Today In Feminism: Defiant Art, Emma Watson & Miranda July
There seems to be abounding feminist happenings in the news this past week. Maybe it’s some side effect of consuming inhuman amounts of pumpkin pie this past week, or maybe there’s a macro bacterial virus in the air spawning Rosie the Riveter bandannas across the globe. Even as I write this, I’m wearing a blue scarf á la Rosie herself. The stars have aligned! Here are a few stories that tickled our feminist funny bone (or Rosie’s clenched fist) this week.
Beijing Cracks Down on Feminist Art Exhibit
Last week in Beijing, artists gathered at the doors of the Jinge Art Gallery, ready to set the final touches on an exhibit on violence against women. The show was to debut on Wednesday, the anniversary of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Hours before the anticipated opening, the artists found the doors locked and bolted, Artnet reports. The artists, an oil-paint-slinging, social critique-banging crew of 64 individuals, have their speculations about the reasons for the intervention.
Art that explores violence against women may be a little too liberal for conservative Chinese authorities. The sheer size of the exhibit–32 male artists and 32 female artists in lovely gender-equal harmony–probably had president Xi Jinxing pacing, stressed. The shut down, however, wasn’t all that unexpected, given the resurgence of conservatism the country has endured since Jinxing began his term. Just this past year, feminist activists were warned to abstain from observing the 20th anniversary of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women. Last March, five activists were detained after trying to hand out anti-violence stickers and pamphlets. Beyond stifling the feminist voice in China, censorship and surveillance has affected the art world more broadly. Communist art adversaries, like Ai Weiwei, have had a number of run-ins with Chinese authority.
Girl Crush Miranda July is Coming to the All About Women Festival
Every March, the Sydney Opera House hosts an all day, all women evening of awesomeness. All About Women showcases women authors, storytellers, artists, activists, and as of yesterday, Miranda July, who will be joining the ranks of kickass feminine gurus. Alongside July, the festival also announced an appearance by Portlandia Star Carrie Brownstein, Orange is the New Black inspo Piper Kerman, and The Toast founder Mallory Ortberg. Journalists, politicians, and oodles of others will also be joining the festivities to engage in discussions and lectures. Tickets will be available starting December 3rd.
Emma Watson on Feminism and Fashion
In her interview with Porter on Monday, Emma Watson talked about finding identity and finally settling into her own skin. When asked about her newfound comfort, and the bubbling drive to be “messy and unsure and flawed and incredible and great and my fullest self, all wrapped into one,” Watson cited fashion as the link between her personal mission and campaign for women; an interest in fair trade clothing was her segue into her position as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Given so many designers are women, and it’s the same women who have their working conditions effected by shifts in policy, the connection was a natural. For Watson, the underlying link was clear: “fashion is a feminist issue.”
Lena Dunham’s Lenny Shop is Now Open
This year, staple female activist Lena Dunham and best friend-meets-business partner Jenni Konner began a newsletter, the Lenny Letter. Today, the dynamic duo dropped some feminist swag, with the launch of the Lenny Shop. The online site sells patches, banners, incense holders, and nail stickers of tiny butts and vulvae. The cute stuff is part kitsch, part rad, and wholly Dunham and Konner. The site is meant to go hand in hand with their feminist campaign, showcasing women-owned, grassroots businesses. Our hedonistic online binge-shopping can now align with our social values in a beautiful array of “Dismantle the Patriarchy” patches and incense holders shaped in the female form. Thank you, Lenny Shop.
Female Porn Stars Stand Against James Deen
Cue Rosie’s clenched fist. The shit hit the fan this week for debatable male feminist James Deen after being accused of numerous accounts of rape and assault by fellow porn stars. According to ex-girlfriend Stoya and a handful of alleged victims, Deen reportedly forced himself on the women, who are now voicing their outrage, as Broadly reports.
The rape victims aren’t the only ones spelling a bleak future for Deen. Since Stoya’s Twitter announcement, and two other women coming forward, the infractions have been swarming in through every media outlet, and fellow porn stars have coined the hashtag #solidaritywithstoya. The incoming tweets cite warnings that women received about Deen upon first entering the industry, which include near-rape encounters, and a litany of violent incidents with Deen. Stoya is quickly becoming an upstanding figure for change in the porn industry, and derailing the notion that sex work inherently means consent. At the epicenter of the issue, she is garnering mass support.
Images via Artnet, Bookfans, EveningStandard, Refinery29, Huffington Post