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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Feminine Mystique » » Why so few women? Do you always feel welcome? (13 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mary Mowder
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I think the interest in Disney Magic is reflective of that being a market.

Beautiful young women can get a job playing a "Disney Princess" at Birthday Parties. These companies often hire Magicians as well. I'm sure some of these young Women find Magic a more interesting path than Princess and feel that a Magical Princess would get more work as well. I do know that I've been approached several times to do costumed Princess work (a 60 plus princess and 30 lbs. over qualified LOL).

-Mary Mowder
Aus
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Mary I agree, and I wasn't trying type cast women in that example but rather highlight that women in my observations seek things in magic from a more theatrical point of view based on emotional aspects that lend to great theatrical performances. Maybe that's the aspect in magic we should be highlighting?

I'm sure that there is a aspect of what you say is true as well but I'm sure there are equally a number of people who do it simply because they like doing it.

Magically

Aus
Aus
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Also as a side note I found this interesting blog talking about the same issue, highlighting some of my previous points.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment....../274099/

Magically

Aus
Stucky
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Someone sent this to me a while back. It might be apropos - http://mistylee.com/women-in-magic/
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MagicSarah
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Thanks for everyone's ideas.

I work with data and databases - so I think the problem solving side of magic really interests me.

It has got me wondering - is there any difference in how men and women react when they are shown magic?
Mary Mowder
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Men and Women vary greatly and are not monolithic in their reactions.

They are all individuals.

-Mary Mowder
funsway
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In my experience observing couples in an audience many males want to interpret the effects for their companion,
and are rarely interested in hearing her take on things. Any feedback you get could be biased by the same game playing.

I agree with Mary that each individual will react to magic in an individual way, but what they are willing to express is another matter.

Even if the female has a better understanding of what occurred she may not wish to tell the guy he is wrong or was fooled for the wrong reason.

I do no think this is "right brain/left brain" consideration (or other)-- just a cultural one.

Hey Mary, Dick O shared some things about you in our chats when he learned I was from Sacramento, back when. All good. Ken
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Mary Mowder
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I'm glad to hear that...

but it kinda makes me feel bad about the things I've been saying about Dick LOL.

-Mary
Dick Oslund
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As Jack Benny usta say: "Well!" (hee hee)
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The Mysterious One
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I remember at one time listening to an iTricks podcast several years ago. This particular episode consisted for several interviews with several female magicians, including Maritess Zurbano, Suzanne, Jade, and Arianna Black . It also includes a discussion of women with magic with Bill Kalush with the Conjuring Arts Research and IBM International President Bill Evans. Within the interview, if memory serves me right since I listened to this in 2013, Maritess Zurbano talked about some resistance she experienced years ago from some men. A few were not very welcoming to her when she attended the local magic club. She said many were very welcoming. Unfortunately, there was an attitude within the world of magic and public perception that women in magic are the assistants, not center stage as the magician. Being a student of the art, I have great respect for magician assistants in stage magic and a deep respect for accomplished magicians and mentalists, male and female. I am thankful that times are changing and look forward to seeing more women performers in the mystery arts.

Sarah, there are some very accomplished female magicians that could serve as role models in the Café (hint hint Mary Mowder, Autumn Morning Star, and many other accomplished female performers here on the Café) and within the magic industry. If you have a moment to listen to the aforementioned podcast episode, check out the following interview with iTricks: http://itricks.com/news/2013/11/women-in......-review/ .

I found the interview very informative on some of the challenges of being a female magician and a really good listen. Hopefully, you will too.
MagicSarah
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Ohhh, thank you. I love a podcast! Smile
TheWickedWitchOfTheWeb
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Hello!

Rarely visit here but nice to see another UK lady! I think one of the main reasons has been hit on earlier in this thread. Historically it was a 'mans world', not just magic but in general, and so that's where the perceptions were created (that's a boys job, that's a girls job, etc). Of course, it's different these days but these types of social conditioning don't disappear overnight and it will take years for the stereotypical view of a magician to be replaced. There is a large increase in the number of females that seem to be coming into our world but many of them seem to be entering later in life (early twenties) rather than from the age of four like many of the boys.
MagicSarah
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Hello another uk lady Smile

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with you completely!
danaruns
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Quote:
On Dec 19, 2015, MagicSarah wrote:
Hello,

After many years fascinated by and studying the theoretical side of magic I have taken the plunge and joined my local magic society.

I am amazed that I am the only woman magician there. Are other ladies in the same boat? They have all been very welcoming and I love learning alongside such a fascinating and talented group of guys.

In my experience men and women enjoy magic equally so I am so surprised that there aren't more ladies involved in our beautiful art. Does anyone have any ideas or theories why?

I am going to a couple of conventions next year and I'm starting to get nervous that my plan to lurk might be blown and that I'll stick out like a sore thumb!


I'm a member of S.A.M. and I.B.M., but I do there what I do here, which mainly is lurk. I don't attend meetings, my participation is passive and online. There are zero women attending my local groups.

It may be different for girls now. I hope it is. But as a woman of a certain age, when I was young, girls were definitely and actively discouraged from entering into magic. As a child, I ordered a magic kit from the back of a cereal box, and when it came I was told to give it to my brother, who was better with it than I was anyway. Women were assistants, not magicians. I watched the beautiful assistants, thinking that's what I could be, and I didn't want to do it. I was a little claustrophobic,for one thing, and I'm tall, and I couldn't imagine climbing into sword boxes and the like. And when I worked briefly for Harry Blackstone Jr. and watched Gay Blackstone crouching in tables and climbing on big structures and generally working harder than Harry with none of the payoff, I knew that I never wanted to be an assistant. No disrespect to the assistants, though. Someone mentioned Nani Darnell, for instance. I know Nani and have huge respect for what she did, and what a good magician she actually is. But for girls when I was growing up, it was Nani's path or nothing. And though times have changed to a degree, there remains a cultural echo from the past that still influences girls, magicians, opportunities and audiences. But there has been progress. It is because of that progress that I finally started doing magic and entertaining the notion that maybe I could be a magician after all.

So now I'm finally doing it. I don't know where it will lead. But even though there is still less participation by women, I hope that the opportunities are not limited.

One issue we still have is that instructional books and videos, tricks for sale, clothing and a number of other things are still directed almost exclusively to male magicians. I can't tell you how many tricks women look at and realize that they either have to modify them tremendously or can't do them at all. The number of famous female magicians headlining in Vegas is zero. There is no Thelma & Louise equivalent to Penn & Teller, no Chris Angel with XX chromosomes. And the nature of it that everything is SECRET makes it more difficult for girls to get involved unless they live in the right places or have access to the right sources. It's still a pretty empty land out there for women.

On the other hand, you wouldn't believe what can be hidden in a bra. Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
MagicSarah
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Hi danaruns,

Wow – thanks for the epic answer! It was really interesting to hear your story.

I am the only woman who performs magic in my local group too. It doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would – but it would be lovely to have some ladies there to compare notes with.

It is interesting that we have both started getting stuck in a bit later than the guys. What was it that encouraged you? I turned to magic when we had a devastating family tragedy. It has always been a big part of my life, but now even more so.

I agree with you on the clothing issues though – and tricks that I just won’t be able to use. I agree that we have different hiding options though, although I need a bit more confidence before I start putting those skills to practice Smile
danaruns
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Quote:
On Jan 18, 2016, MagicSarah wrote:

It is interesting that we have both started getting stuck in a bit later than the guys. What was it that encouraged you?


I hate Las Vegas. But my spouse convinced me to go, and we ended up at Penn & Teller's show at the Rio. Penn asked who in the audience had an iPhone. My spouse pointed at me, and Teller came down to talk to me about it while Penn kept up his patter. Yes, that's right, Teller talked to me. Astonishing! Smile

After examining my iPhone and discarding the case, he pulled me up on stage. Whereupon Penn took my phone and started videoing us with it, and they performed this trick: https://youtu.be/wbDYjAeXMK4

The secret was indeed on my cell phone, and here it is: https://youtu.be/yQpmM9YYFno There are dozens of these on YouTube, so I don't think I'm violating anything by posting it here.

That reawakened my love for magic after many, many years of it lying dormant, but I still was just a "fan," and didn't try to perform magic, until my spouse, knowing my love of magic, bought me a Christmas gift years later that turned out to be what got me going. It was a six-week class in magic at the Magic Castle, taught by Mark Wilson. The class had 15 people in it, and five of them were women. I thought that was the coolest thing ever! And while Mark's class is very basic, it inspired me to learn much, much more.

And that's how my life descended into the throes of addiction. Smile

-- Dana
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Race Blakhart
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Dana, what an inspiring story! I may be a 34 year old man, but you are truly an inspiration to all. I think you should find a way to share that story with more women in magic, as it can be an eye opener for the right people.
Thank you for sharing such awesome stuff! Smile
danaruns
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Quote:
On Jan 18, 2016, Race Blakhart wrote:
Dana, what an inspiring story! I may be a 34 year old man, but you are truly an inspiration to all. I think you should find a way to share that story with more women in magic, as it can be an eye opener for the right people.
Thank you for sharing such awesome stuff! Smile


Oh my goodness! Thank you, but I'm no inspiration, and I think my story is pretty mundane. I reread my posts to try to find the inspiring part, and I couldn't identify it. lol! But that's so very nice of you to say. Smile

I want to focus on the second half of this thread title. You know, I never feel unwelcome among male magicians, but I do feel differently welcome. Maybe it's just me. I'm inherently "different" and folks may not know what to do with me. I'm a woman, I'm older than most, I'm quite tall and I'm married to another woman. This combination seems to make for some awkward moments. So perhaps my experience is different than most women's. But even though the men are always very nice, it still feels very much like a "boy's club."

Performing is different. Performing is performing. I have been one kind of performer or another since I was five and gave my first piano recital. I've always felt comfortable performing. When performing there's a different relationship than when mingling in social situations. When performing, I'm in control, and there's a formal and psychological (and sometimes physical) distance between performer and audience. Performing is also a different kind of relationship. There is a give/receive dynamic that is unequal. It is inherently a dominant or "one up" relationship with the audience, even if that audience is a single person. And, of course, it's a more formal relationship. That has always been easy for me.

But in social peer groups, it always feels a tiny bit unequal, to me. Unless the people I'm with have actually seen me perform, perhaps it's just a subtle unease because a woman is different and men are not quite sure where to "put" women in their minds. Men, especially groups of men, form a certain dynamic that is not equally inclusive of women. I'm sure it goes the other way, too, when a lone man is stuck in a group of women. The hen party begins and the guy is left wondering how to fit in. It's the same for me when with a bunch of guys. They seem to feel more comfortable if I adopt a kind of "mom" persona, but that is not natural for me.

I dunno. Maybe this doesn't make any sense. Maybe I'm way off. But I sure would feel more comfortable if there were more women to hang out with. So, mostly, I just remain kind of distant (thought I like to think of it as "mysterious" Smile ).
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
MagicSarah
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Thank you everyone for your replies.

I think I must be very lucky with the group that I have joined. Everyone has been very welcoming and kind to me. It had taken a bit longer to feel accepted but I guess that's true of joining any new group.

The only bugbear I have is that you get picked on for absolutely anything - especially anything that explodes or involves fire!
Mary Mowder
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I know what you mean. Because we are sort of outside the normal pecking order for Men we are seen as less of a threat for shenanigans like deliberately picking a top or bottom card or lying about the card or other wise stumping the Magician.
Besides, many tricks are learned from Magic DVDs where there is a preponderance of Men performing to Women volunteers. You'd be surprised at what an effect how you learn a trick can have on your performance. (One time I noticed I was getting a French accent from learning Tabary's Rope routine from his video LOL).

Think of it as a chance to improve your stage presence.

I have tried to mix with some Women in Magic with mixed results. Because I'm a little over eager and come off too strong it can be awkward.

I do draw the line at touching anything from the mouth like card in mouth or thread from the eye and such. There is only so far I'll go to be a good sport. I don't even like touching cards from people who lick their thumb for traction (but I do because it is so endemic I'd have to be rude to some pretty talented Magicians.)

I'm also not willing to be scared by Magic like a spider on my hand and such. If they want to scare me, then they are GOING to get my real reaction which is not going to be a cute squeal and may be in the form of a shove or angry words. NOONE should be scared in performance and we should not enable or encourage this kind of bullying magic. There are times when I may react politely as I can in these circumstances but I do let the Magician know on no uncertain terms that I don't appreciate it and that I would never recommend a Magician that does such stuff. I think Magicians are insulated from how Women really feel about this kind of magic. We can be their only honest barometer because lay Women are apt to hide how they really feel as well.

-Mary Mowder
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