Last week Louisiana became the fourth American State to pass an anti-abortion law. These reactionary laws have the common ground of stripping women of their right to decide about their bodies. It seems like women’s reproductive rights are under attack once again along with many other human rights we had thought we would no longer needed to fight for.
In this context, the work of Conceptual Artist and activist, Barbara Kruger, seems more current than ever. Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground !!!) was created as a poster for the 1989 Washington Women’s March in support of the right of women to choose. The stereotypical idea of beauty, displayed by the woman in the black and white picture staring directly towards us, puts this representation in the context of male-gaze driven, patriarchal society. The text addresses the viewer directly. Like in all Krueger’s art, text is used to inject meaning back into the image. It subverts the endless flow of images without a message that is mass media advertising and uses it for the opposite goal: the highlight of social injustice. The surface is then split in two, to highlight the fight for gender equality; a battle that Krueger believes is far from over. The result is a punch to the viewer’s eye: they are no longer perceiving this image as a beautiful woman but instead are forced to acknowledge the feminist struggle as an ongoing issue of society.
© Barbara Kruger
Going back to the U.S. and to this blog’s subject, which is animation, Hollywood reacted to these legislations with a call to boycott these states and Disney, Netflix and other big names of the industry are now threatening to stop their ongoing productions there.