Amie Taylor is 28 and lives in south London where she moved after graduating from Dartington College of Arts in Devon where Amie had studied Theatre. However this writer had started early and had written plays since the age of three and pursuing her love of theatre she stayed engaged when at 15 she was reluctantly dragged to an audition at PlayBox Theatre by a friend and even though only a novice Amie landed her first ever role and worked at the same theatre throughout her A-levels until she left for college at 20.
“I wrote a lot whilst I was supposed to be concentrating on my degree, working on sit-coms and plays and novels, though I was never brave enough to share anything I’d written with an audience.”
Now Amie works as a writer, workshop facilitator and actor.
We asked Amie why she chose to talk about gender stereotypes:
“Many things. I’m interviews editor and a reviewer for FemaleArts, an on-line magazine promoting women in theatre, I spend a lot of time exploring and writing about gender inequality in the arts. It’s one of those things, that once you know it’s there, you notice it everywhere. I also work with children a lot as a freelance arts practitioner, it’s very interesting when you work with ages 3-18 (as I do), you notice lots about gender stereotypes, the children that conform to them, and the ones that don’t, and the response they receive from both adults and children, which is sometimes nothing, though often something. I want to see a world where children are unlimited by gender stereotypes, and thus adults are too – each individual being allowed to grow as they choose, to become the person they truly feel they are, without being restrained by a set of rules created by society.”
ASLI found Amie as she responded to our call for artists for our first issue of our new E-magazine which we chose to promote and celebrate women and discuss issues facing women and girls in our societies around the world. We launched our call out on International Women’s Day on March the 8th. Amie chose to submit to the gender stereotype category and here is why:
“I feel a lot of the issues in gender stereotyping are that they can be a. subtle and b. ingrained. There’s a huge problem in the children’s entertainment industry, in which I used to work, companies sending out messages and ideas that are hugely restricting on the children that come in to contact with them. I really want to challenge the way we market toys and entertainment to children, as both boys and girls are currently limited by stereotypes, and I believe that it has a huge impact on their development and self-esteem. I hope that through sharing my observations and experiences, it will encourage readers that aren’t already thinking about these things, to think about these things, and ones that are, to share the ideas wider. I also hope it’ll encourage people to be a bit more pro-active in voicing their views, I think the worst thing, any of us can do, is stay quiet about things that we see and disagree with. I used to often post about things on Facebook, but I wanted to think of ways I could make more direct change.”
Here is a link to Amie’s submission
“I’ve always loved writing. I love words and language and think that the language we use is so important.”
We know that the writing process is one of great creativity and that many artists have their methods so we were keen to know if Amie had a particular process:
“Writing, I’ve found, happens often when you’re not expecting it to. Sometimes I’ll turn the light off to go to sleep, and be immediately struck by a new idea… in which case it’s lights back on and up until I’ve got the idea jotted down. Sometimes I’ve set whole days aside to write, and not got as much done as on those evenings. I try to always carry a pad and pen, as I know from experience that the best ideas often come when your shoulder to shoulder with a stranger on the underground, or in the coffee queue at a café, or while waiting for a train. It’s important, for me, to get them down as quickly as possible, so I don’t forget them.”
Amie tells us that her greatest inspiration comes from her friends who she refers to as her “tribe”, this group of pals consist of a variation of ages, artistic and professional disciplines as well as activists who are creating change with their work.
“I’m a fan of anyone using their work and art to make a positive difference.”
What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you?
“Art is a form of expression, it’s a form of communication that allows us to engage politically and socially with our environment. It’s a vital tool for connection to happen between human beings, a peaceful vehicle for us to share our thoughts, messages and comments.
I work a lot with young people, and see what art can mean to them. I have a friend, who came to England some ten years ago with no English. He found it hugely frustrating, so learnt how to dance, like really dance, street dance, as a way to vent some of his frustration, and I suppose as a way to communicate. He now speaks such brilliant English, you’d never know he only learnt it when he was fifteen. He has since used his art to reach out to refugee and migrant communities, and shared dance as a form of communication with them too. He is a complete legend. I think this is a perfect example of how art saves lives.”
As this first edition of our E-magazine focuses on women and the issues they face we asked Amie her thought on this:
What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?
“Yes, I certainly am a feminist. Feminism is quite simply equality between the sexes, no ifs, no buts – the same chances, the same opportunities, the same treatment. And it’s a whole lot more as well, but this is what it boils down to for me.”
Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously?
“Yes. I think it’s incredibly hard for them not to, women are (generally, though not as a rule) still socialised to behave and act a certain way. You only have to read the depressing Twitter feed of @EverydaySexism to see the battles women still face on the street / in the workplace to realise that we are still so far from women not having to conform to the expectations placed on them. There was a poster on the London Underground last year advertising suits for women, saying that the only way to break through the glass ceiling is to do so ‘in the right suit’. Though in truth, while we’re still completely obsessed with what women are wearing over their skills, intellect, talent and so on then the glass ceiling will remain intact.”
Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s
“No. Not in any society. Yet. I work in theatre a lot, where you only have to look at the statistics to see that on the whole women are not offered as many job opportunities, there are fewer on stage and there are very few in high up positions on large salaries. Which of course, is very much a first world problem, when you look at the inequality women face in some other parts of the world. But nowhere, yet, is it close to being equal.”
What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc.…..?
“Lots. I support charities that work with children in other countries, especially women and girls. I care about feminism, both in this country and globally, I care about LGBT rights and initiated The LGBTQ Arts and Culture Review in Jan 2015 to rally for and promote fair representation of LGBT story-lines and characters in the arts (@lgbtqarts).”
How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?
“I write. I write about things that anger me, annoy me, don’t make sense to me, I write about things I want to learn more about, I write about the things I’ve already learned. My network is fairly small at the moment, but I hope that as I grow, my network will and I’ll be able to share stuff further afield. I currently share my writing with my network, and like to open up discussions, which I hope will enable us all to grow together.”
What are your goals with your writing?
“I write for theatre – with that I want to create beautiful, lyrical pieces that make a comment on our society, run against stereotypes or audience expectation. With my non-fiction writing I address several issues, mostly focussing on gender stereotypes, LGBT, and life in general. I want to eradicate discrimination (obviously not alone, but if everyone pulled to work together on this, we could make the world such a better place), so I aim to open up discussion and provoke thought. “
What is your next project or piece that you are working on?
“I’m developing a piece called Princess and Princess at the moment. It’s a piece for theatre. I’m also in the process of developing a blog I wrote throughout last year in to a book, it’s for my baby niece once she’s a grown up. I’m working closely with illustrator Sharon Davey (@thecreativefox) on it at the moment, preparing to submit it to publishers.”
Amie’s blog is at: auntiespudge.wordpress.com