Feminist postcard art auction
via The Guardian, a collection of 38 “Feminist Postcards” to go on auction at Aubin Gallery.
I must admit I had a very visceral angry reaction when I saw this “Feminist” postcard. I then went on to read about who’s behind it and found out it is the work of artist David Rusbatch and it is, supposedly, a commentary about the (again, supposed) pornification of contemporary pop culture.
Two issues in this “work of art” bother me terribly. On the one hand, the woman depicted as the Feminist icon in the triptych is no other than Germaine Greer, an Australian academic whose work has been seminal to anarcho feminism and to gender related studies. A woman deserving of respect for having challenged many notions of, not only feminism but also the relationship of women with capitalist ideologies and the related forms of oppression. That the “Feminist” icon chosen is depicted as angry and far from accepted notions of “contemporary beauty” pisses me off. Particularly because there were a myriad flattering photos of Ms. Greer the artist could have chosen from. Instead, he gives us the tired, old stereotype of the angry feminist. Want to see what a breathtakingly beautiful woman Greer is? Take a look here (NSFW). My point is not “OMG a beautiful woman was portrayed as "ugly”“ because, really, fuck the notion that women have to adhere to beauty standards in the first place. No, my point is that she is purposefully portrayed in a negative manner (angry/ rabid/ unfriendly).
The other anger trigger for the card was the "post feminist” depiction. Because, really, we live in such a sex positive world that a pornographic image is “post”. There is no way that a woman would freely choose to enjoy this as an act of feminist choice. AM I RITE, GUYS, AM I RIGHT?! There is no one, not one woman who would become a sex worker (in porn or not) because she finds it worthy of her efforts. And that such woman will face stigmatization, ignorance, maybe isolation, etc, that makes it “post feminist”, exactly how?
I know some might object to my simplistic analysis claiming it is “art”, and it is supposed to cause an emotional reaction, and it is supposed to challenge, etc. Well, no. I am well aware of that. However, this is the part that annoys me: that this art is part of a “Feminist” collection. If it was not part of such auction, if it was just a piece of work that stands on its own, then I would not think twice about it. I would just regard it as yet another piece of “hipster art” (you know, ironic, “provocative”, etc.) and leave it alone. However, because the auction is supposed to speak on my behalf, is that I consider this insulting.
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