Dozens of women and femmes will descend upon the Good Room in Greenpoint this Thursday to party until that oppressive cis-white-male toxic-masculinity is done for. Or at least they’re gonna try.
The Femmequerade Ball, a fierce feminist bash filled with DJ sets, performances, and lots o’ partyin’, is the brainchild of Raechel Rosen (aka Mima Good, best known for leading her eponymous witchy music group, The Coven of Mima Good). It’s co-hosted by Brujas, the Bronx-based all-woman skater crew that won some pretty legit attention from a recent profile in the New York Times, as well as an inclusive electronic-music collective known as Sister, and a satirical “art-bro” duo called Hot Schmucks.
This isn’t some TERF-style event – for the uninformed, that’s Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism– or one driven by “Feminazis” (a fictional force, anyway), nor is it informed by drivel that’s been repeatedly tweeted by conservative males, but an attempt at imagining an inclusive nightlife space. In a world dominated by white and male DJs and band lineups, the Femmequerade Ball is simply putting together a party run by women, and creating a chill space for people to dance, where they won’t have to deal with unwanted groping or other gross advances. Rosen calls it a “a parody of neoliberal charity galas, claiming to find a cure for Toxic Masculinity through the evening.” Masks are encouraged, mascs (i.e. the “masculines” to femmes) less so.
Rosen got the idea for the party when she returned to the city after graduating college and started playing music again. Though she has been doing gigs around town since she was 11, something felt… different.
“I’ve found myself interacting with [the music scene] very differently from back then, avoiding the standard rock clubs that cater to the stoner alt-bros I once called my bandmates. I’m so sick of hanging around acting chill with a bunch of [boys]. I’ve been really fortunate this year to form a band of all girls and perform in many feminist and experimental spaces,” she told me. “So, I started fantasizing about what my ideal show would look like.” (Full disclosure: I curate a performance series for women and gender non-conforming artists. Mima Good performed at the last one, and I’ve been friends with Rosen since.)
Rosen hasn’t thrown an event quite of this scale before, but she cut her teeth hosting events in school that she remembered as “wacky, interactive,” and spent last summer assisting nightlife empress Susanne Bartsch. But she knew this wasn’t something she could or should try and pull off alone.
“I know what I know and what I am good at, and am not going to claim an ability to speak for anyone else or do something I’ve never done before, like curate a DJ lineup. I reached out to friends and friend-crushes that I knew would do an incredible job with this project,” Rosen explained. “Everyone has been incredibly helpful and innovative, making this an exciting and fun team effort.”
This passionate-but-fun spirit comes through loud and clear: the “e-vite” the group has assembled on a Tumblr page is repleted with mantras in curlicued font that proclaim” “We aim to create a space free of toxic masculinity, where all are liberated to fearlessly dance and love themselves. We believe that if we lovingly spread a hate of cis masculinity, we can manifest self-love in all ppl through the domination of femmenergy.” There’s also a Powerpoint slide with a list of
“symptoms,” including violence against women, queers, and “casual misogyny,” to name a few. These are played alongside a nauseatingly green-tinged photo of Donald Trump, perhaps the most egregious offender of this toxic masculinity in American society right now, wearing an even smugger smirk than usual.
There’s a “cocktail hour” of sorts from 7-8 pm with a photo station accompanied by the beautiful cello strains of Meaner Pencil and a set by DJ Dylan Sparkle, followed by more live music, which includes Mima Good herself playing a soulful brand of loop-y, witchy pop. The DJ sets curated by SISTER start around 11:30 pm. Drag shows are in order too, of course, and who knows, you might even see a skating Bruja sailing past, leaving nothing but an an air of radical coolness behind. With this heat, you could probably use the breeze.
While attendees are encouraged to dress in the way they feel most comfortable/fab, this is a ball, after all. So, the organizers are encouraging everyone to go all-out and wear ball gowns, cocktail dresses, or even prom attire. Follow your heart, and if your heart happens to be a pulsing organ wearing a little heart-sized frilly frock, then so be it.
It’s not as if the organizers are looking to ban men from everything. Man people are certainly welcome to attend, with the knowledge that “cis straight white men” will have to stand in a separate line and pay $18 at the door, compared to the $15 price tag for everyone else. However, Rosen promised that she has no plans to “interrogate anyone.” She added: “We are trying to create a safe space for our attendees that can feel like an escape from oppressive patriarchal forces, which are too often found in nightlife.”
Attendees of the man variety are encouraged to wear masquerade masks out of respect for the party’s theme and the authority of the hosts, which will allow them to pay the standard door price. “By either agreeing to pay the extra $3 or wearing a masquerade mask, cis straight white men are opting into the space we are creating and showing respect for our intentions,” Rosen clarified.