We Wanted A Revolution

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Life has been a little trash lately. Reading all the reports of Harvey Weinstein’s disgusting behavior made me so angry, but also petrified of the world we live in. As a woman, I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. Because of this feeling, I decided to visit the We Wanted A Revolution: 1965-1985 exhibit at the California African American museum. This exhibit examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism, starting in the 1960s. Second wave feminism addressed a range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities.

One of the pieces that moved me the most was a dress previously worn by Lorraine O’Grady, a Jamaican-American artist that challenged racism and sexism in her work. The dress on display was made out of 180 pairs of white-dinner gloves and included a whip that referenced slave drivers on Southern plantations. She wore this dress while attending a party, where black artists would often present their work. While at the party, she shouted poems of protest against the exclusion of black people from the mainstream art world, specifically in New York, and against black artists who she believed were compromising their identities to do work that was agreeable to white curators and audiences. The piece, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire- a fictional 1950s beauty queen persona was fascinating to see because of its symbolism showing how art can change the world.

I’m so glad that I went. It was humbling to reflect on how resilient black women are, and it was beautiful to see how women came together through their art to convey a message. It reminded me of the women all over the world who have used their social platforms in the past two weeks to tell their stories about sexual abuse using the hashtag, "me too" and holding the abusers accountable using the hashtag, "him though." 

The oppression of women isn't over, and there is work still to be done. We must continue to stand up against all forms of oppression and abuse. Just like Loraine and many others, we must continue to push the status quo. Women are the womb of humanity, and we must be revered and respected as such.

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-Jode-Leigh

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