The Necessity of Feminist Voices in Radical Visual Culture

by Lauren Denitzio

Meredith Stern, "Safe Sex is Hot"

As a radical and as a feminist, it is tempting to assume that those around me are all “on the same page” or equally aware of the certain privileges we each possess or the conditioning and historical disadvantages we have experienced.  As an artist and illustrator it is tempting for me to assume that my audience is comfortable with anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, and sex positive themes.  Despite sporting the “radical” or “left-wing” label, these groups – whose members I consider friends and colleagues – are not exempt from the necessity of challenging our views on gender, patriarchy, and other feminist issues.  I have started to examine the ways in which visual resistance is used by feminist voices within these groups and how prevalent, or not, certain issues have become in radical circles.

Sandra Campbell, in her essay Creating Redemptive Imagery, makes valuable observations concerning the role of the individual in shaping what is acceptable representations of power structures and violence against women in visual culture.  She calls on individuals to make it their responsibility to discuss how the representation of these establishments in the media can affect change.  She then states that “by doing this we will lead the way to the establishment of structures and supports for artists and others in our cultural industries to develop, to market, and to disseminate a wide range of alternatives.”  It is the range of alternatives, the expression of another world where patriarchal power structures do not exist, that needs to be creatively represented if the popular mindset is going to shift to its favor. Continue reading “The Necessity of Feminist Voices in Radical Visual Culture”