I read an article on Refinery29 yesterday morning that made me feel ill afterwards. It details police retaliation against Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo murdering his friend Eric Garner during an attempted arrest. Eric was being arrested for allegedly peddling loose cigarettes, but he will never get the chance to be tried in a jury of his peers. As per the decision of a Staten Island grand jury on Thursday, neither will officer Daniel Pantaleo.
There’s really nothing I can do with my anger except channel it into art which is why I’m proposing a Protest Sweater. My intention is that this sweater will be worn during peaceful protest and that it will fulfill the following requirements:
- It can protect the protester’s identity to avoid retaliation.
- It can conceal possible identifying characteristics that may prejudice a biased viewer such as race, gender and orientation.
- It can reveal the protester’s identity if they so choose.
- It can be easily removed and stuffed into a bag or backpack.
- It sends a strong and direct visual message.
- It is comfortable and functional as a garment.
Here is a sketch of my proposal. The photograph is from morguefile.com.
I want to make the pattern public and I’d really appreciate feedback from anyone reading this. I also want to state for the record that I do not hate the police or support violence of any kind on either side. I am, however, extremely angry about the revoltingly poor quality of police training, oversight and accountability. Police Departments are failing citizens and officers and putting all of us at risk. Improved training, body cams and accountability for police officers and departments are vital for everyone’s protection.
What is a vagina boat, right? And how exactly will it brighten your day? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. And two pictures are worth two thousand words. So, behold…
Get ready, because I am about to run-on-sentence the crap out of you. What you are looking at, dear readers, is smiling Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi (known as Rokudenashiko, or “good-for-nothing-girl” in Japanese) sailing down the Tama River near Tokyo in a kayak made from a 3D scan of her own vagina.
While Rokudenashiko’s piece may appear to be fun and lighthearted to some Westerners, the act of depicting a vagina directly confronts a taboo surrounding the female genitalia in her home country. This conflict was highlighted by her arrest and detention by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on obscenity charges related to the piece. (For contrast, check out this penis festival and parade featuring giant phalluses held every spring in Kawasaki, Japan.)
Fortunately, Rokudenashiko was released relatively quickly thanks in large part to a petition signed by over 20,000 people on Change.org. She is still active and currently selling light-up soft vinyl “Pussy-chan” figurines on her website.
For more statements by the artist about the piece and her arrest, check out the Reuter’s article here.
For more information on her process and the context of her piece, check out the BuzzFeed article here.
When my hubster showed me the new Pink Loves Consent line of undies from Victoria’s Secret I was blown away in the best possible way. I couldn’t wait to post congratulating the company for making such a strong and unexpected stand against rape culture and for using diverse models in their campaign.
Upon visiting the website for myself, I noticed it was not part of victoriassecret.com and decided to call shenanigans. A quick Google search revealed that the line was indeed an act of subversion by anti-rape group FORCE: upsetting rape culture.
While I was initially disappointed that it was a hoax, I have to give FORCE huge props for making such a compelling campaign. Anything that has people talking about body image and rape culture is a positive step forward in my book. Also, congratulations are due for successfully petitoning Victoria’s Secret to withdraw their lawsuit and allow the satirical site to be reinstated. You guys are my heroes!
Let’s hope that someday this will be reality and not satire.
All photos from pinklovesconsent.com
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here is an awesome yarn bomb I had the pleasure of gazing upon as I sipped tea and knit this past weekend at the Lantern Coffee Bar in Grand Rapids. There was also a pretty fantastic mural across the street. I didn’t get a picture but perhaps you can see a bit of it peeking up over the cars.
Madcap Coffee was another friendly place to sit and knit and the music was top notch. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area anytime soon!
Anyway have a fantastic and safe holiday people!
I’ve finished the first in a series of sweaters that incorporate social messages into the design. I can’t wait to do a real photoshoot of it! I’ve also been making drawings of weird cartoon characters. I don’t know what their significance is yet, but I’m having fun!