UNIT 7: reclaiming words and FEMEN

Finding this collection of tshirts by Karen Savage, reclaiming the words used to sterotype and label women, made me really interested in this and its relevance to what the Riot Grrrl movement started with women writing words on their bodies to reclaim them. This relates well to the topic of feminism and stereotypes of women, and could be good avenue to go down with my project. 

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The above shows body graffiti shown on Kathleen Hanna, singer of the Punk band Bikini Kill and one of the first contributors to the US Riot Grrrl movement of 1991. I feel there is an empowerment to be found by attempting to reclaim these words, there is definitely potential for photoshoots here.

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Thinking about reclaiming words by writing them on the body, it reminded me of an America's Next Top Model shoot where they wrote words people used to bully them with all over their bodies, I don't like the style it has been shot, but I find the fundamental concept an interesting one, as I love to incorporate words into photographs. 

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After looking at painted words on the body I came across the feminist activist group  FEMEN. FEMEN is an international women’s movement of brave topless female activists painted with the slogans and crowned with flowers. FEMEN female activists are the women with special training, physically and psychologically ready to implement the humanitarian tasks of any degree of complexity and level of provocation. FEMEN activists are ready to withstand repressions against them and are propelled by the ideological cause alone. FEMEN is the special force of feminism, its spearhead militant unit, modern incarnation of fearless and free Amazons.


FEMEN world outlook

We live in the world of male economic, cultural and ideological occupation. In this world, a woman is a slave, she is stripped of the right to any property but above all she is stripped of ownership of her own body. All functions of the female body are harshly controlled and regulated by patriarchy. Separated from the woman, her body is an object to monstrous patriarchal exploitation, animated by production of heirs, surplus profits, sexual pleasures and pornographic shows. Complete control over the woman’s body is the key instrument of her suppression; the woman’s sexual demarche is the key to her liberation. Manifestation of the right to her body by the woman is the first and the most important step to her liberation. Female nudity, free of patriarchal system, is a grave-digger of the system, militant manifesto and sacral symbol of women’s liberation

FEMEN’s naked attacks is a naked nerve of the historic woman-system conflict, its most visual and appropriate illustration. Activist’s naked body is the undisguised hatred toward the patriarchal order and new aesthetics of women’s revolution.

 

FEMEN’s Objectives:

- by strength of courage and personal example, to initiate global women’s mob law over patriarchy as the historically first, and last, existing form of slavery. 

- to provoke patriarchy into open conflict by forcing it to disclose its aggressive antihuman nature to fully discredit it in the eyes of history.

- to ideologically undermine the fundamental institutes of patriarchy - dictatorship, sex-industry, and church – by putting these institutes through subversive trolling to force them to strategic surrender.

- to promote new revolutionary female sexuality as opposed to the patriarchal erotic and pornography. 

- to instill in modern women culture of active opposition to the evil and of struggle for justice.

- to create the most influential and combat-effective women’s union in the world.

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I love the bold nature of the words written across a bare chest and feel this has scope for a photoshoot idea, however, there is also the chance it could look a bit cliche and naff, if i reclaimed words on the body writing whore etc. But I feel that if I have a proper brainstorm about ideas and a concept, it could work really nicely to incorporate text.

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