Wednesday, 29 April 2009

feminism + mirror = awesomeness

On flickr:
(Here is) Where I Come From: (Here is) What I am Getting At

When I was a student at Texas State I wrote a paper on the subject of feminism in contemporary art for Pat Taylor. I chose the subject and there were an abundance of resources with queries about the place of feminism within the practices of such artists as Cecily Jones and Sara Lucas, so on and so on. I spent many hours trying to find a young, successful female artist working today that would answer even the simple question, "do you consider yourself a feminist?" in the affirmative. That particular resource was never found. It exists. Somewhere. It has got to.

Feminists raised me. Some of these women would never identify themselves as such. My grandmother for instance, but luckily there were others, my aunt Noemí López, my principal Mary Ashley, my mentor Sue Robertson who all identified themselves as feminists. My aunt Noemí has been or still holds office or sits on the board of The Texas Women's Political Caucus and Planned Parenthood. She took me to every feminist rally, conference, meeting, debate, fundraiser that she was attending to fulfill her responsibilities as my God Mother. She also took me to mass on Sunday.

On April 25, 2004 hundreds of thousands (some reports say over a million) people participated in the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC. It was the largest protest in our nation's history, though many do not know it happened. One of the participants was Ashley Judd. She wore a T-shirt that read, "This is what a feminist looks like." This glam gal movie star is not what the public identifies as a feminist. She is beautiful, wears sexy gowns on the red carpet with non-sensible shoes. There are a lot of girls that want to be just like her. Another day I saw a guy exiting the grocery store with his cart with the same shirt on (I mean, it said the same thing. I don't think it was the same shirt). He was attractive, well groomed, wore a wedding ring and wasn't driving a hybrid. I didn't see his wife around. Maybe she was at home or maybe she was at work, working at an equitable job, or maybe she is deployed to Iraq, or possibly drafting legislation, or is a Union Pipe Fitter for a local in Chicago, or maybe she is meeting with her editor or she is finishing the work for her exhibition that opens in Berlin next month.

This work that I have produced is meant to instigate an everyday agency. Personal agency begins with identity. My part in an everyday revolution toward change begins with how I see myself.

One step in becoming an artist is calling your self one.

Jen López

Chicago, IL
February 2007
Floral swimming cap gratefully tipped to Feministing's Fun with Feminist Flickr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've got to admit seeing men wearing 'this is what a feminist looks like' shirts often makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I realise most of them just want to show their support for women's rights and equality, and I applaud that. But I wish they could do it without appropriating the title 'feminist' for themselves.

It would be much simpler if whoever makes those shirts made a 'feminist ally' range for men.

It would also be nice if people didn't uncritically applaud men for wearing them.