Headline, November 22 2021/ HONOURS : ''' '' FEMALE MAGICIANS FERVOR '' '''



WHY NOT THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE? : The Council of Europe, a human rights body, was only trying to help. They recently launched a campaign to criticise the headscarf bans in Europe.

The campaign, which appears to be a largely online initiative, involved slogans like #LetHerChoose. At least one of the graphics showed a Muslim woman as a paper doll wearing a headscarf; around her are various other outfits to choose from.

Another hashtag used by the tweets called for celebrating diversity and respecting the hijab. Yet another shows a European woman of African heritage and slogan #MyHijabMyChoice.

According to the Council of Europe, the slogan came from several online workshops of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Students Organisations.

According to the latter, ''Everyone should be free to wear whatever they want. Muslims women are restricted from wearing the hijab and excluded from the workplace and education.''

NO LONGER ENCHANTING : FEMALE MAGICIANS dread being asked what it is like to be a woman in the industry.

MALE DOMINATED : Just 7% of magicians operating today are female. The World Students Society is watching this figure with growing concern and anxiety.

Sitting behind a card table in the secretive Magic Castle, Kayla Drescher widens her eyes and nods exasperatedly when asked about being called a ''female magician.''

'' Yes, I am very, very sick of being asked what it's like to be a woman in this industry.'' 

She adds, female magicians feel like I'm being placed in a subcategory of magic. I'm being placed in a metaphorical box, not just an illusion.'' But while the label is ''exhausting'' and ''annoying'' for Drescher, ''we still have such a small percentage of women in the industry - I think it does still need to be talked about.''

The stereotype of a magician in a top hat sawing his glamorous, sequined female assistant in half endures among the wider public, who can rarely name performers beyond Harry Houdini, David Copperfield, and David Blaine.

While the outfits have changed, still just 7% of magicians operating today are female - roughly the same proportion as the membership of the elite ''Academy of Magical Arts'' that calls the Magic Castle home.

Drescher is the one two billed female headliners on the night of the AFP's visit to the cavernous members only institution on a hill above Hollywood, which is devoted to the art of illusion.

As the reaction of a spellbound audience to Drescher's baffling card tricks and subtle sleights of hand later in the evening will show, women maybe a minority in magic but are no less of a draw.

Drescher, 31, has been performing since she was 7, and has long found that audiences - like the aficionados and rowdy wine-drinking Halloween parties filling the ''Close Up Gallery'' - tend not to care about a performer's gender.

Instead, it is the ''shocking old-fashioned'' mind-set of magicians that is keeping the number of women in her tarde low - and that is something she feels is important to keep ''yelling about.''

Dresher has long dealt with male magicians excluding her, assuming she is someone's girlfriend, or even one time requesting she ''do magic by poolside in a bikini'' in Las Vegas.

''Magic is very much written by men and for men, so suits, large trouser pockets, big hands, all these different elements, very masculine-style stuff, said Drescher, who hosts the ''She-zam'' podcast.

You have to get through, jump over, a lot of hurdles in order to be respected in the community for being a magician and just a woman. And that's always annoying.''

According to Drescher, if the assistant could just as easily be replaced with an inanimate object like a lamp or a table ''she doesn't need to be there, she's a prop.''

'' The mutilation of women......." she sighs. ''It just feels really gross in 2021. But luckily it is shifting.''

The last few years and #MeToo have massively boosted demand for female magicians, says Drescher.

But built in obstacles remain, including the powerful status of  reform-resistant, generally male -dominated magic ''clubs.'' The Academy of  Magical Arts itself faced allegations of sexual harassment in a Los Angeles Times investigation last year.

In January this year, magicians marked 100 years of 'sawing people in half '. One hundred years ago, illusionist PT Selbit put a woman in a box on the stage of London's Finsbury Park Empire and sawed right through the wood, creating a magical classic.

Magicians from around the world got together online to celebrate the centenary of that landmark performance. ''This took off and became the most influential and the most famous illusion, in my opinion, that there's ever been,'' said magician and historian Mike Caveney who is writing a book on the illusion.

''The magician wasn't doing this trick to an inanimate object. He was doing it to a human being, which raised it up to a whole new level.'' 

In the original version, the saw went through, the box was opened and the person emerged unharmed. Down the years magicians developed refinements, with the two halves pulled apart. Copperfield came up with his own version ''The Death Saw'' where he was the one tied down to a platform as a giant rotary blade sliced him in two.

Sometimes he actually got injured, Copperfield said in an interview. ''I got cut a few times by the blade because the blade was a little bit off, you know, stages are different in every theatre you have,'' he mentioned.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Female Magicians, the lovers of magical shows, and Bias, continues. The World Students Society thanks The Express Tribune.

With respectful dedication to all the Female Magicians in the world, and then Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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