, gender-bending way.

On the Internet, pornography is one of the most requested types of
information. By using a word like 'babes' in our title, we attract people
who search for pornographic images, to a site that will be very different
from what they were expecting. We are specifically interested in women with
beards, not because the beards represent masculinity, but because bearded
ladies have always been an attraction at carnies and fairs, and because the
image of a woman with a beard creates confusion concerning the gender of
the model.
Our website is complex in structure and grows every month; by adding the
interests and professions of each woman, a network of woman-centered links
can grow that can function as a seeding place for further gender-conscious,
playful internet-art.
Since the website is presented in four languages, a multi-lingual
population can explore these ideas, and interact via the guest book,
creating an international community of gender-curious, artistically
interested individuals around the globe.

The World-Wide Web consists of sites that you look at, and maybe add to
your bookmarks. But by offering a high-res, printable calendar, we add a
tangible object to this immaterial world.  Because out calendar is
displayed in real life at several places, our project reaches past the web
with its gender-confrontational issues: for example, we recently received a
letter from a sysop who asked for a 'chastened' version of our May-babe
(showing a modest amount pubic hair), because he doesn't want to affront
any of his colleagues. He faithfully hangs our calendar over his desk every

Several articles have by now appeared about our project: they raise
questions about our playing with gender. We don't have a cut-and-dried
answer to these: we just want to amuse and entertain. Like Jetty said to a
Dutch journalist: 'In my imagination our calendar is pinned to the wall
with scotch tape in a garage in Australia.'  By exploring our websites, the
links, and the bodies, mind and work of our models, we hope everyone can
find their own answers. And, of course, admire our beautiful bearded babes.

The Project 'Women with Beards' grows by the day. We are actively pursuing
the expansion of the website and our philosophy concerning gender,
information technology, and the role that women should play in a new,
multimodal and multimedia world. We are currently organizing meetings
around the site, and are planning a text/sound version for the visually
Ine Poppe and Jetty Verhoeff

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