Being a feminist does mean that you are someone who is outwardly angry, burns bras, hates men, and dislikes sex. Feminists enjoy sex and in fact make for better lovers. The purpose of this performance art project is to redefine the term and give feminism a new ‘face’ and re-brand the term, which unfortunately tends to have a negative connotation. And yes, I am unabashedly using sex to sell my ideas/ideals.
“Mostly they think feminism is a bunch of angry women who want to be like men. They do not even think about feminism as being about rights about women gaining equal rights. When I talk about the feminism I know up close and personal- they willingly listen, although when our conversations end, they are quick to tell me I am different, not like the “real” feminists who hate men, who are angry. I assure them I am as a real and as radical a feminist as one can be,”
“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression… the movement is not about being anti-male. It makes it clear that the problem is sexism. And that clarity helps us remember that all of us, female and male, have been socialized from birth on to accept sexist thought and action. As a consequence, females can be just as sexist as men.”
[Where did this anti-men stigma come from?]
“When contemporary feminist movement first began there was a fierce anti-male faction. Individual heterosexual women came to the movement from relationships where men were cruel, unkind, violent, unfaithful…more than ever the feminist movement [of today] is seen primarily as anti-sex. Visionary feminist discourse on sexual passion and pleasure has been pushed into the background, ignored by almost everyone.”
—-bell hooks; feminism is for everybody—
Most people believe that feminists can’t be romantic or sexual but according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University, this is not accurate. They carried out a laboratory survey of 242 American undergraduates and an online survey including 289 older adults, and determined that couples with feminists are more likely to have had longer relationships and greater life experience. They looked at men’s and women’s perception of their own feminism and its link to relationship health, measured by a combination of overall relationship quality, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability and sexual satisfaction. Their study also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported. Additionally, men with feminist partners have more stable relationships and better sex lives.
Feeling empowered translates to being more empowered in bed, which translates to more adventurous sex with bolder moves and superior satisfaction. A feminist isn’t afraid to push you onto the bed (or vice versa) or talk dirty or get frisky. A feminist doesn’t just “lay there.” She’s an active participant and she’s comfortable enough with herself to get spicy and rock your world.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Men can be feminists too. Bell hooks defines feminism as a struggle to end sexism and all forms of sexist oppression. While sexism might primarily hurt women, patriarchy and the societal construction of hyper masculinity puts enormous pressures on men. Men who attempt to free themselves of these insane pressures and expectations of being “man enough,” also make better lovers.
This T-Shirt began as a performance art piece on Umass Amherst campus in May 2012- 15 people -men and women- rocked these tee shirts in class, at work, while partying, etc.
The inspiration from this T-Shirt comes from an endless amount of wonderful sources. Specifically, this campaign was inspired by Lady Gaga, bell hooks, Marina & the Diamonds, University of Massachusetts Amherst Professors: Sut Jhally, Mario Ontiveros, Steve Olbryss-Gencarella, my friends, the Silence=Death campaign (ACT UP), and the unyielding strength, warmth, and compassionate fire of my mother.