Medusa at Tola: an all-female line up for International Women’s Day

London Student met with Alice, BA International Relations and World Philosophy at SOAS, to talk about ‘Medusa’, the event she’s planning to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

So what are you doing?

I’m planning an event for International Women’s Day. It’s a club night with an all-female DJ line-up, although I’m aware that saying female DJ is really patronising. All the proceeds go to women’s charities, such as Rape Crisis and Refuge. It’s just a general celebration of women.

When did you decide to do this event?

I guess non-officially about two years ago, I kinda had it on my mind. It began before I started my degree, because I volunteered for ‘Women of the World’ festival and I had a general interest in that area…

Is it female only or open for everyone?

It’s open to everyone. While putting on this event, I went through varying degrees of how exclusive should it be, but I decided to make it more women-positive than male-negative – if that makes sense.

When did you start considering yourself a feminist?

It’s the classic: I had such problems with the word when I was 17 -19. I went to university before SOAS – I did 2 years at UEA (University of East Anglia) in Norwich which shaped my need for feminism. I became a pretty big feminist after that – I experienced a lot of sexism and misogyny there. Now I love the word ‘feminist’.

What do you hope to gain from this event? 

It was just a passion-project at first. But since tying it with the charities (Rape Crisis and Refuge), it is really important to make a club a safe space for women, ’cause it’s just not the case now. I know that there are other people doing stuff like this, creating a safe space for marginalised people and not just for cis women, but also for trans women, women of colour and the queer community.

My aim is to create a harassment free club environment, even though I know that’s not something that other people haven’t thought before. Even last night I went to a club and I experienced harassment.

So this project is very personal to you.

For sure, I’m very invested in it and this project has been really helpful to me but it’s grown to be about more than just myself. Going back to [harassment in clubs], it’s this very insidious kind of sexual violence which is not necessarily illegal but it’s rife and endemic. It’s important to raise these issues in an active club environment, because anyone can get sexually harassed. Last night I didn’t feel like there was much I could do about it, there wasn’t anyone I felt I could talk to about it.

Who are the DJs playing?

There’s Snoochie Shy and Martha who are quite big on Radar Radio. We also have Lady Amz, Eliza Rose, Surati, Dark Stepper and Hannah Walker-Brown.

What kind of music do they play?

It’s a mixture but mainly it’s quite grime-based and Afrobeats. But then a lot of soul, R&B. I’m just happy to let the DJs do what they want. It’s amazing that they were on board, since they’re all playing for free. The whole event is done for free.

Where is this club?

The club is Tola in Peckham, which is a new club. It’s on 9 March – the day after International Women’s Day – and it starts at 10pm so you all should be there.

What’s the name of the event?

It’s called Medusa. I just asked a male friend what comes to mind when you think of female empowerment and he said ‘Medusa’. I was really happy with that name, because I had been thinking of using a Greek name for a while. I read the myth of Medusa and in the myth she gets raped so to use this name means de-stigmatising and being able to talk about sexual assault and harassment.

Are you gonna be doing other events like this one?

100%. I’m doing a spoken word event called ‘Mythos’ hopefully at the end of March. It’s called ‘Mythos’, cause I wanted to keep up the Greek theme. On my courses, I have been reading about the two types of rhetorics: mythos and logos. I think that they can be compared to femininity and masculinity: mythos is a very feminine way of speaking, while logos is a more masculine form. Logos took over at a certain time and philosophy has been dominated by men since then.

Medusa will be this Friday at Tola in Peckham. Tickets can be bought here.