My final work is a t-shirt made from organic cotton sourced from Levana Textiles in Levin. I sewed it together and painted the slogan on myself. By doing all of these steps, I was able to ensure that exploitation was not a part in the creation of my garment unlike the feminist fashion I had seen. The slogan I used came from a poem I wrote about my own body where I compared its complexities to a universe. This is a really strong mentality that I try to carry with me as it forces me to remember that I am in control of my own body. In a patriarchal society that tries to tell me I am lesser than, it is such a difficult thing for me to reclaim my own skin. This tee is made in response to that feeling and promotes the reclamation of my frame. Not only this, but that our world is for everyone no matter their race, gender, sexuality etc. This is a very visible and vocally feminist statement which helps me promote feminist ideologies in a non-offensive way that is also able to reach anyone that sees me wearing the top. I decided to use my own words because feminism is such a diverse thing which means many different things to many different people and so only I could illustrate what that meant to me. I tried to make it more accessible to others by using colours that are typically seen as gender neutral and not the pastel pink we normally see. Feminism is not just for women. It is for everyone who is marginalized and anyone who can recognize the need for it. So, it was important that my work reflected that and catered towards anyone within that broad spectrum of people.
I struggled to grasp Mirzoeff’s presentation of visual activism and so I would only like to focus on his final point which stuck with me. “Once we have learned how to see the world, we have taken only one of the required steps. The point is to change it.” (Mirzoeff 298). It is all fine to want the world and its people to be better, but nothing is going to change unless we actively do something about it. Making a tee with good intentions is fine but if I do not follow through in my actions then it is pointless. in Feminism, Ben Fagan says.
“And of course you care. And that’s the first step.
I am happy you are a feminist.”
(Fagan 19). I think this promotes exactly what Mirzoeff is saying. Caring is only the first step in a very lengthy and difficult fight. But it is vital if we wish to achieve anything and so we must act on the injustices that we see and experience. Caring alone, is not enough. As scary as it is, I must be vocal in all the work I create if I wish to make a difference in the world.
Personally, I have loved how this assignment has forced me to think about what is important to me and how I can communicate that with others. Being able to do this through any medium I wanted allowed me to think freely and play to my strengths so I lost the feeling of uncertainty I held in the other assessments.
My body houses a solar system.
This second-hand skin has seen the stars.
It has felt the warmth of the sun on every single smile, frown and in-between state.
Galaxies have grown from my fingertips and been erased by hungry black holes.
Astronauts have come into orbit and torn my fabric when they left.
I am the one who stitched it back together.
This solar system is mine.
Levana Textiles: www.levana.co.nz/ and store: http://www.levanafabrics.co.nz/
Ben Fagan: http: http://www.benfagan.nz/
Poetry events in Wellington: www.pim.nz/
Food for Thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5IW401Dz1Q
Fagan, Ben. “Feminism”. Under the Table. PiM Press, 2015. pp 18- 19.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Visual Activism”. How to See the World. Pelican, 2015. pp 289- 298.