There are so many wonderful things about Brighton and one of them is the ability to be yourself and to be comfortable in your own skin. Judi Thomas understand this which is how she became the creator of Party in Your Pants, the ‘feminist topless UV party’ held regularly here in Brighton. We spoke to her to find out more.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a full time illustrator and live body artist, an inventor, a writer, an environmental activist, a feminist , a political activist and a human being.
What is the feminist topless UV party?
It’s an old school rave, under blacklight, where facilities are provided for you to shed your outerwear and take to the dancefloor where you will doodle and be doodled while you dance.
How did the idea for the party come about?
Party in Your Pants is the natural evolution of something that began in a pub garden a couple of years ago – I call it bodydoodling because that is literally what it is. Using paint pens and a willing human canvas, I encourage onlookers to have a doodle on another person. Artistic skill is not required, doodling is a thing we have all done by accident and by definition does not need to begin with an idea. The only requirements are a moment of time, a surface upon which to doodle and a medium with which to do it. When your canvas is urging you to have a go, it is almost irresistible. This quickly became an event where toplessness happened quite naturally, non-sexually and joyfully. For me, it was an experience of equality that was too good not to expand on. I had incredible feedback from women about how the experience emboldened them and often helped them overcome body-image issues they had carried for ages and from men about how good it felt to confirm to themselves that they could see a topless woman, interact with her, even draw on her chest, without having an inappropriate reaction or unintentionally causing offence. There are a lot of conscious men out there, checking their privilege, calling out everyday sexism, standing for their sisters and mothers but facing a barrage of challenges and being offered few opportunities to experience themselves as not guilty. Party in Your Pants is a night for feminists of all genders and none, people who understand that the quest for equality for all does not make feminism irrelevant, anymore than it does the gay rights movement.
Has the response been widely positive?
It has been immensely positive. Here are some of the messages I have received. It has also sold out every month, which is a fairly strong indicator of how it has been received!
‘Never been so proud to be part of something’
‘An absolutely enchanting, loving, funny evening! The best party I’ve ever been to!’
‘We will definitely be coming to the next one. That was so much fun. Thanks Judi Thomas and the gang for your doodles and for an inspiring night out. Good to see respect and nudity working so well and looking so good’
‘your nights are absolute magic! thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
What advice would you give to someone who wants to go for the first time?
We would love you to join us… I like to stress the following points to those considering it:
1) you DO NOT have to party in your pants. It is our job to make you want to, but we don’t mind if it takes all year before you are ready to get your skin out. 8/10 people are in their pants by the second party.
2) this is NOT a SEX THING! Seriously, if you’re after a perv, this is not the party for you. The sexy thing about this party is the sight of 150 human beings who are unashamed of the bodies they were born in, celebrating the fact that their humanity, and not talent or perfection, is what makes them creative and beautiful.
3) This is not about perfect bodies, young bodies, slim or toned bodies. This is about something less tangible, your body is there to bring you to the party and be the art. It’s you we are inviting and you are more than your body.
Can you tell me about Judi and the Doodlecats?
Well, I am Judi, and the doodlecats are the ever-changing group of people who have at one time or another found themselves under my pen and loved it. We pop up in pubs, on the beach, in parks, and we offer bodydoodling, giant colouring in, pebble doodling, and a whole bunch of new play based nights coming up from May!
And finally, what is your favourite thing about Brighton?
Today it is the fact that this is a place where something like Party in Your Pants can happen, and tomorrow it will be something else. Which is the very best thing about Brighton.
You can find out more about Judi and the Doodlecats here. You can also like them on Facebook and follow Judi on Twitter. Watch the video below to find out more about the party. The next party is on April 29th at The Joker.