Thinking of the current social situation, I can’t but feel some modern tendencies getting a broader understanding and interest in the whole world. If earlier everyone searched for economic improvement, now when the life conditions have stabilized a bit, we start finding our social ways, which of course gives birth to different socially active flows. One of such flows is feminism. I consider this movement to be rather young, just because its radical current appearance is not so old. Women actually fight for their rights and fort leading among men. But if in the past all this in general carried a character of propaganda and theoretical basis, now feminists are people of action.
Thus, the number of different feminist groups and movements becomes larger every day and they get the access absolutely in all spheres of our lives. The movement I want to discuss here is called Guerrilla Girls and it’s one of the most interesting feminist phenomena in modern art.
Guerrilla girls is the official but anonymous group of feminists which appeared as a respond to sex discrimination in the visual arts sphere. It first appeared in 1985 as a response to the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition. The fact is that only 17 out of 169 painters exhibited there were women. More than that, the organizer of the exhibition stated that the painters who were not invited to take part in the event were not painters at all. These fact literally burned up a big fire. The founders of Guerrilla Girls started their protest without their now well known symbol – gorilla masks – but still rather actively. They opened a movement against sex and racial inequality in art distributing posters, but soon their feminist group became more active.
The most frequently asked questions are why they are Guerrilla Girls and what this habit of wearing the mask comes from. The activists of the group answer that they are still afraid of open interference, because all the power is in man’s hands and the movement is still numerically not so much significant to oppose the Government with it’s chauvinistic interests. Nevertheless, the power and bellicosity of gorillas should be a note to all the authorities signaling the girls are still collecting powers and no one knows what a might they can become being gathered together. Even the name of the whole movement is symbolic. Catch it: they are not women, they are girls which can be quite offensive for grown up women. A girl is something incomplete. And this very word symbolizes exactly what they struggle against: considering a woman to be the creature of lower level, to be incomplete and undeserving.
During the years of their activity and up to now Guerrilla Girls really managed to call attention to the problems of discrimination in art by their numerous initiatives and activities.
In different times different museums met the protesting activities of Guerrilla Girls but to my mind their popularity comes from their original mottoes now known all over the world: Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” and “When racism and sexism are no longer fashionable, what will your art collection be worth?”. Their posters also do their work and become more and more memorized and recognized in the world of art. These girls in gorilla masks shake the artistic stability and it’s not in vain.
I think they will continue their activities and I don’t see any harm in it. Feminism is only one of the great variety of different social flows we can choose now and I would not call the ideas Guerrilla Girls are promoting stupid. Or undeserving. Or unimportant. The only thing I think of is their harshness. I know that only the strongest win, but still, is it possible for women to be so ultra in their actions? Don’t they get too to close to manly behavior discriminating all the incarnate women features? Don’t they go too deep into the man’s world forgetting about the basic reasons for their actions?…