Sarah Scaife

Story Number:Story-021
Themes: Art Action, Donald Trump, Female body, feminism, Greenham Common, NHS

I was aware of feminism from being- dunno thirteen fourteen and I I identified myself as a feminist from then and when I was seventeen I went to Greenham Common on the um embrace the base d- day when there were thousands and thousands of women all around and men and people of all gender (huh) around the base and I think that was my first sort of real experience of feeling like an activist. But actually now I see activism in the way that you do in your project much more widely you know there are all sorts of small things I have done as a continued thread through life that I now think of my activism. As that much more than those massive- massive gatherings are wonderful- but yeah those small things are really important as well.

0.50 So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I knew I would have a mastectomy because of the type of breast cancer. Um I did a lot of thinking about how I had- having breast fed in public of how I could somehow make this-this process of living a different of way of being in this body that I am in. I know this is probably( clears throat) this is a bit delicate and it might be difficult for some people but I just want say my I am talking about my experience. It coincided with Trump being elected and I decided I wanted to claim the role of a misfit as a political statement. Because Trump so clearly- uses every-plastic surgery and wig and anything possible to not be a misfit so I wanted to like be the opposite of him and unless I was cold I didn’t cover my head when my hair fell out and I walked in the street with no hair. And I don’t use a prosthesis I have got one breast now and I live with one breast and I haven’t particularly changed the way that I have dressed, I don’t try to hide that.

I am trying to have a gentle activism of about being authentic in the world really (clears throat) and showing- showing who I am alongside seeing who other people are and coming it-coming to it from that place actually turned it into an adventure and something exciting and something that has given me a different way of experiencing the world- that isn’t awful and isn’t um- you know I don’t feel like a victim and I don’t feel- overwhelmed and its not unbearable. Its-its been a way of making connection in the world I‘ve sort of sought opportunities to be public about that so I did some modelling a few weeks ago as um- for one of the fashion students at Plymouth College of Art who is making a gender queer collection and I went to- the call out for models and said “you know I have only got one breast is there an interest in me modelling?” and she said “yeah. Brilliant yes please. I would love you to”. (Breaths in) and you know I am doing that as a way to um and she had got these fab clothes you know and it was really fun. And uh you know that is the way to sort of not for me to show off personally but for me to be present in a diverse world and visible and in the hope that encourages other people who who might chose to claim that idea of being a misfit.

Recorded 05.06.2018 by Carmen Talbot

Excerpt transcribed by Elizabeth Strange.