Princeton University’s Art Museum hosted a reception for the infamous Guerilla Girls last week following a talk in McCosh Hall. The half filled auditorium in the Hall of Halls, was entertained, educated and intrigued by the truth exposed by these anonymous gorilla femmes. While the curiosity of the identity of these two hairy activists bore a hole in the minds of the young intellectuals, their engaging criticism of the sexism and racism profusely saturating the art world and its institutions held the listeners attention like a dangling banana.
Guerilla Girls, an anonymous, activist group of feminists, of whom assumes the identities of dead female artists, have been terrorizing misogynistic, skull and cross bones-esque institutions of art and their compatriots, since the mid 1980s. Highlighting harrowing statistics like 5% of art created by women juxtaposed with the 85% of women in art appearing nude in some of the most acclaimed institutions.
This group’s use of costume provides an anonymity that empowers them to fight against injustice, which can be very useful in this line of work. Fighting of any kind racks up casualties and damages to ones property, self, image or reputation. So when fighting injustice against powerful organizations and individuals you must consider the danger you put yourself and your career in. The Guerrilla Girls usually appear in all black with a gorilla mask that acts theatrically and politically to inform and attract attention to the issues they present.
GG have worked tirelessly on demystifying the F-Word that has intimidated and/or provoked mixed emotions amongst our society since modern times. FYI, Feminists are not just of the females (President Obama is a self proclaimed feminist); feminists are not all lesbians; feminists are not all man-bashing. Feminists fight for equality amongst genders in various fields of life, after all who would not want women to have the same opportunities as men in any thing that they choose to pursue?? See you might be a feminist after all and not even know it.
Our country’s history of prejudice and discrimination has been extensive. It seems that at any given moment there has been a group on the receiving end of our deep seated issues with “the other“. Why has this repeatedly become the issue of our social interface? Part of the answer can be found in our history books. As GG has reaffirmed, men have been the writers, subjects, and audience of HIStory for some time, contributing to the underlying sources of prejudice. However, each effort made and documented by women and for women towards a dream or goals destroys barriers formed to limit women in the workforce and all other aspects of life.
GG have not limited themselves to the art field, but has also interrogated film, politics, healthcare and education industries, and poverty issues for any hint of injustice. Bimbos, Bitches & Ballbreakers examine female stereotypes with humorous wit and spine tingling veracity that makes you cringe. Their tutorial on becoming a great ape suggests that you BE A LOSER…BE CREATIVE….BE ANONYMOUS …..and HAVE FUN!!!
For more information on Guerilla Girls, please visit Guerillagirls.com