This evening Cora and I attended our first SheFest event of the week, the Fighting Talk exhibition at 35 Chapel Walk.
Just to give a little context on the exhibition …
‘Fighting Talk responds to the centenary of some women gaining the right to vote with a 21st century perspective. By drawing attention to contemporary protest, the exhibition will draw attention to inequalities that still need to be overcome world wide. In 2018, what are we fighting for?’
The premise of the exhibition is similar to the Sheffield Feminist Archive’s own agenda in creating a centenary event based on ‘Looking Back to Look Forward’, so it was good to gather some creative inspiration!
First up, a talk by Davin Watne and Dawn Woolley on that complex ever changing word, feminism. They introduced the concept of ‘Freedomination’ which explores the problematic relationship between liberation and objectification that contemporary consumer culture produces. One of their memorable examples was the Dove ad campaigns. An underlying narrative around good health through beauty is reproduced as a consequence of ads like these.
“The freedom to consume has become a pervasive form of oppression.”
Their words had a transformative effect; brands that I had considered as representative of liberated women were scrutinised, their use of feminism as a marketing tool was exposed. The talk then took an interesting turn as the speakers’ voices crossed over one another. They literally became voices fighting to be heard. And so, as I stood listening to these speakers, no longer aware of the detail of their words, all that remained was the fact that they were exercising their freedom of speech. It became about form rather than content. The form: a manifestation of fighting talk.
We also took some time looking at the various exhibits.
From left to right: First row Holly Searle, This Women’s Work; Sarah Pennington, as part of Revolution in a Teacup; Holly Searle, Little Red Riding Hood’s Revenge; Pilar Morales Caamano, Migrant Women are Pro Choice My Body My Choice. Second row Linda Pearl Izan, What does a WOMAN have to do to be BELIEVED?’; Holly Rozier, Susan; Leticia Diogo, Women rights. Third row Liticia Diogo, Womens rights; Hard Stop (David Watne and Dawn Woolley), Freedomination Soapbox Protest Performance.
All in all a successful evening and we even managed to grab something to take away as a potential addition for the archive. One SheFest event done. Three to go!
If you’re interested in visiting the exhibition, admission is free and it is accessible 11am-4pm daily before 15th March.