Today on Ujima – Fashion and Feminism

First up on today’s Women’s Outlook show was fashion designer, Kieran Mceleny. He’s just 19, but he staged his first fashion show aged just 16, and established his own label a year later. That’s pretty darn impressive, if you ask me.

If that wasn’t enough, Kieran also models some of his own clothes, even if they are intended for women. He’s trained as a dancer, and has the effortless grace and control of poise that you’d expect from someone with those skills. He identifies as a gay male transvestite, and we had a little chat about labels within the vast and complicated trans umbrella.

Unfortunately there was a mixup with the arrangements for our second guest, Christina Zaba. My deepest apologies to her for that. Thankfully we have been able to reschedule her for two weeks time. Also thanks to Kieran who agreed to stay on and chat for another half hour.

By the way, Kieran has a crowdfunding campaign going to allow him to hire a venue for a Christmas fashion show. As he lives fairly locally to me, I’m hoping it will happen.

Also, for all you drag queens out there, one of the things Kieran does is make totally over the top dresses for ladies like you. He does understand your requirements.

You can listen to the first hour of the show here.

For the second half of the show I was joined by Sian Webb of Bristol Women’s Voice. We talked initially about the fact that Bristol does poorly compared to the rest of the UK on the issue of the gender pay gap. Sadly one of the likely explanations for this is the city’s concentration on engineering and IT, both of which professions are somewhat hostile to women. Of course it is a very complicated issue. We also talked a but about Italy, which does much better than the UK, but probably only because it has far fewer women in employment.

In the final half hour Sian was joined by Bristol’s Assistant Mayor, Daniella Radice, and we talked about the campaign to get more women elected to Bristol City Council, which you may recall me tweeting about last Wednesday when I attended the official launch. I have an article about that due up on Bristol 24/7 any day now. I’ll point you at it when it goes live.

The playlist for today’s show was as follows:

  • Love Will Save the Day – Whitney Houston
  • Love Will Save the Day – Koko Jones
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone? – Savage Rose
  • God on Our Side – Bob Dylan
  • Respect – Aretha Franklin
  • Independent Woman Part I – Destiny’s Child
  • Doubt – Mary J Blige
  • Sisters are Doing It for Themselves – The Eurythmics

Koko Jones is an African-American trans woman and a top class percussionist. Prior to her transition she worked with many great acts, including Whitney and also the Isley Brothers. She has a solo album out titled Who’s That Lady, and I warmly recommend it. Here she is playing the title track.