WHAT WE SHOULDN'T BE
There are a lot of things that I'm not supposed to be, and there are a lot of things that I'm not supposed to say as a woman. I shouldn't offend anyone, especially my elders, especially when those elders are men. What I should be is "respectable," and what is respectable is decided by older, more conservative, and usually wealthier establishments than myself. If I'm not respectable or respectful, then I shouldn't be taken seriously because I'm not what a young woman ought to be; I'm labelled as angry, hot-headed, naive, idealistic, rude, selfish, and (quaintly) unladylike.
One of my sketches from the 2017 Women's March.
Feminist voices are labelled as those things, too, and worse. Feminist art expresses the Feminist voice, so that art shouldn't be respectable either. Being a serious woman artist wasn't acceptable for a long, long time. In cases where art makes someone upset or uncomfortable, being a serious woman artist is still unacceptable. Making images and statements that explore a woman's body without consideration for a man's gaze goes beyond unacceptable: such art is labelled gross, inappropriate, and obscene.
Image source unknown.
Women in art have come a long way, but since last year's Women's March I've seen a delightful uptick in gross, inappropriate, and obscene artwork that shows women:
* not smiling
* with body hair
* displaying bawdy behavior
* acknowledging and loving their sexuality
* being fat
* as witches
* supporting women
Outrageously, those simple eight things are enough to be considered Feminist artwork. Creating and using this artwork amplifies Feminist voices, helping to bring us together and closer to equality. When I draw cellulite as an acceptable feature or show my own cellulite, it's considered Feminist or brave. When I use whatever language is appropriate to a sentiment rather than what's appropriate to conservative sensibilities, it's also considered Feminist.
A piece by one of my faves', Tuesday Bassen.
Lucky for us her Young Angry Women shirt is on sale right now!
Image taken from Tuesday Bassen.
It doesn't take much to rattle established, patriarchal feelings. Acknowledging, embracing, and using our power as women makes the people who accept a patriarchal system's status quo scared. Who knows what they're so scared of (I'm sure there are a million think pieces and arguments about that one), but American women are less scared of the patriarchy than we've been in a long time, and we're not going back. Here's to 2018 being a year more full of Feminist art and more resonant with Feminist voices than ever before!