WARNING - The very nature of this article can evoke thoughts and feelings at a very personal level which can result in the expression of strong and sometimes extreme opinions.
As women we wear many hats and have many roles. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. We work in business, government, entertainment, healthcare, and many other industries. We are a diverse lot and maybe tall or short, full-figured or twiggy. We are approximately 50% of the world's population.
Sadly, we have one more thing in common. Many of us will experience sexual assault in our life-times. One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. (rainn.org/victims-sexual-violence, for full citation.) Let that sink in for a minute, one out of every six American women. Think about all the women in your life. Your mom, sister, daughter, wife, or a friend. Apply the statistic. Sobering isn't it?
During the recent presidential race in America, a 2005 tape was released in which then candidate Donald J. Trump was heard vulgarly describing kissing and groping women without their consent. Since then, one cannot it seems turn on the T.V. Or open a newspaper without hearing about another titan of industry or high ranking government official being accused of sexual assault. Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Alyssa Milano tweeted out a call to action using the hashtag, #MeToo.
She called on women to break free from the misplaced guilt, shame, and fear that kept them silent and share their story or simply declare, Me Too.
And boy did they ever respond. All of this piqued my curiosity about what art work may have been inspired by this social media. A search of social media turned up several interesting projects and artistic responses and I am honored to be able to share them with you. I found the following works of art to be as unique as the artists that created them but all have lent their talents and voices to supporting women in saying me too.
Artist LaetitiaKy, a hair sculptor, used her hair to create a silhouette of a male lifting a woman's skirt. KY(@laetitiaky) She uses her own hair to create amazing sculptures. Check her out on Instagram!
I found her work particularly poignant given that symbolically hair has often represented a woman's identity, femininity, and even her liberation.
Erin Gallagher, trained as a graphic artist, put those skills to work creating unique works that help us visualize the sheer number of women who tweeted MeToo using the hash tag. She collected about twenty-five thousand tweets tracking the hashtag over 31 hours beginning 10/16/2017. She then used an open sourced visualization software to create her work (http//artnet.com Finding Beauty in Pain. Seeing One artist's Breathtaking visualization of the viral #Me Too Campaign)
Perhaps the moving piece though, was Tara Subkoff's , Synaptic Fatigue/ Dear in Headlights, interactive performance at this year's Art Basil in Miami. No, I did not mean deer. The performance took place on the rooftop of the Edition hotel. Pairs of women were staged in matching black leotards. They were instructed to think about their personal, #Me Too experience(s), and just allow themselves to feel the emotions brought up. The women were blinded by spotlight. During the hour long performance, opera singer, Rebecca Ringle weaved among them playing compositions with themes of women dealing with despair, rape, and sorrow. Like the music, the women's expressions evidenced emotions of sadness, some wept, rage, fear and humiliation. One of the women participating was the actress Selma Blair. (https/news.artnet)
These artists have started the conversation. It is up to each of us to keep the momentum going. We must do better. For our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. For half of the world”s population. Who do you know that tweeted or could have tweeted #Me Too?