ISSUE No. 1
A FEMINIST ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE
Cover Credits: Photograph- Derek Blanks // Model: Marines Montalvo // Stylist: Carly Carlock // Clothing: WAWA by Pinky Bone Apparel
Brazen Magazine is a collaborative production that celebrates and embraces the aesthetic, intellectual, social and political impact of women on todayâ€™s art and culture. This magazine focuses on the achievements of women and how feminism impacts their lives. Brazen strives to engage women of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities, sexualities, religions and cultural backgrounds. It fights to create a platform for women to voice their thoughts, embrace their identity and to showcase their work. Brazen Magazine aims to expand the definition and goals of feminism in order to create a better and more positive understanding of the term.
BRAZEN MAGAZINE www.brazen-mag.com Tumblr: brazen-mag.tumblr.com Facebook: facebook.com/mag.brazen Twitter: @brazen_mag Instagram: @brazen_mag Contact us at email@example.com
Photograph by Diosi Smith
Welcome to the first issue of Brazen Magazine. As the founder, I have had to take on many roles in the production of this publication. Like the many women before me who pioneered their way to success, I’ve had to be responsible every step of the way as the art director, the editor, the designer, and the interviewer in order to make this magazine possible. Brazen was created for my Senior Degree Project as a Graphic Design Major at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). It has become more than just a project but a journey to document feminism and bring the subject matter into a more positive light through the arts. Brazen Magazine was created to showcase the talents of women in order to empower them and highlight their unique voices. Rather than impose my own opinion on what feminism is, I wanted to expose the different views and perspectives of feminism from women who engage in art making. This first issue will feature women artists at MICA who take on feminism and similar subject matters in their artwork. These interviews are filled with thoughts and stories that are compelling, informative and empowering. Through this journey, I was able to learn more about feminism and how I can become a better activist for women’s rights. I was able to connect with friends and develop new relationships along the way. Creating this magazine has given me a new and unique perspective on feminism and its importance on both a personal and global level. I want to thank everybody that contributed to the magazine and helped fund the Kickstarter. This would not have been possible without the support from my family, friends, and faculty at MICA.
Jen Doyle Editor in Chief Brazen Magazine
CONTENTS INTERVIEWS 10 // Rowan Fulton 20 // Carly Carlock 30 // May Kim 40 // Laura Weiner 50 // Margaret Hines 60 // Christianna Clark 70 // Hannah Brancato 80 // Kira Keck
ROWAN FULTON +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Rowan Fulton is an artist from West Palm Beach, FL who currently studies Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She plans to continue her artistic expression through painting. When did you first learn about feminism and what were your thoughts on it? I would say that the idea of feminism was introduced to me at an early age in a pretty exclusively positive light. As a young child with two working parents, with strong female and male role models I knew that women could be successful and powerful, and I knew that gender disparities had existed in the past but I think I viewed them as more historical problems that had already been overcome by strong women in the past and not something which is being battled today. What does feminism mean to you? For me, feminism is a lens through which we can examine society for its faults in order to improve it, specifically by bridging the gap between men and women. What does it mean to you personally? I see it as an equalizing force. I think it is striving to make things as equal as
possible for men and women. Including opportunities, social attitudes, and safety. I think things like sexual freedom like freeing the nipple are obviously important but that’s not all feminism is about. What are your thoughts on how the media portrays feminism? I think there’s this idea that you’re supposed to counter the anti-sex mentality of traditional feminism and show this really fetishized idea of what it means to be female. I don’t believe this should be looked down upon but I also don’t think it’s necessary for every woman to be bombastic about her sexuality. Compared to the rest of the world, do you think we are privileged because we have the freedom to express our sexuality?
Feminism Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men’s rights.
Sexuality Sexuality is a person’s sexual orientation or preference. Many feminists, particularly radical feminists, are highly critical of what they see as objectification and sexual exploitation in society.
I don’t think that the sexual expression issues are the sole concern of American feminism today; although I do believe that expression is a valid concern, which, should be discussed. I certainly don’t buy
Hypersexualization One of the more controversial topics in feminism is the sexualization of women’s bodies as a means to empower and liberate.
Meninist A person who supports the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women and is an activist specifically for men’s rights.
Equality Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
into the notion that American women get a shallower version of feminism just because we have opportunities. I think if anything, we have a more realistic shot at real equality. I don’t think the fact that people are struggling much more elsewhere in the world makes the hypersexualization in America any more ridiculous. I think it makes sense that this type of entertainment exists because we have freedom of speech.
Who has influenced you as a woman?
What do you think about men’s rights activists?
I’d say my high school art teacher, Jenny Gifford because she encouraged me to believe in myself and my artistic ability and encouraged me to believe that I could make a life out of expressing myself in art. I also had strong women in my life growing up. I would say that my grandmother was a strong role model. She always spoke to me very passionately about equality when I was little, and had a strong influence on the development of my ideas about class, race and gender in America.
I think it’s hard to tackle this issue, because there are different voices that fall under the spectrum of “men’s rights”, some very radical, like “Meninists”. What these people really want is equality. Some men are blaming women for having more privileges, but women also desire the equality they advocate for. It’s all about finding a fair balance and leveling the playing field. I think they are attacking the wrong people by rejecting all women. Do you think men can be feminists?
Anyone in particular?
It is somewhat discouraging that there are so many more women who go to art college and yet there are so many more successful artists who are men.
I think men can be feminists, because at the heart of feminism is the goal to equalize society as much as possible for people of all genders. Men are inherently an important part of that goal. If you don’t have men on your side in pursuing feminism you’re dividing yourself from potential allies, which is a waste of time.
I kind of had trouble with this question because I don’t know if there is anyone that has really influenced the kind of woman I want to be. There are people in my life for whom I have a lot of respect, as mentors and as a source of inspiration for the kind of artist or person I strive to be.
Have your views of feminism changed since coming to MICA?
I think MICA is a really interesting place to develop attitudes towards feminism because there are just so many more women than men here on campus. I think that there may be some negative effects of having so few men, which I’ve noticed even in my classes. For example, when there are eighteen girls and three guys in a class I think it’s natural that the guys get a little bit more attention and are noticed a bit more. I don’t think
Sauce Girl oil on canvas
Bound I oil on canvas
Bound II oil on canvas
Series of Abstract Paintings oil and acrylic
Feminism is a lens through which we can examine society for its faults in order to improve it, specifically by bridging the gap between men and women.
it’s anything malicious on the part of the teachers or that they try to single out the guys, but I think the imbalance certainly has an impact on the way they communicate with students. It is somewhat discouraging that there are so many more women who go to art college and yet there are so many more successful artists who are men. I think that is something that should be talked about more at MICA. Maybe men in art tend to get a lot more encouragement and tend to be more confident because being successful as an artist requires making a lot of connections and being very confident about yourself and your work, which is maybe something women tend to struggle with in the arts. However, one great thing about MICA is that it encourages students to find and cultivate their own voice as an artist, which can be very empowering, especially for women and feminism. How does feminism influence your art? I am interested in using the language of abstraction to boil down the complexities of experience into something that more purely resembles the sensation of my experience. I think because my work is so personal I think that anxieties or fears which I’ve experienced which may have something to do with being female might surface sometimes, but I wouldn’t say that I consciously communicate feminist themes
in my work. I’ve actually been told that my work looks kind of androgynous before, which is kind of interesting. I mean, I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m female in my work, but I don’t try to make a big thing of it, either. I don’t need to paint big explosions of pink in order to be honest with myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Androgynous To be partly male and partly female in appearance or of indeterminate sex. Feminism’s ultimate goal is the equality of the sexes and an androgynous world view.
Have you had any experiences where your gender or sexuality was used against you? Yeah, I think a lot of people in our generation seem to have this attitude and it’s definitely not just guys, it’s girls too. There is this misguided idea that feminism is anti-sex, anti-porn, and anti-men, which is just not true. Feminism doesn’t have to be aggressive, but a lot of people see it that way, and I think it’s just a misunderstanding of the term. I think most people do believe in the equality of the sexes even if they say they’re anti-feminist. They just don’t want to be associated with girls who burn bras.
Check out more of Rowan Fulton’s work at: www.behance.net/rowanfulton
Divergent Forms acrylic on wood panel
Divergent Forms acrylic on stretched paper
I am interested in using the language of abstraction to boil down the complexities of experience into something that more purely resembles the sensation of my experience.
Carly Carlock is an artist from San Antonio, TX who is currently studying General Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She is working on a fashion line called WAWA that explores the negative and positive aspects of sexuality and femininity.
When did you first learn about feminism and what were your thoughts on it? I learned about feminism while I was growing up and in my English classes. People in the South don’t generally like feminists. I grew up thinking that it was a dirty word or an annoying word. It’s associated with annoying behavior and where I’m from, feminists are often discounted or considered troublemakers but that’s not how I feel about it now. What does feminism mean to you? It means really simply, just equality. Equality across the board I guess in every aspect. Through pay, job opportunity, the right to enlist in the army, to be elected as some sort of government official, which we still don’t usually see. Have your views of feminism changed since coming to MICA? Coming to MICA sort of shaped me as a person and it’s affected my decisions. It’s
taught me to sort of never be satisfied with the norm. It’s taught me to live defiantly and with a sort of tenacity knowing that you have just as many rights. Who has influenced you as a woman? Miley Cyrus nowadays has begun to break down some walls. She’s a celebrity that literally acts with zero fear of repercussions and for the most part she’s safe from most of those things. She allows people to touch her vagina in concerts and she rides giant inflatable penises and she actually just released real nudes in a magazine. But even just ten years ago, that would have been kind of unheard of and for most celebrities it would have been seen as shocking and negative and might have ruined their career. I don’t know if it just shows that people are hungry for sex or a woman’s body but it will probably always be seen as a dirty industry. In Miley Cyrus’s case it’s fueling her crazy growing wealth and popularity. She sort of influenced me in a way to literally live without looking back and to act knowing that someone telling you to act lady like just
Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She has become an influential part of the feminist movement and Free the Nipple campaign with her provocative acts.
WAWA Collection by Pinky Bone Apparel
means you’re a lady and can act however you like pretty much. She’s the one that pops in my head and also Beyoncé. She’s a goddess. Beyoncé has more greatness in her little toe than I do in my whole body. Do you identify as a feminist and why? Well, I have feminist leanings; again it might be the ingrained fear in me to call myself a feminist. Growing up where I did, for anyone to call themselves a feminist was societally shunned or unwelcomed. I would say that I lean towards feminist beliefs and I am a feminist sympathizer. I think anyone that has the simple belief that women should be taken seriously and given the same rights as a man technically is a feminist. So maybe I am a feminist. How does feminism influence your art?
Frank and Barbie. I use a lot of Barbie pinks. All of those things sort of shaped the mind set behind what it is like to be a girl. I like to make these really loud and decorative and colorful things to get the attention of our generation and other generations to come. Do you think men can be feminists? Definitely, I think it’s anyone that supports the equality of the genders. It’s kind of akin to civil rights. It’s just treating all groups like humans. So, I think men can be feminists. It’s not just about burning bras. It’s kind of like the movement in New York on being topless. Free the Nipple is exciting to me. That’s when people start to hate feminists because it becomes “indecent”. I’ve actually seen some really hilarious critiques of that saying that children shouldn’t see the nipple. But if you think about it, a woman’s nipple is the first thing a child sees. If both men and women have nipples, I don’t really see why women shouldn’t be able to. The reason both genders have nipples is because everyone starts out with X chromosomes in the womb and then there’s a certain point in development where the chromosomes change and cross over and that is when the gender is decided.
I like to make these really loud and decorative and colorful things to get the attention of our generation and other generations to come.
For me growing up, being a woman meant hiding my body and I was taught modesty was all that really mattered and that if a woman ever showed her breasts it was dirty and she was seen a certain way and if she dressed a certain way she was asking for it. Asking for any trouble that came her way. So my work is about young women being able to wear anything with impunity. Sexuality seems to be a tool of power and should be a right rather than something that should instill shame on somebody. What are the reasons behind the colors and patterns in your work?
I’m taking the colors and patterns of my youth that were really important to me. The things that I grew up with that taught me girl power and what it was like to be a girl and what it meant to be a girl. Like Lisa
What do you think about men’s rights activists? The whole point of feminism in my mind is equality. It’s not that women are given more opportunities over men. It’s simply equality so I think holding doors open for women is ridiculous. Chivalry is teaching men that women can’t open doors. I think anybody should hold doors open for the person behind them regardless of gender.
Beyoncé Beyoncé is an American singer. One of Beyoncé’s biggest hits is the track “***Flawless,” which uses a snippet from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx Talk called “We Should All Be Feminists.”
Lisa Frank Lisa Frank is known for producing the colorful images that appear on school supplies and other products that are primarily marketed to young girls.
Barbie Barbie is a manufactured fashion doll. One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for young women.
Civil Rights Civil rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals.
Free The Nipple Free the Nipple is a campaign in which a group of women amass in NYC to challenge censorship and public nudity laws, hoping to decriminalize female nudity.
WAWA Collection by Pinky Bone Apparel
Hysterectomy Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It may also involve removal of the cervix, ovaries, and other surrounding structures.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t being treated equally because of your gender or your sexuality? For the most part, not feeling safe ever in a city is my least favorite part about being female because I’ve talked to some men about it and they don’t have to think about that. Being scared at night is completely foreign to them and if for once in my life to be able to feel safe all the time would be amazing. I think that it’s just something that comes with being considered the fairer or weaker sex. I don’t think it’s ever really going to change unless you change the very nature of our society.
How is MICA different from where you grew up? Going home all time I realize, “Wow, it’s a good thing I got out of this because what a terrible way to think. What a terrible way to see women”. Even the word hysterical comes from the word for hysterectomy which is removing a women’s parts. So down the line, some asshole considered anyone acting hysterical is close to a woman because they’re using their emotions too much, which is ridiculous. That’s a major reason why women have a hard time getting in power because they won’t be able to handle the pressures and they will
WAWA Collection by Pinky Bone Apparel
get hysterical. Or the popular belief, which is really stupid, is if they are on their period they aren’t qualified to make decisions because they’re imbalanced. What are your thoughts on slut shaming and rape culture? That’s actually a big part of my thesis and a lot of the designs are going to show the nipple and glorify the nipple. I will also be glorifying fewer items of clothing because in my opinion there’s nothing more damaging to a girl than to tell her that her sexuality is dirty and that it’s wrong. Girls are called slutty or sluts for
stuff like choosing to sleep with more than one person or to not settle down and get married. Those all have really negative affects on girls. That’s something I’m really hoping to challenge with my work and also echo what Miley Cyrus has been doing the past couple of years. She is so fearless with her body. Some might say that that’s bad and she should feel guilty and ashamed for it, but she’s taking quite a stand on what it means to be sort of free and in my opinion she is one of the freest women in America right now. Some might not see it that way. They might say that she’s a slave to her sexuality but she fears nothing and she seems happy.
What are your thoughts on feminism on a global scale? I think feminism is so different in every culture because every culture has different beliefs. Some cultures are really matriarchal, some really value the women, and some don’t even sexualize the breast. Different things are valued in different ways in other cultures and therefore, they’re not wrong or right. It all just depends on belief systems and on things that have been passed down through centuries and I think on a global scale, feminism has evolved on a very minute scale. I don’t think that it’s gotten huge recognition or acceptance. It’s slower than a lot of things because people don’t necessarily think of it as a problem. What are your future plans in art and feminism and any last thoughts? I plan on making a magazine. It will be based on the negative and positive things that were told to us as children and how they affect us. I am also interested in creating a bikini line, making costume art, and doing more choreography and dance routines in part with my fashion lines. Going forward from here, I’m going to start living with a sort of happy-go-lucky attitude, literally caring about no one’s opinion but my own and if I’m honoring what it is to be a woman than I’m happy.
Check out more of Carly Carlock’s work at: www.carlycarlock.com Photo Credits Photography: Derek Blanks Stylist: Carly Carlock Clothing: WAWA by Pinky Bone Apparel 100% Hand Sequined by Carly Carlock Taken for MICA Office of Diversity’s Annual Benefit Fashion Show // Timelapse 2015
May Kim was born in South Korea and raised in San Jose, CA. She currently studies Graphic Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and hopes to change the views on feminism and bring women empowerment to Korea.
When did you first learn about feminism and what were your thoughts on it?
Have your views of feminism changed since coming to MICA?
I first heard about feminism from my English teacher in high school. She was a really big feminist and was kind of aggressive about it. I thought feminists were mean because of my teacher and I also had no idea what a feminist was. I think until I came to MICA I thought feminism was aggressive and I didn’t have a positive memory of it. I remember in Critical Inquiry, which is a required class Freshmen Year, we had to read about feminist theory and I posted on Facebook, “I can’t believe I have to read thirty pages on feminism.” MICA upperclassmen thought it was ignorant and so I deleted it and it was really embarrassing. I think that is why women who are not informed about feminism tend to hate it. I think that it’s reasonable for everybody to have a different first impression of what feminism is.
When I first came to MICA I didn’t identify as a feminist but I had a friend who was involved in a lot of feminist groups in Baltimore and I think I started going to more female dominant organizations at school and I actually really enjoyed being part of them. They were really fun and I think it opened a lot of discussions between men and women. It’s usually awkward to talk about that stuff because it’s uncomfortable but I think in class they were pretty open about talking about feminism and gender roles and I really like that people are pretty open minded at MICA. There was an article about an artist [Casey Jenkins] knitting out of her vagina and everyone would message me because they knew that I went to art school. I think having that accessibility to openly talk about it is something I like about the MICA community a lot.
Casey Jenkins Casey Jenkins is an artist who became an overnight sensation after a performance designed to capture her entire menstrual cycle. She used a new ball of wool inserted into her vagina each day to knit during her performance.
Alphabet sculptural typography 32
What are your thoughts on how the media portrays feminism? I’m positive about feminism being in mainstream media. If people saw it on social media or in pop culture they would probably be curious about it and try to look it up. They all have access to smart phones and can look it up and see all the positive and negative sides of feminism and probably get to inform themselves. When I was in high school the first impression of feminism was so horrible that if I didn’t come to MICA I feel like I would still have a bad view on feminism. How does feminism influence your art? I think it definitely influences a lot of my art. I live with two girl roommates and they’re both feminists. All three of us met when we first came to MICA but we had no idea what feminism was so I think growing up together and developing definitely was empowering. I still feel like I have an unclear definition of feminism. This is really hard to describe but telling women they don’t have to hide behind men and that we can be authoritative too and that there is no shame of women being in charge. I think feminism helps women to shape their thinking differently. For me, before I identified as a feminist, I would just think that I could not do something because I was a woman and use that as an excuse. But, now I think its challenged me to push myself farther to actually put my physical body out there to try new things and that has definitely influenced my art. I’m a big Instagram fan. I follow a lot of women artists and I see that they have a community in their own local town and they all make zines, they have art book fairs and they sell their work.
They have a bigger community because of that and I was really inspired by that so I like being part of the feminist shows in Baltimore and selling zines of our artists friends because it’s utilizing art students in the community. How do you feel about the gender inequalities of the art world? I think about that all the time. I think being in the Graphic Design department there are way more women than men. I was looking at the Society of Publication Design (SPD) that people and students submit their work to and there were so many men and I just couldn’t wrap my head around why. There are a lot of women in the Graphic Design department and they’re really good but when I look at design studios they’re all run by men. I was trying to get an internship and this studio literally only hired men. There was twenty people in the studio that were all men. I think that happens a lot though. It’s not evidently shown but there’s something about men that get more attention than women in the art world. I just can’t figure out why. Why do you judge women by their appearance? We have talent too. Look at our portfolio not our face. That’s just really frustrating for me. I think that happens too much.
We still need to bring awareness not just to America but to other countries as well.
I know you’re part of Ripgurl and I would really love to know what your part in it is. Luisa Rodriguez, who is the founder, started it as an all girls skater crew because there’s always guys skating around and I don’t know why but one day we decided that we should all learn to skate and show up and we should have a skate off. It was kind of a joke but
Cylinder Studies digital posters
Cylinder Studies digital posters
Tough Girl screenprinted tote bag
Tough Girl screenprinted tote bag
it actually just happened and being at art school we wanted to make it more of an art kind of thing. So the first project we did was make a Ripgurl zine without a specific theme but the common denominator was gender discussion. So that was really fun and I think it helped us shape the concept of our art more and I made a photo which I usually don’t do but it was a self portrait that shaped me a lot in thinking of my work. I wanted to do something that empowers other girls, which sounds pretty simple but I think it’s hard to do. I started making tote bags with sayings like “tough girl”. I guess I was pushing the tough girl thing because I think when you describe a girl, tough isn’t usually a word used so I wanted to slowly change the language of gender roles which isn’t such a big change but I think all women artists are aiming to slowly change the language and image of women and feminism. That’s what I’m trying to do still in my art. Slowly changing the tradition
that women have to be ladylike and reserved and girly. But I’m okay with people who are like that naturally. Also pink is my favorite color which is so stereotypical so I just want to say that we can do whatever we like. If you like pink that’s fine. We are who we are and to just be proud of that through our art making and if were making girly art that’s who we are and they shouldn’t necessarily label it girly. What are your thoughts on how MICA has been progressing and creating more diversity on campus? I’m really happy to see those changes finally. I think living in Baltimore is really good for that too because Baltimore has a tradition of the LGBTQ community literally starting from the bottom and building it all the way up. In my history class at MICA we went to the University of Baltimore Library and they had an entire archive of the history
Ripgurl Ripgurl is Baltimore based skate team, girl gang and feminist art collective that creates zines and is run by Luisa Rodriguez.
LGBTQ LGBTQ is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Many feminists view sexual orientation as a political issue.
I think all women artists are aiming to slowly change the language and image of women and feminism.
Emma Watson Emma Watson was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls to advocate gender equality.
HeForShe HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half.
of the LGBTQ community so that was really good to see. I think there’s kind of a DIY culture and everyone is struggling for equality and I think Baltimore is a really great place to be at with these people so that we can all do this together and change. What are your future plans in art and feminism and any last thoughts? I go to Korea every break and there’s no sense of feminism in Korea. America is still somewhat anti-feminist but in Korea and other countries there’s literally no sense of women empowerment. It makes me angry and sad because there are so many smart women in other countries especially in Korea but they’re constantly being brainwashed by mainstream media. I don’t even want to start talking about K-Pop culture where women are literally being objectified as dolls. They don’t have any awareness of what objectification is. In the future, I really want to take my friends from America to Korea or other countries to start really spreading women empowerment and building a stronger culture around women. I don’t want to see anymore articles about feminist artists that get cyber bullied and death threats by anonymous people. They’re just speaking their minds and to think that women in other countries could get killed for speaking with that much authority is so crazy to me. So, I think that’s a life goal that I have that I want to achieve
by bringing awareness to Korea. I love Korea. That’s something I really want to do in the future but it would be really hard because so many men are conservative in Korea. I also think Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech got a lot of publicity from social media and I think the reaction was pretty positive because she was talking about how feminism is for everybody and I think if there were more bigger movements like that to slowly build the floor that would be really cool. Hopefully, I will be part of that in the future. We still need to bring so much awareness not just in America but in other countries as well.
Check out more of May Kim’s work at: www.maykim.co
33rpm Collection digital poster 39
Laura Weiner is an artist from Glenside, PA and is currently studying Interdisciplinary Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She considers herself an interdisciplinary artist whose interests are mainly in ceramics, drawing and performance art. She is also excited to be helping out FORCE and The Monument Quilt project.
When did you first learn about feminism and what were your thoughts on it? I’ve always been a person who was interested in critical thinking. I feel like I’ve always been a feminist even before I knew what the word meant. I don’t really know when I first heard the word but my older sister is also really interested in feminist theory so it was probably just part of my upbringing. What does feminism mean to you? A lot of people think that feminism is specifically about gender equality but it’s really important to talk about gender equity and in order to do so you have to talk about other facets of identity including race, sexuality, class, color, etc. I think feminism is about questioning the systems under which we operate and how they perhaps affect the equity of different groups. I definitely consider myself to be a radical
feminist artist. Though I do want to preface that by saying that a lot of people hear radical feminism and they think I am talking about trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF) and I do not identify as such. There are different branches of feminism and I try to take ideologies from many of them. Different branches of feminism can conflict with one another but I think it’s really important to be able to entertain two conflicting ideas simultaneously because you can get really beneficial results from that. That being said, the TERF movement is extremely problematic. There is a really big movement saying that the feminist movement is ignoring us. I think it’s really important to listen regardless of what our intentions are. Another part of feminism for me is not criticizing women on their personal choices but also examining our place in the hierarchy of privilege and questioning whether or not we should be listening to someone who says we’re not checking our privilege in society.
Gender Equality Gender equality does not imply that women and men are the same, but that they have equal value and should be accorded equal treatment.
Gender Equity Gender equity is a set of actions, attitudes, and assumptions that provide opportunities and create expectations about individuals. Gender is never separate from race, ethnicity, language, disability, income, or other diversities that define us.
Help acrylic on canvas
Reach Around acrylic on canvas
Trust acrylic on canvas
Can you talk more about the exclusion of transgender people by feminists?
on for a really long time. I recognized even from a young age that being male or being masculine has its privileges and then learning where I fit in as a cis female bodied person. I quickly learned that I had no choice but to operate within this male centric society.
The valuing of men and masculine things in turn degrades and devalues things that are feminine. The goal of radical feminists is to challenge those attitudes and to upset that power dynamic. TERFs think that transgender women are “just men” who Have you had any experiences where your are trying to prey on cisgender women. Or gender or sexuality was used against you? that trans women have male privileges and they also want access to “real” women’s I think that everyone experiences that even space. That’s problematic because it’s on a small scale. Some people experience it assuming that if you have male secondary more than others. I was bullied really badly sex characteristics in elementary school that you’re not a and all throughout high woman. There is also school. I think it started an argument that in fifth grade. That was trans men should not when I got my period. The valuing of men be allowed in feminist A group of boys in my and masculine things class spread a rumor spaces. I don’t have a solid answer on what that I was a stripper and in turn degrades and I think about that, told everyone. That devalues things that or about men being stuck with me and the included in feminist are feminine. The goal reputation stuck so it spaces in general was awful.I have a really of radical feminists is big soft spot for people but I know that trans to challenge those women absolutely who were bullied and need to be included. attitudes and to upset I really care about children and about that power dynamic. When did you first outreach because I become aware of your never want someone to gender and sexuality? go through something like that. But it happens Well, when I was little, constantly. I’ve always people used to think I was a boy because I been a really outspoken person with a lot of wore my hair really short and I wore boys opinions. It’s really difficult being that way clothes and I was never really timid or shy because even people who say that they’re the way that a lot of people stereotype interested in women’s equality all have young girls to be. That was confusing to these biases that inform the way that they me because I was like “no, I’m a girl”. I also treat others. People often say that I am think I knew presenting as masculine had articulate and intelligent and that I need to privileges in a way that a young seven year tone it down. That would never happen if I old wouldn’t be able to articulate. I got my were male presenting. Like that would never period really early and I developed breasts be a conversation. Probably the tipping early and I got a lot of attention for that. point for when I became unapologetically It was really hard being eleven and having feminist and outspoken was under the grown men come up to me on the street circumstance in which I had to transfer. and try to solicit sex. It was uncomfortable I used to go to a different school. I got and confusing because we’re not really drunk one night and another student who taught how to handle that sort of change I thought I could trust raped me. I wasn’t in a way that is healthy and empowering equipped to understand that I didn’t have for us. I recognized that being sexual as a to feel guilty and it took me two weeks to feminine person has power in itself so that fully realize what had happened because was something that I unconsciously played everyone was like, “Oh yeah, he probably
Transgender Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity or gender expression not matching one’s assigned sex and is independent of one’s sexual orientation.
Cisgender Cisgender is when an individual’s gender identity matches the sex given at birth.
Intersectionality Intersectionality is used to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.
Amber Hawk Swanson Amber Hawk Swanson is a queer video and performance artist living and working in NYC.
just made a mistake.” They were making all these excuses and there was no one really there to be like you have the right to do this and to do that. But I finally came forward and I went through the whole school hearing and I got to see first hand what that was like. The person was not expelled. They were suspended for a semester despite the fact that they were found responsible. The system is not set up in the favor of survivors. I never pressed charges and at this point I don’t think it’s something that would even be beneficial. There’s just betrayal from every angle. One reporter was very pushy about getting my story out and I kept changing my mind because I could get sued. I found her bosses phone number on the Internet and called them and told them so she didn’t publish it but she got really angry and didn’t talk to me after that. I felt bad for a really long time because we’re just taught as survivors to apologize. Schools don’t know how to handle it because individuals don’t know how to handle it. Institutions are made of people and that’s something a lot of people forget. I firmly do believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to make the world safer. It’s everyone’s responsibility one hundred percent.
Smile is a 44 minute video performance where I continuously slap myself. The voice in the video saying, “smile” is my own voice that I pre-recorded prior to filming the video. The saying, “death by a thousand tiny cuts” is about micro-aggressions. One slap in the face is not going to kill you but if you are slapped or cut a thousand times it’s going to have an impact. When we see something that’s difficult to look at we feel the urge to do something but then it’s too painful so we leave and we don’t engage. When we know someone, we don’t see the whole picture; we see snapshots of their life. We might see a glimpse of their suffering and then we go back to our own lives. The viewer who goes through the gallery space and watches the video for awhile may leave and wander around the other galleries and then come back. Throughout the video, my face gets redder and I’m bleeding but then also further complicating is the fact that I’m doing it to myself and then it’s also me telling myself to smile. Is this a person telling me to smile, is this me telling myself to smile because other people are telling me to smile and those are things I would hope people are wondering and asking while watching.
We’re not really taught how to handle that sort of change [puberty] that is healthy and empowering for us.
How does feminism influence your art? Intersectionality is an enormous part of what I think about day to day and informs the work that I make in general. I’ve been doing paintings and focusing a lot on performance art. I created a performance art video for one of my classes. That’s exciting to me and that’s the direction that I am most interested in right now.
What is the concept behind the video?
Who inspires you as an artist? Well right now, Amber Hawk Swanson is the person. She is like my art crush. She is a queer performance artist and she’s amazing. She made these videos where she commissioned a lifelike sex doll in her exact likeness and then she went around and cut up these dolls and reconfigured them into
Suffer, Heal, Grow, Teach four layer reduction woodcut and monoprint
Smile stills from video
Series of Prints printmaking
I think feminism is about questioning the systems under which we operate and how they perhaps affect the equity of different groups.
the likeness of a killer whale that is living in captivity. She brings in experts on whale captivity and talks about the stress it has on whales who are forced to live in captivity and how they are forced to breed. They have an unnatural amount of offspring in their life. Amber Hawk Swanson also collaborates with Davecat, who is a doll husband advocate. There’s a documentary about him and the movement online. He partners with synthetic dolls and she invited him to collaborate. While she’s constructing the whale, he is reading the book Lolita and the whale’s name that she’s making ironically is named Lolita, the one that is living in captivity. Other than that, the first feminist artist that I ever was introduced to was Jenny Saville. I love Keith Haring and Phillip Guston but he’s a misogynist. His work is beautiful but he’s an extremely troubled human being. What I said before about being able to hold conflicting ideas is really important. You can learn about marginalization through looking at the work of people who are sick and I really respect his work but not him as a person. I like Robert Crumb who is an illustrator. His view on women is super interesting and weird and I am really excited by it. And then there’s poet, Staceyann Chin who is the first spoken word poet I ever heard and she has influenced me in a lot of different ways.
Who has influenced you as a person? My parents have definitely influenced me and not always in their modeling behavior but also in the way that I don’t want to be like them. That’s something that my dad has always said. He says like, “We are who we are. You can take good things from us and also recognize things that you don’t like about us and don’t want to be and that can shape you as well.” I think that I don’t really have a role model in the sense that I idealize or would aspire to be like but people are complex and I try to take something from every relationship that I have regardless or not whether it’s a good or bad relationship.
Jenny Saville Jenny Saville is known for painting the human body– usually that of a woman’s– with little desire to evoke traditional ideas of beauty, let alone femininity.
Robert Crumb Robert Crumb is a cartoonist and his drawings are seen as violent, sexual and degrading to women.
Check out more of Laura Weiner’s work at: www.lauraweinerart.weebly.com
Staceyann Chin Staceyann Chin is a spoken-word poet, performing artist and LGBT rights political activist.
MARGARET HINES xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Margaret Anne Hines is an artist from Atlanta,GA. She is currently a double major in Painting and Art History at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and enjoys reading a lot of literature. When did you first hear about feminism and what were your thoughts on it? When I was a kid I remember saying something on the playground and being called a feminist and thinking, “who isn’t”? I was taught that feminists believed men and women were equal. I guess the first introduction that I can remember to feminism was in a history class. I remember being excited about it, but I also felt like it was a movement in the past. It felt like something that had happened and even though I was kind of aware of gender inequality, it was mostly this historic moment that has passed. Was there any hatred of feminism where you grew up? I mean I grew up in the South, but I grew up in the city. I went to a liberal prep school that championed feminism as a political movement. My grandmother lived with us for a while and she explicitly set up standards for women that were different from men. I was constantly told things
like, “if you bite your nails no one will ever marry you” and shit like that. But that’s probably not too different from everyone’s experience with someone of an older generation. I was also raised Catholic, but my church was really wonderful and accepting of the gay community so I was really blessed. My parents were and still are really open minded and supportive. I am really lucky. I didn’t have to deal with blatant sexism or hatred towards feminists as a force of nature like some do. I still had to deal with sexism and still have to deal with it; we are always dealing with it to some degree. Have your views of feminism changed since coming to MICA?
Simone de Beauvoir Simone was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, feminist and social theorist.
Julia Kristeva Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian French philosopher, literary critic, feminist, and novelist.
Learning more about feminist academia impacted my ideas about feminism the most. I started reading Simone de Beauvoir, Linda Nochlin, and Julia Kristeva, whom are mostly French. Reading about deconstructionism, especially in language, impacted me as well. I think it showed me that feminism isn’t just this singular
Abject in Yellow acrylic, house paint, burlap and canvas
American movement that happened and it’s this kind of perpetual historical thing that keeps reviving itself and that it’s also a way of thinking. The way that we think about everything is constructed and that it’s often constructed by men and for men. Thinking from a feminine point of view– thinking with multiplicity and relativity opened my mind so much. So I think in college, feminism turned into feminisms and that was a real ground breaking thing for me. What does feminism mean to you?
rabbit hole and I always end up somewhere super radical. In postmodern pessimism, I always end up thinking that a Monique Wittig’s Les Guérillères style revolution must be the only solution possible. But at the same time I think that in order to create that kind of change you have to give up a lot. Even for me, I’m not willing; I’m very comfortable in being defined as a woman and feminine. I’m very comfortable in a lot of gender roles–not to say that gender roles are not fucked up and that they don’t hurt people. You have to kill your darlings to get somewhere and I don’t think that people are really willing to do that, so it’s complicated to implicate change. With all of that said, I think of the queer teenagers who commit suicide because they feel different, I think of the work and pay inequalities women face daily, I think of teen pregnancy, I think of rape culture and I remember that there is a lot of change that can and needs to happen before we even have to consider overthrowing the patriarchy. There may never be a real solution to sexism, but there are millions of steps we could all be taking daily to help the people around us.
I’m realizing that men and women aren’t equal – not that they’re not inherently equal but they’re not equal because the playing field is not equal.
I have issues with the word feminism, not because I don’t agree with a lot of ideas around different types of feminisms, rather I think feminism is too much of an umbrella term. My idea of feminism comes from a basic existentialist point of view. We created, and continue to create, the world that we live in. A lot can be gained in not taking that for granted. I’m realizing that men and women aren’t equal – not that they’re not inherently equal but they’re not equal because the playing field is not equal. The aspects of culture we value often favor a singular, patriarchal mindset. I definitely believe that feminism is just so complex and it means a lot of different things and my idea of it isn’t necessarily specific to feminism. I do want to say that when I am talking about gender--I think gender is constructed and I’m including ideas about queerness in the conversation. When I think about feminism, I spiral myself into the idea that everything is constructed and there’s no way we can even fathom a world outside the world we live in. I imagine this massive moving matrix and I seriously wonder if we can satellite ourselves out of it, and make decisions not predetermined by the social construction of white patriarchy. My mind falls down the
Monique Wittig Monique Wittig was a French author and feminist theorist who wrote about overcoming socially enforced gender roles.
Les Guérillères Les Guérillères is about a war of the sexes, where women engage in bloody, victorious battles. Moreover, sympathetic males join them in their combat.
Rape Culture Rape culture is a theoretical concept in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.
Sexism Sexism is the discrimination typically against women, on the basis of sex.
How does feminism influence your art? I’ve been working on a series of paintings and a lot of them include hand stitched or machine sewn pieces. I’ll sew together pieces of different fabrics and either stretch them or not and then apply paint. Usually my first layer is some kind of house paint and then I go in with acrylic and then usually oil. You could argue that sewing is a domestic thing, but, for me, that has nothing to do with how my work relates to feminism. I sew because I enjoy it and I think it’s a good way of creating an interesting
Black Diaspora The Black Diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that are descended from the historic movement of peoples from Africa.
Frantz Fanon Frantz Omar Fanon was a Martinique-born Afro-French psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies.
Toni Morrison Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Morrison is the first African American Woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Gilman was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, poet and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women.
Queer Theory Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are.
field to paint into. However, feminism What are your thoughts on how the media does come into my work in the imagery. I’m portrays feminism? usually doing these large abstract pieces, and I try to paint a space or an object that I think that there needs to be more doesn’t look like anything that you know terminology created in feminisms. I think but feels like you do. I’m trying to create that language is putting us in a corner in an uncanny experience through paint and terms of getting at what people think about texture. I think paintings are perfect for gender and sex. In a lot of youth circles, creating the uncanny because they’re flat feminism has become this nasty word surfaces that we project a sense of space associated with bra burning, no shaving, and into, so inherently painting, as a picture man hating. This is really fucked up within plane is uncanny. I look at the world around itself because I think a lot of the movements me and then make drawings or make small in the same vain as lesbian separatist quick paintings and do larger paintings movements are not man hating. They of my smaller paintings. I visually are just another way of approaching the deconstruct the world problem of patriarchy around me using my and often provide peripheral vision and necessary communities weird moments of for people and some Feminism is light. Deconstructing extreme movements the visual realm as are meant to make something that a way of hopefully people uncomfortable reaches all of giving a moment in order to make people of deconstructing history. It reaches think, which can work space and ideally effectively when points of academia really deconstructing how done well. Even if you and points of you’re thinking and how don’t agree with any of you’re experiencing the what the separatist or pop culture and world. extremist movements it encompasses are saying or doing, Who influences you as yet you still identify as all kinds of an artist? a feminist, there’s no queer theory. effective terminology I read a lot because of to distinguish the my art history major. vastly different forms My thesis is dealing with of feminism. Feminism a contemporary criticism approach to the touches everything, I mean everything. Black Diaspora and race, specifically in the Feminism is something that reaches all of United States. I’m reading Frantz Fanon’s history. It reaches points of academia and Black Skin White Mask, Toni Morrison’s points of pop culture and it encompasses all Playing in the Dark, and Édouard Glissant’s kinds of queer theory and all kinds of queer Poetics of Relation. Foucault is really identifications. It’s just too broad. The important to me, Julia Kristeva is my all time construction of the word feminism itself, favorite and I also read a lot of literature. simplifying it down to capture everything, I guess an influential feminist work is exemplifies how patriarchy functions in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “Yellow our psyche to value the singular over the Wallpaper”. I have a yellow painting that multiple. The lack of multiplicity within started off and actually still is based off of the word feminism is an example of the narrative of that story. Artists that I patriarchal thinking and the demonization am looking at are all over the place and of feminism exemplifies the detrimentally often change: Joan Mitchell, Eva Hesse, limited language has on the expansion Shirin Neshat, Kara Walker, Kerry James and evolution of thought. I’m really an old Marshall. I’m also really interested in lady in terms of pop culture. The problem early modernism, Manet, Cezanne, and is that these kinds of icons of pop culture Marie Cassatt. are seen as the icons of feminism, yet they
Amidst acrylic, house paint, on burlap
Converge acrylic, house paint and fabric on canvas
Everyday acrylic and house paint on canvas
To blame women as a whole reveals a narrow patriarchal way of thinking, which ultimately limits and hurts all genders and sex identities.
only represent a small part of feminisms. I think it’s too bad that people can’t think more broadly about the term, but I can also empathize with someone who doesn’t consider themselves a feminist because they just believe in gender equality. I have friends like this who despise the word feminism because they don’t want to be associated with any of that history. I don’t agree with that but they just want to be a female person who has a job and functions in the world without thinking about politics or inequalities and I think that’s a fair desire to have. So, I can empathize with women who hate the word feminism, I’m just not one of them. What do you think about men’s rights activists?
Frances acrylic on canvas
I’d be quick to call bullshit on anyone who attempts that kind of thinking. It lumps all women into one category. I’ve heard some men complain “you want to be treated equal but you also want the door held open for you.” It’s like, first of all, you should be holding the door for everyone, I don’t know what kind of manners you have. More importantly, some people have different ideas than others; some women have different approaches than others, just like men’s ideas vary. To blame all women reveals a deep stupidity and maybe even a hatred and anger towards women. I mean there are some really serious examples of that worldwide, but also in the USA. Just the fact that rape happens. Rape is usually a man raping a woman–I think it shows that there are still some really severe issues of power and hatred for women. There are still serious inequalities in gender for women worldwide. Get over yourself and try to help. To blame women as a whole or to disregard the possibility of contradictions and multiplicity existing reveals a narrow patriarchal way of thinking, which ultimately limits and hurts all genders and sex identities.
Check out more of Margaret Anne Hines’ work at: www.behance.net/margaretannehines
Christianna Clark is an artist from Oklahoma and is currently studying Fiber at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and is creating a fashion line called Spooks inspired by the Black Power Movement and the Black Lives Matter Campaign.
When did you first hear about feminism and what were your thoughts on it? My mom raised me to be a feminist. She’s really second wave. So, really sex negative and also anti-abortion which is a funny thing for a feminist to be. She was part of Fire, I think that’s what it’s called and it was this feminist organization in New York City whenever she lived there and so she just raised me to be a feminist. How did your childhood affect your views on feminism? I went to Catholic School my whole life, well except for one year, and it was a pretty conservative environment even though pretty much all my teachers were women, they were all very strong, outspoken women. A lot of my feminist beliefs and sense of resistance was from rebelling against my Catholic upbringing, and my mother, and just wanting to be independent. My mom raised me to question things and to aggressively defend my beliefs and talk about things.
Since, you and your mom have very different beliefs, do you two talk about those differences and what is the relationship like? I talk about everything with her. I am the most in her face. She knows I’m pro LGBTQ rights. She knows I’m in a polyamorous relationship. She knows all of that stuff, that I’m pro-abortion and pro-choice. My mom is working for this birth choice clinic so she’s essentially convincing rape victims to not abort their babies and she sends me pictures of these babies getting baptized. What does feminism mean to you now and how has it changed?
Second Wave Feminism Second wave movement of feminism peaked in the 1960s and 70s and touched on every area of women’s experience, including family, sexuality, and work.
Pro Choice Pro-choice is the position which advocates the existence of a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion.
I started off being really gung-ho about being feminist and I remember when I was younger one of the books I got was Full Frontal Feminism which is kind of more aggressive but now I’ve become more of a critic of white Feminism as I’ve been more involved with post colonial studies and queer theory and things like that.
How would you define feminism? War and Gender War and Gender is a book by Joshua S. Goldstein, that analyzes the exclusion of women from combat forces, throughout history and across many different cultures.
Sexuality Sexuality is a person’s sexual orientation or preference. Many feminists are highly critical of what they see as sexual objectification and exploitation in society.
It’s advocating for the rights and equality of all women, advocating women’s rights to choose and to not be policed by peers or ideas at large, to have comfort, to feel good in their body, to feel strong, to speak out about things, to feel like they have a sense of authority over their lives and in their community as well. Women deserve to be empowered.
When did you first become aware of your gender and sexuality?
I have always been aware that I was a girl. My parents raised me to be a strong girl but still a girl. They dressed me up in pinks and velvets and ponytails and long hair. I couldn’t even cut my hair until I was in middle school. As soon as I could, I cut it to my chin and I straightened my hair and it was a whole thing. I became aware of What facets of feminism my sexuality pretty are you interested in? young I guess. It was preschool when I It’s advocating I’m really interested in started experimenting for the rights and masculinity. I recently and I would just took a class with Leah experiment with the equality of all Ulansey and it was girl next door we really eye opening to women, advocating would just be naked see the socialization of and see what would women’s rights to masculinity because I happen and there was thought more from a a lot of shame around choose and to not be it because my first feminist perspective as a women before but to see policed by peers or sexual experiences the opposite and how were with girls and ideas at large. they’re both structured. of course I was in I’m also interested in the Catholic School. I book, War and Gender didn’t even know but also as a subject what gay was for the matter. I guess the longest time. I had no militarization of people because we live in idea what homosexuality was and I asked a pretty militarized country comparatively my mom one time. I had brought out a and we’re very interventionalist and dictionary and all I could find was that gay imperialist. means happy. I was like mom, what does gay mean and she was like “joy”. My mom had a What do you think about men’s rights gay brother and he had an alcohol overdose activists? so he died pretty young and it was probably around the time that I was asking what They’re just men that feel disempowered sexuality was. for whatever reason. I mean I think feeling disempowered is different than systemic Have you had any experiences where your disempowerment. If you feel like you don’t gender or sexuality was used against you? have an equal opportunity that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a lot more It’s just so constant that it can be hard opportunity than other people or have a lot to pinpoint. Whenever you’re in school of privileges that people who are oppressed and you have trouble with something and don’t have. It’s just very misguided and people are like don’t worry you don’t have really just operates from the axis of power to be good at that. You don’t have to be good and privilege that we’re trying to dismantle. at math or science. You’re good at art, stick Why is it so hard for white men specifically with art. So maybe that’s part of why I’m to share some power or to permit more in art school but I’d like to think for other people into the sphere of decision makers reasons. Men are taught that they’re funny or heads of countries? and women are not funny. It’s a huge thing.
Spooks: Lil Red and Yellow Bone vinyl, mesh, rope
Spooks: Lil Red and Yellow Bone vinyl, mesh, rope
There’s a prevalent feeling that men are just funnier or have that natural charisma and that there aren’t any funny women. You see women in administrative and high ranking positions in school systems, which is the sphere of motherhood extended for our contemporary world where mothers have to work as well. I guess it’s difficult to run against a man, like if I wanted to hold a position of leadership I knew it would be harder if I were running against a man. Or if it was a popularity contest, I would know that I wasn’t going to win.
How does feminism influence your art?
I just got back from a Paul Rucker show and he’s another person using the glory suits, which are the KKK attire, in his art. Right now I am doing a line of glory suits but they’re my own play on clan attire. I guess I see the clan hoods as this lens for talking about race and systemic racism, not just individual problems. I am interested in looking at these things and conversing about race and oppression and how whenever you bring up the clan you immediately go to lynching. It’s part burning cross and intimidation and How do you feel about the gender other forms of terrorism and the other inequalities of the art world? part is lynching. A lot of comparisons have been drawn lately between the clan and Overall, I think there’s a devaluing of work uniformed populace policing. Lynching was made by women. I think that men run all seen as a very democratic way of handling of the systems that attribute quality to justice. It was a group of people coming to things. Old white men, popular consensus that the people who have this person needs to die money, patrons of the and it’s a mob mentality, arts. Art functions on a which is different than bourgeoisie economy democracy. With the Art functions on a and the bourgeoisie clan hoods, there’s are the people who bourgeoisie economy this association with hold land. Women policing and the bourgeoisie contemporary and minorities were and militarization of not allowed to hold policing and what’s are the people who land so of course they been called the modern accumulated that kind hold land. Women and lynching of blacks by of wealth. If you look My work is kind minorities were not police. through history there’s of dealing with that been a lot of stealing of allowed to hold land realm and right now it’s property or money from in a fashion line because so of course they women and minorities it’s a good place to talk because they’re given about contemporary accumulated that secondary citizen status things and fashion is or not any citizen status very current. There’s kind of wealth. so whenever there is a a spring, summer, fall huge system, there is and winter line so it’s a set amount of money very seasonal and very and a huge income gap. current and this is a The art world is not based on jobs that current issue. I have it juxtaposed with this need to be done, it’s jobs that make money soundtrack I made that is provisionally and people get hired to make money or called “The Police Brutality Soundtrack”. to do good work. They don’t get hired to It’s a series of the combination of citizen help people overall. So if you’re trying to captures of incidents of police brutality break into a system like that, it can seem mixed with some kind of other sounds, impossible. I don’t think its lack of skill or some synthetic sounds and also a reading lack of aggressive women wanting to get of a list of blacks killed by police in 2014. It’s in who are making outstanding art. going to be an intense thing and my fashion line is going to be worn by all black models.
Paul Rucker Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer and musician. Rucker has created visual and auditory art installments, often centered around racial injustice.
Systemic Racism Systemic racism is any system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies or private business corporations.
Who influences you as an artist? Jefferson Pinder Jefferson Pinder is a contemporary African American artist whose primary interests are minimal performances of Afro-Futurism, physical endurance and blackness.
Adrian Piper Adrian Piper is an American conceptual artist and philosopher. Her work addresses ostracism, otherness, and racism.
Kara Walker Kara Walker is a contemporary African American artist who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity in her work.
Sophie Calle Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability and examines identity.
The Roots Collective The Root Collective fights poverty and gang violence through economic development. They partner with small scale artisan businesses to promote change through jobs.
Right now I’m being mentored by Jefferson Pinder, an African American artist who does work about blackness and oppression and his work follows along similar lines. I mentioned Paul Rucker as well. There’s so many including Adrian Piper and Kara Walker. I was first really influenced by performance artists like Sophie Calle. People who get in and are bodily there and really challenge social interactions. I do a lot to distance myself from the art world and have a lot of feelings about it. I feel kind of alienated within it but I know there are a lot of artists out there like The Roots Collective where artists are doing work about social justice. They’re a national group and eventually I’ll try to be part of it. Are there any feminist movements that you’re interested in right now?
heard any response from her and in some ways I feel bad because I know it is in part her gender being a women but it’s also whiteness and white privilege and there should just be as much calling out of CEOs of large companies. What are the differences in culture among black and white women? Kate O’Brien had this feminist manifesto reading and I read Toni Morrison’s “What White Women’s Liberation Can Do For Black Women” and it kind of just outlines the differences in culture among black and white women, who’s awarded femininity and who’s not and what femininity does to disempower women. Women who are not allowed that sphere of femininity and how they have different forms of disempowerment, which also leads to a degree of some empowerment. So I think that’s why everything is so fractured now. I think the biggest issue that I keep hearing from people who are older or part of previous movements is that everything is very fractured and were coming to recognize that this isn’t just black and white, woman and man, gay and straight. There’s a lot of cultures, differences in privilege, differences in identity, and inequality and distribution of that privilege. I don’t know why we’re not all united. I don’t understand why we’re not all together.
Money is a huge thing of power and it may just seem like a social issue but race, class and gender stratify it.
I’m really excited by what FORCE is doing. Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle have been doing awesome stuff. Their work to bring in a culture of consent has been phenomenal and heard all around America and it’s even made it to Oklahoma. There was a full out protest about this one rape case, not the high school that I went to but the high school that I went to for a semester. There was a big walk out so that’s been really cool. There was also this hilarious segment during John Stewart’s show about the wage gap among one percenters and how there’s the .5% of the 1%. Money is a huge thing of power and it may just seem like a social issue but race, class and gender stratify it. I may hate on Patricia Arquette for what she said but wage gap is a huge issue and there should be more talk on wage gap in a more general way. I mean CEOs are still making five times than the average entry-level worker is making. It seemed like she didn’t understand history. We’re all trying to fight for our rights. I have not
What are your thoughts on feminism in pop culture? Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus are just the most ignorant spokespeople that have been chosen to represent things that are much more complicated. It’s unfortunate because they are unable to use the power that they have been given and their ignorance is silencing a lot of other
Spooks: Little Red Devil vinyl, mesh 67
Spooks: Little Red Devil vinyl, mesh 68
With the clan hoods, there’s this association with contemporary policing and militarization of policing and what’s been called the modern lynching of blacks by police.
people who can’t speak. It’s as frustrating to me as Macklemore winning Best Hip Hop Artist and Iggy Azalea being nominated and all this whitewashing. It was frustrating when Katy Perry won that award for being a LGBTQ Advocate and she’s definitely said and done some questionable things from the start. What are your thoughts on how the media portrays feminism? Feminism has become a dirty word like socialist or anybody who wants to advocate for anything. All the good movements have been dragged through the dirt like whenever you think of the Black Panthers, the intensity of censor that happens through COINTELPRO. Nixon and Reagan and all of these charges brought up against people who are still in jail. Panthers are still in jail. Panthers are still in exile in Cuba and other places because they advocated for the people. The police weren’t protecting them so they brought in armed guards to protect them against terrorism. People were facing terrorism, people were bombing their houses and shooting their schools and defacing their property, harassing their children, raping their wives or anyone. Nobody was safe. Whenever somebody stands up for that, they’re torn apart and everything is brought
against them and it’s the same thing with feminism. The best way to get people to disregard somebody is to make them out to be crazy. They’re crazy, they’re too this, they’re too that. They’re sluts. They’re bitches. They’re lesbians. Anyway that you can make them less of a person is so sad to me. In spite of it, people are still out there advocating. There’s a ton of lesbians out there and there’s a ton of blacks out there. These people aren’t going to disappear. There’s a lot of feminists that are doing a lot of work and are having children. They are raising feminist children and there are a lot of gender queer kids raised without gender so there is hope for the future and we are getting more liberal. It feels really slow and there’s a lot of obstacles but just looking in the past fifty years and opportunities that I have that my grandparents would have never dreamed that I would have, we’re making progress and the dissemination of information is so important.
Black Panthers The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary Black nationalist and socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982.
COINTELPRO The Counter Intelligence Program was a series of covert projects conducted by the United States FBI aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.
Check out more of Christianna Clark’s work at: www.christiannaclark.com
HANNAH BRANCATO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hannah Brancato is a MICA alumni who received an MFA in Community Arts. She co-founded FORCE with Rebecca Nagle and is currently displaying The Monument Quilt in public spaces throughout the country. When did you first hear about feminism and what were your thoughts on it?
How would you define feminism in your own terms?
I teach at MICA now and run an organization that’s been around for five years now but when I was an undergrad I was actually very resistant to the idea of feminism. I actually transferred to MICA as a Fiber major. I think that my resistance to it was similar to a lot of people, which is misinformation, skewed definitions and then feeling like the label is a box instead of thinking about it as my organization FORCE does. We think of feminism as more of a magnet and that it can grow and expand and it’s not a box that people have to fit into. I also recognize the history of mainstream white feminism leaving out people of color particularly black women starting from the suffrage movement into second wave fighting for the glass ceiling instead of other issues and you still see it today. I think that people feel the need to define feminism in different ways or use terms like “womanism”. I respect those reasons. I also think that it’s great to redefine what the term can be.
Of course I think of it in terms of gender equity but I think it’s also about creating new systems to replace systems that aren’t working and so for all the work that I’m doing I’m thinking not just on an interpersonal level of the way that oppression is functioning but also through institutional and systemic levels. What is FORCE and what are your goals as an organization? The organization, FORCE is an artist and activist collaboration between me and Rebecca Nagle and lots of other collaborators to upset the culture of rape and promote a counter culture based on consent. We do that through highly public actions that sometimes happen online and sometimes happen in public spaces. We’re most known for a spoof of Victoria Secret where we made a fake line of consent themed underwear and created a Twitter campaign around getting folks to talk
Womanism Womanism is a term coined by Alice Walker. It is a reaction to the realization that feminism does not encompass the perspectives of Black women.
FORCE FORCE Upsetting Rape Culture is a creative activist collaboration to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.
The Monument Quilt at the National Mall in DC
about consent and making consent a more mainstream idea. So, that was in 2012 and consent has become a mainstream idea as a result of a lot of activism on college campuses around the country. It was sort of in the early wave of that. FORCE’s work is often functioning in that way where we’re both creating our visual experiences but also collaborating with organizers and activists. How did you get the funding to do all of these events and collaborations? When we first started we didn’t have any money so Pink Loves Consent was all volunteer, our web developer, Dan Staples made the website for free. We still work with him and he made The Monument Quilt website. Everybody was a volunteer. Philip Laubner was our photographer and all the models were volunteers. As we’ve grown, we’ve established ourselves as people who are going to be around for awhile and are going to continue doing the work. We’ve gotten a few small grants, done Kickstarter campaigns and have one particular individual donor that’s really supporting us. I think there’s just been so much energy around breaking down rape culture and the tactics that we use to do it are effective so people get excited about being part of that.
and enjoyable. One of the critiques that I always like to talk about is that consent isn’t sexy, it’s necessary and that critique is usually coming directly from students who are doing the organizing, doing the work. We have to just start the conversation somewhere and also we have to reinvent what sexiness is. It’s become so much about objectification or it becomes mandatory or some kind of judgment like you must be doing something wrong. But I think when we get to a deeper level of conversation then we should be talking about all of these things. We should be talking about creating a world where sex is pleasurable and empowering and that’s what FORCE is about.
I think it just comes back to how we don’t ask people to fit inside of a box. There’s room for lots of different angles and ways to approach us. One of the main kinds of messages of both of those is that the idea of consent is sexy and that it’s pleasurable
Rape Culture Rape culture is a theoretical concept in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitude about gender and sexuality.
What is The Monument Quilt about and who is it for? The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of stories. It’s a public space by and for survivors. Rebecca and I are both survivors. It’s important that we’re survivors but we don’t put our faces up front. The Monument Quilt is about collective story telling and that there is not one narrative that sums up all rape survivors experiences. When mainstream media puts one face on the story it’s really damaging for survivors that don’t see themselves. Trans people experience higher rates of sexual assault in their lifetime. Black women experience high rates of sexual assault. Native American women experience the highest rate of rape of any ethnic group and some of that has to do with policies and higher incarceration rates. So I think that in general, feminism becomes problematic when only one person’s story is being told and that’s why creating a platform for lots of stories to be heard is really important.
I’m thinking not just on an interpersonal level of the way that oppression is functioning but also through institutional and systemic levels.
Have you ever gotten any negative feedback?
Pink Loves Consent Pink Loves Consent was a web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret to promote a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties.
The Monument Quilt The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. By stitching stories together, it is creating and demanding public space to heal.
How do schools handle sexual assault? Know Your IX Know Your IX is a national student driven campaign to end campus sexual violence. They educate students across the country about their civil right to education free from sexual violence and harassment.
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. is a Native nonprofit organization dedicated to reclaiming the sovereignty of Native nations and safeguarding Native women.
Native Alliance Against Violence (NAAV) NAAV is a nonprofit organization operating as Oklahoma’s only tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition.
White Buffalo Calf Woman Society The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc. was initially founded in 1977 and became the first women’s shelter on an Indian Reservation in the United States.
Violence Against Women Act The Violence Against Women Act was created in 1994 to provide prosecution of violent crimes against women.
We travel around and do Consent Workshops around the country. We’ve been to around twenty five different schools. I would say that in general, colleges treat rape as a PR problem instead of as a human rights violation and that’s where everybody is kind of fucking up. Because of student activism and Know Your IX and other groups, schools are now being held accountable. There’s something like ninety colleges have Title IX complaints across the country including Johns Hopkins University where we’re doing a monument display. Students have risen up and organized themselves and are fighting back against that. There is a lot of energy and resources being put into changing the systems that are silencing rape survivors and not holding perpetrators accountable on college campuses and that’s really important but we need to remember that rape is happening in a lot of other places that get less attention and that’s where that multiple narrative thing comes in. Can you talk about the Native American Rights campaigns you are doing currently?
is Cherokee and her sister is also an activist who wrote a play called Sliver of a Full Moon. It was about the fight for Native American advocates to become included in the Violence Against Women Act because they were formerly excluded. Native American women still cannot prosecute non-native people who assault them on their reservation because of old laws that don’t give tribes full jurisdiction and sovereignty over their land. The percentages of non-native people who assault native survivors are a lot higher. So, there are some systemic problems in our work that we can point out and call attention to. The other big thing we are doing right now is that we did a quilt display in Jacksonville, FL at Marissa Alexander’s hearing. She’s a black woman that was incarcerated for three years for firing a warning shot against her abusive husband. Her case is really important because many women particularly, black women across the country are in jail for self-defense. I think that number is in the 80 or 90 percent for women who are incarcerated who either assaulted or killed somebody that had been abusing them. That kind of intersection is really important in what The Monument Quilt is doing.
The Monument Quilt is about collective story telling and that there is not one narrative that sums up all rape survivors experiences.
We’re collaborating with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and then in different parts of the country there are different tribal coalitions and so for the American Indian National Day of Unity Against Sexual Assault, we are travelling to Oklahoma and we’re collaborating with the Native Alliance Against Violence (NAAV) and having a quilt display on that day. Over the summer we did a thirteen city tour with The Monument Quilt and we stopped in Mission, South Dakota where the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society is located. They are the first domestic violence shelter on an Indian Reservation that was opened in 1977. Rebecca Nagle, my collaborator,
How does living in Baltimore affect your work and art? Baltimore is a city that’s 65% African American and I went to MICA and teach at MICA which is probably 80-90% white. There are a lot more international students now but there’s still a pretty slim African American population. Separate from the work I’m doing with FORCE, I am also doing some work here at MICA. I’m part of an equity committee that has formed and I’m trying to include education about oppression and racism in the Foundation Curriculum. I’m teaching an Elements class this semester and so I’m always trying
A poem in the reflecting pool created by FORCE
to change what kind of basic knowledge people have because there’s a lot of misinformation out there and that became really clear around the Ferguson protest. My family is very privileged and white and I heard a lot of problematic assumptions where people just really didn’t understand that in African American communities, police are a threat not a comfort. I think in general what I’m trying to do at MICA and what FORCE is doing is to think about bigger systemic changes and the role that art and culture can have in that because I do think that visual culture does impact us on a very deep level and we’re not always aware of it but images can completely shape our understanding of the world and it is also the language. It’s a combination of the two. Artists can have a big role in changing whatever the mainstream standards are.
What are the reasons behind The Monument Quilt using quilt making as a medium for your message? We conceived of the idea based on a book by Dr. Judith Herman called Trauma and Recovery in the 70s. It established the fact that rape survivors experience PTSD and compares their experience to the experience of survivors of war and talks about the importance of reconnecting with community in her book and that monuments are a site for reconnecting with community. It’s a symbolic place for that and she writes there is no monument for rape survivors and that’s where the idea of a monument came from for a highly public healing space. It’s also important that there’s the history of the social justice quilting, which I learned about from artists
Dr. Judith Herman Dr. Judith Herman is a psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and author who has focused on the understanding and treatment of traumatic stress.
Dr. Joan M. E. Gaither Joan M.E. Gaither is a native Baltimorean with a history of helping to integrate local schools and businesses during the Civil Rights Movement.
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter is a movement co-founded by three Black women activists that gained recognition after the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
like Dr. Joan M. E. Gaither who’s based here in Baltimore who does quilting for social justice. The idea that the quilt is crowd-sourced is also important and that’s part of the history of quilt making. It’s people coming together and it being a communal space for story telling and then just thinking about the history of cloth and the stories that it can tell. It’s about the physical experience of making it and healing but also the physical experience of walking through the quilts themselves. Are there any feminist movements that you are interested in? I’m interested in the economic equity work that the Occupy Movement represented. The United Workers have been around for a long time and I am always looking to support
them. The Black Lives Matter movement is another cornerstone of our generation. I think the work around rape culture and racial equity are two things that are making history right now and it’s really important to be in conversation with each other. I think a lot about intersectionality and the way that all of this anti-oppression work ultimately can connect. I don’t think that our criminal justice system is the answer to ending sexual assault. Our criminal justice system is racist and incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. Most people in jail are Latino and Black and so in our work, it’s this public healing space and crowd-sourced story telling but it’s also trying to create different platforms for justice and healing outside of systems that are broken and don’t work.
The Monument Quilt in Queens, NY
What are your thoughts on how the media portrays feminism? I think it points out an interesting place that we’re at as a society, where people feel like we have sexual freedom but we don’t. I think it’s really clear that we don’t have that level of sexual liberation in some of our pop icons based on the response that they get and the level of slut shaming that they get in the media. The biggest worry that I have with mainstream feminism or feminists that have a limelight is the idea of them making the same mistake that the early suffrage acts made. Early white feminists decided that Black people were going to have to wait and that this was going to have to come first and you’ve seen history repeat itself. Patricia Arquette is a perfect example and Emma Watson has had similar critiques as well. I would
say that sexual liberation and the fight to end oppression should work together but don’t always work together. You also have to remember that when we did Pink Loves Consent we were clear that consumerism and capitalism wasn’t the solution so if Victoria Secret actually started making consent underwear that would be great but it wouldn’t solve the problem. It just indicates that our mainstream culture is in a different place, which is great, it shows progress and some forward motion but it’s not the end goal. What is the target audience for The Monument Quilt and are men a part of this community? We engage men as survivors. There’s actually a higher rate of male survivors than is ever really talked about. We do really
I think the work around rape culture and racial equity are two things that are making history right now and it’s really important to be in conversation with each other.
Gathering at The Monument Quilt
broad outreach to different community based groups across the country and so it can be prison rights activists, it can be male survivors, it can be LGBTQ folks. Basically the point is to share leadership and so each community partner takes The Monument Quilt and adapts it to make sense in their community and host workshops and events around it and this idea of community healing in a way just translates well. It’s very adaptable and there’s tools and stuff on our website on how to do that. There’s also a map of the country that shows most of the partnerships that we have on our website. You can start to see the network of people that are doing this work generally to end rape and abuse.
How do you feel about the gender inequalities of the art world?
Is there anything FORCE is looking forward to doing in the future?
We are collaborating with a group in Mexico and creating a version of the quilt in Mexico. We’re actually really specific about The Monument Quilt being about the US because we think that people should look inward instead of telling other people what to do different and having an imperialistic attitude towards it. There’s a anti-rape group called La Casa Mandarina and they are starting a quilt in Mexico and so we are planning a display that will meet at the border, probably in El Paso-Juárez. This will symbolize the policies on both the US and Mexican side of the border that perpetuate violence against women and sexual violence that happens at such high rates.
I think that continues to be a systemic issue. I mean the same thing applies to whiteness in the art world. My attitude about it is creating different worlds, different systems and alternatives that might work better. I never felt like I could quite fit in the way that people did studio practice. My art practice is very interdisciplinary and I had a big revelation when I realized I could find other art worlds or synthesize a few art worlds together. That became a more freeing way to function as an artist in the world for me and I think some of that has to do with being a woman but also a person interested in doing social justice work.
Check out more of Hannah Brancato’s work at: www.hannahbrancato.com FORCE:Upsetting Rape Culture www.upsettingrapeculture.com The Monument Quilt www.themonumentquilt.org Photo Credits: FORCE Upsetting Rape Culture
Kira Keck is an artist from Columbus, Ohio. She currently studies Fiber at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and is working on a series of reusable menstrual pads called Menstrual Mayhem. When did you first hear about feminism and what were your thoughts on it?
How has your view on feminism changed since coming the MICA?
My mom has identified as a feminist since her early twenties so I grew up with it and kind of knew about feminist theories. There were all of these books from her gender studies classes so I was really aware of that kind of stuff. She encouraged a lot of feminist thought in me.
I’m really happy I get to study it in depth more so I’ve taken classes which have broadened my understanding of feminism, what issues it can apply to and how in depth you can go into different things. Right now, I am really interested in medical issues with the body, the history of how doctors have kind of suppressed certain knowledge. It also feels really good to be around a lot more people who openly identify as feminist and we can have really great debates and it’s so challenging and so lovely.
Do you and your mother have similar views on feminism? We’re actually pretty similar and I used to really identify with her but now I’m realizing we’re more different. It’s also a little bit of a generational thing and she’s trying to be more aware of stuff whereas I’m part of the crowd that’s on top of everything that gets posted about. She’s a sociologist and is really interested in issues relating to mothers. She did a lot of activism with this group called, La Leche when she was pregnant. So, I felt like having children was actually an empowering experience for her.
La Leche La Leche is an international nonprofit organization that distributes information on and promotes breastfeeding.
How would you define feminism in your own terms? I think feminism is really based on equality. I think there’s this misconception that feminism is only about women but it’s more about intersectionality so finding oppression where it exists and trying to fix that but I also feel like it’s a really a personal way to reassert the power of women.
Menstrual Mayhem reusable menstrual pads
When did you first become aware of your gender and sexuality? I was pretty aware from a young age not necessarily about myself but I picked up a lot of stuff from the media. I remember in second grade thinking, “I know men are horny, so are the boys in my class horny?” I didn’t know what age that happened at but I think I kind of knew when they started teaching sex education in fourth grade it became really apparent.
of how aware they are of how upset they are getting but I definitely realize that it is because I tend to be very loud and assertive. I think it’s mostly men but I do realize at MICA it’s mostly women and I think most of them have been introduced to the concept of feminism so they are less likely to attack and I grew up in this liberal bubble and I have stayed in this liberal bubble so I think I get less resistance.
Menstrual Mayhem Menstrual Mayhem is a line of reusable menstrual pads that are designed and screenprinted by Kira Keck.
How does feminism influence your art?
What do you think of sex education in school systems?
I’m a fiber artist and that definitely has a lot to do with feminism and we talk a lot about it in the classroom, issues of labor I thankfully was in a school district that had and what it means to be doing something like slightly better sex education in that considered traditionally to some extent they weren’t teaching and still considered abstinence although women’s work. It’s they really stressed coming to terms with it. They tended to that and also realizing frame it as the only I think there’s this it on my own. In terms way you could ensure of subject matter I misconception that do make a lot of art you couldn’t get an STD so I guess that’s relating to feminist feminism is only better than being issues or whatever about women but I’m studying. It’s pure. But I realized how little of certain usually interpreting a it’s more about aspects sex education situation with feminist actually stuck later intersectionality so thought and I make on. That’s something finding oppression art to help me process I wish they had a little information and come where it exists and up with a view point. A more emphasis of and that we had refreshers recent project I started trying to fix that. because we only had though is way more it in certain grades. I direct, it’s less fine realized this in high art and more activist school when my based art and it’s called friends didn’t think that they could get Menstrual Mayhem. It’s this line of reusable pregnant while on their period which is like pads and I have a feminist agenda and have totally wrong and no one had ever said that. literature teaching about the body and I’m hoping to dispel some myths and taboos Have you ever had any experiences where about menstruation. your gender was used against you? Did you hear about the woman in Germany I guess I notice it sometimes in social that put up menstrual pads with feminist situations and dynamics among a bunch of messages around her city? people together and it gets a little strange and sometimes it feels like in certain class Yeah I did and the one thing I really critiques, if anything political or related appreciated about that was that women can to feminism is brought up there’s usually continue this in their own city because it is resistance from a few people. It’s this act totally easy to just print stuff out and stick of almost attacking and I’m never sure things to places.
Can you talk about the condom rope you made for your masculinity class? Masculinity Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with boys and men. Masculinity is made up of both socially defined and biologically created factors.
MRA The men’s rights activist movement is made up of a variety of groups and individuals who are concerned about what they consider to be issues of male disadvantage.
FORCE FORCE Upsetting Rape Culture is a creative activist collaboration to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.
Yes, the condom rope. It was my crowning achievement last semester, which was this rope made out of 500 condoms. They were still rolled up and I just snipped off the tips and I basically used the same method as this children’s craft called loom bands. Little girls make these really interesting bracelets using this system and I rigged my own system and those methods and made this rope which kind of hung between this partition of a jump rope like state and it just had a fascinating texture and it wiggled and it was loopy. Do you think learning about masculinity gave you a new perspective on things?
actually have. It’s also interesting that one of the head MRA dudes is like an asshole who doesn’t pay child support and has basically made a business off of this. I think we live in a society that oppresses women and harms men. What are your thoughts on feminism’s rise in pop culture and mainstream media?
I think it’s really great that it’s way more in the limelight now. I wasn’t really alive for this part but I think about the 80s and the pushback against everything because we were switching to conservative politics and Reagan and remilitarizing America after Vietnam so I’m glad it’s way more in the cultural consciousness. I hope that it kind of Masculinity was leads to a larger effort to make changes.
helpful in better
Ma s c u l i n i t y w a s definitely one of understanding how Are there any feminist those life changing movements that feminism relates classes. I’m in feminist you’re interested in theory right now and right now? to men but also I’m realizing that I general economic know most of that I think FORCE does stuff so it’s less life really great work and oppression and changing. Masculinity I think I’d like to be how we live in a was helpful in better more involved with understanding how and I’m glad patriarchal society. them feminism relates to that I’m going to have men but also general more time this summer economic oppression and be in Baltimore. and how we live in a I really appreciate patriarchal society so this made a lot of organizations like La Leche, which are really things make more sense and helped me about helping women. Right now I think analyze situations better from different everybody is really broad and I’m tying perspectives. to find a niche where I can try to make a difference even if it’s just in a few people’s What do you think about men’s rights lives. activists? What are you views on slut shaming and MRA is really funny and a push against rape culture? feminism, which is really funny because these men aren’t thinking about the history Those things are so prevalent right now. behind feminism. There are loud feminists A lot of times when I approach a subject I voices right now but if you look at over like to go way back for historical context. I time and although a lot of strides have was studying the Black Deaths and so I was been made since the second wave, a lot of researching about sexuality in Medieval things haven’t changed and a lot of things Europe and how far back these views go, are going backwards and I think that they even way back to the ancient world and are overestimating the influences feminists finding out where these myths came from.
The Deceit of Pollination screenprint on cotton
Condom Rope 500 condoms
Modular Compositions soft sculpture
I find it really inspiring to be in the Fiber Department, which is overwhelmingly women and queer people and being in this really interesting community with professors who are so aware of different issues.
I’m realizing that it’s so circumstantial to whatever time period, culture and place we’re in. It’s sad how perpetuated it has been. It’s difficult because right now way more women and girls are doing their own thing and getting further and further way from the mythos of virginity but it’s still ever present. I feel sexually liberated but I still have instilled in me that virginity is somehow precious or the only thing I have to offer even though I grew up in an atheist household where that wasn’t emphasized at all. It just shows how much you can’t escape from dominant culture. Do you think feminism is progressing and evolving? There are some things I’m really glad are happening now. Intersectionality is one of them which has been emphasized in the classes that I’m taking which is really awesome especially since I have lot of mixed feelings. I feel that there’s a lot of push back against white feminism as in feminists who believe that ignoring issues of other women or other groups or believe they know what’s best in terms of fixing those problems instead of letting whoever lives in those communities do so. I think I’m really glad that there is so much discourse about this right now. Even though the Internet is weird and can hurt people, I’m glad there is more accountability in that people can point out problematic stuff. I think its important to have that continued dialogue and to be able to reassess things or look at what you say. I have to look
more into this but this is the last Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival that is happening, which I considered going to but always felt uncomfortable about going because they are so trans-exclusionary. People say such nasty things on their Facebook page, which is kind of crazy to me. I don’t know if it’s their last year due to its declining membership or the organizers are feeling done. I’m glad we’re re-examining second wave views but I also hope we don’t completely dismiss the work that they did even though the attitudes weren’t great or helpful but realizing that it did a lot and it’s still part of this larger history of feminist work. Who influences you as a person and artist? I think my mom is my biggest influence just because she was the person to introduce me to feminism. She was so present in my life and throughout high school it was just me and her alone living together. She’s really close to me and I really appreciate all she’s done. In terms of art making, I find it really inspiring to be in the Fiber Department, which is overwhelmingly women and queer people and being in this really interesting community with professors who are so aware of different issues. I’m so happy that I’m in a space that has that.
Virginity The concept of virginity is a social construct and is used to control women’s sexuality and determine their value.
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, called “the Original Womyn’s Woodstock”, is an international feminist music festival.
Check out more of Kira Keck’s work at: www.behance.net/kirakeck