Girl Swoon #8

6 Oct

Dawn is my first blog friend! We haven’t met yet, but we have a mutual appreciation of each other’s blogs. Please go and check out her blog, 101 wankers, which catalogues all the wankers she encounters when riding her bike (and believe me, there are many). It will have you in stitches.

Name: Dawn Foster

Age: 24

Website: I blog about idiot anti-cyclists at http://101wankers.com but I also write political things at http://fforphistine.wordpress.com, collaborate on http://waronthemotorist.wordpress.com and tweet (and swear) a LOT at http://twitter.com/dawnhfoster

1) What do you do and why?

I get revenge on people and motorists who think they’ve got a right to shout or abuse me when I cycle, by documenting and making fun of them on my blog. When I first started cycling I used to get furious whenever it happened, and my philosophy in life is, if something makes you angry, make a cup of tea and turn it into something positive, whether it’s a campaign, a comic strip or a blog post. I’m interested in how we relate to our environments too, so using maps appealed to me, and appeared to capture a lot of people’s imaginations. It’s become hugely popular, I think in part because a lot of cyclists (especially women) can relate to it, and there’s a certain localism to it. Part of the “why” is also because I am bolshy, and if I ever think people have slighted me in part because I am a woman I won’t let it drop until they are either embarrassed or angry at me for exposing them. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, and if a few people might think twice before being uneccessarily rude to women in future.

2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?

Definitely. My politics are based on a belief that equality and ecology are two of the most important things to be protected and as a woman, this is particularly true. And being a woman is the core of why I started 101 Wankers, to basically say that I wouldn’t just accept the abuse that people shouted at me because I dared to be a woman on the road on a bike. The sense of camaraderie I’ve had from the women who’ve contacted me has been fantastic as well, though I feel terrible that I haven’t physically had time to respond to the hundreds of emails I’ve received since starting the project.

3) Are you a feminist?

Most definitely. I first came across the concept when I went to university, and it was a real “Eureka!” moment for me. I felt a lot less alienated, and it really gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to challenge a lot of the behaviour that was directed at me, and the inequality and unfairness I saw day to day.

4) What are your future plans?

I really want to expand the website to include articles on cycling for women of all abilities, as well as interviews with women cyclists on why they cycle. I worry that the site might put some newbies off, when I want everyone to love being on two wheels as much as I do! I also want to work more on writing more on local and environmental issues: I think community’s hugely important and I’m nostalgic for the days of housing cooperatives and genuine neighbourliness. I’ve been reading recently about the eviction of the residents of the Clays Lane Estate Cooperative to make way for the London Olympics, and it made me furious. As someone who’s recently moved to London, I’d like to start getting involved in my local community, through campaigning and writing.

5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:

I tend to think of myself as a misanthropist but can’t help but lapse into grand philosophical moments of loving the world, my friends, fellow campaigners, this city and thinking that sometimes everything can get a little bit better.

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