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(en) Ireland, Dublin, The anarcha-feminist magazine RAG #1 - Guerrilla Girls

Date Tue, 06 Nov 2007 10:04:54 +0200

Masked feminist art crusaders otherwise known as the Guerrilla Girls have been using humour, radical tactics, creative campaigns and speeches to challenge the art and entertainment worlds since 1985. --- This group of renegade artists assume the names of dead women artists and wear gorilla masks in public. The mystery surrounding their identities has attracted some attention and in some cases a media furore. They feel that this attention is important in order to focus further on the issues at hand rather than their own personalities. The Guerrilla Girls tend to operate on the fringes of contemporary art scene, combating sexism, racism and social injustice politically and culturally. They believe that feminism is a fundamental way of looking at the world, a world in which huge inequalities unfortunately still exist.

Their main method of combat involves producing posters, books, stickers, protest actions and letter writing campaigns. They started out by wheat pasting posters in the middle of the night and partaking in other subversive activities but can now be found lecturing all around the world in galleries, museums and universities. One of their books, The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art is being used as a textbook in colleges as part of women's and gender studies curriculums. They have become a model for feminist activists as well as introducing a lot of young people to the Guerrilla Girl ideals and feminism in general.

"The work of the Guerrilla Girls represents a most powerful political union between theory and practice. They set an example for feminists everywhere."- bell hooks

A typical Guerrilla Girl will wear the imperative gorilla mask and will occasionally sport a shoulder padded sports jacket, a mini-skirt, fishnets and high heels. Using humour as a tool, they say it helps to 'convey information, provoke discussion and show that feminists can be funny.'

Their most recent 'unchained' campaign is an ongoing campaign to get the Hollywood big wigs to take notice of the shortage of female directors. Just when you thought the Academy Awards couldn't get any more political, in 2006 the Guerrilla Girls decided they'd up the ante. Weeks before the 78th Awards ceremony a billboard was erected!

The image: A frock-clad, lipstick wearing gorilla in chains holding an Oscar statuette.

The slogan: 'Unchain the women directors'. The statistics, well, one in particular that stands out: 'No woman director has ever won the Oscar'.

This is not their only attempt to confront the powers that be in Hollywood however. Back in 2002 they introduced the 'Anatomically Correct Oscar'. This particular billboard depicted the Oscar as an overweight, bald, hairy white male. Their response: 'Just like the guys who win'.

If you would like more information on this witty, provocative and consciousness raising group of feminist monkeys go to: www.guerrillagirls.com.

by cara
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