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nettime: Women with beards
I. Poppe on Fri, 17 Jan 97 15:49 MET


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nettime: Women with beards


Women with Beards

>From January 1, 1997, you can download the calendar 'Women with Beards'
>from http://www.dds.nl/~beards. This is a project by Jetty Verhoeff,Ine
>Poppe and Agnes de Ruijter, three Dutch artists who are active on the
>Internet.
I have met two of them in the METRO ( a Multi Users Dungeon-Object
Orientated) which is part of Amsterdam's digital city  (http://www.dds.nl)
Ine once told me about a group of Australian women internet-artists, who
carry the slogan: ' I like to go out there and get my cock sucked'. These
Dutch women have apparently taken this motto to heart. But instead of women
with balls, I find a present for the www-user: a monthly calendar: 'Women
with Beards'.
When I visit the website for the first time, I look with terror at their
Hairy Babe of the Month: the bearded woman writer Natasha Gerson, nursing
her baby Sophie. Despite my disgust I read on. There is a link to an
excerpt from Natasha's book which will appear in May, there is a calendar
that you can subscribe to: a new Babe for every month! Babes of all kinds,
shapes and sizes.

I start to wonder: what type of women would want to put a thing like that
on the net? To my relief three handsome young ladies appear for the
interview: Jetty, a photographer, Agnes, director, and Ine, a writer.
Agnes says: ' The idea of women with beards started out as a joke, but it
has turned into a metaphor for ... (she takes a deep breath) a new way of
looking at ambitions, sex, love and reproduction.'
Ine laughs: 'She practiced on that one!' Agnes nods in agreement.
'The calendar is a nice present, for everyone who types the words 'babe',
'calendar', or 'sex'', Jetty adds.
Jetty Verhoeff dit not digitally edit the pictures, but has instead created
an environment in which she photographs the babes in an attractive way,
after a make-up artist has applied the facial hair.
'A model who sees herself in the mirror with a beard, poses differently',
Jetty says.
The choice of the bearded ladies is very varied; there are young chicks but
also some senior babes. Ladies who are very active on the internet, and
women who whave never heard of the word 'modem'. Agnes: 'Ine and Jetty are
very active on the Internet, they couldn't talk about anything else'.
Jetty:' I have only had a modem for a year, but my phone bills are terrible
already' (Translator's note: in Holland you pay a substantial amount per
hour to your ISP)
 'You can start to collect tin cans,' Agnes suggests.
'Well I was hoping that the Tatjana-calendar which you get with beer
(another odd Dutch custom- translator) would be an inspiration' Jetty
replies, 'but it wasn't- most babe calendars are a real disappointment,
anyway.'
What are the criteria to ask a woman for the calendar?
Ine:'They are all women with a sense of humor, and they are interesting to
look at. Natasha is just nursing, and Sonja is a bit older...'
Jetty: 'We photographed Sonja, a woman of 67, with a beard. That was hard,
because she looked just like a little troll, and I wanted something
special. There was one brilliant picture where she is sitting very
straight, wearing a blue blouse with golden buttons, and she looks just
like a sea captain.'
Ine adds: 'We add links to every babe's page. With Sonja we wanted to link
to the WOUW- the Wild Old Women's club, a group of women of over 65 who are
on the Internet.'
Jetty: 'The Website should look nice, but not too complicated'.
Ine adds: 'The idea is that the site will grow slowly. There will be a
guest book, and we will make some of the images into screensaver babes. I
only got a modem in April '96 but.... my life has become much more fun
already!'
Since June '96, Ine has been writing the weekly column 'Newbe' on the
Digital City Newsletter (http://www.dds.nl/~krantb - only in Dutch
unfortunately, TN) about three girlfriends who hang around in a MOO, and
have rooms and identities there. 'We love her columns', Jetty says. Ine
says it's all fiction: 'Women are of course still a minority on the
Internet, especially those who show some intitiative'.
'You mean you jump some guys' bones occasionally, in the MOO,' Jetty
laughs, who, as Ine, is a regular visitor in the MOO. 'I only did that
once!' Ine protests 'and it was not a big success. The gentleman said he
wasn't an 009- number!'
'At least he can look at you now on our calendar,' Agnes says.
And Jetty adds: 'You have a lot of 'babe.com' calendars on the Internet, of
course. In a sense, our calendar is a tasteful parody. I just hope that
someone in Australia will download it, print it, and hang it in his
garage.'
When I finally get to see a preview of the babes which are planned to come
out in 1997, I have to admit that the bearded ladies have seduced me...

Tycho Meier, Tychom {AT} dds.nl
Translation: Anita de Waard (http://neuro-www2.mgh.harvard.edu/anita/me.html)


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