By Georgia Spence
Horrified by the ongoing issues women face, one student turned a university project into a feminist campaign.
Lockdown was a time of reflection for everyone. I was a second year student when the pandemic began and this ‘pause’ allowed me to analyse my time as a woman at university.
I looked back at my time in clubs when men would leer or not take no for an answer, only leaving you alone when you claimed to have a boyfriend. Increased time on social media was also an eye-opener. Women are shamed for celebrating their own bodies, by men who will later consume hours of porn.
I realised that women are a man’s commodity – something to be used and looked at rather than respected. This is when my project was born.
As a graphic design student, I wanted to create pieces of art that celebrated women’s over-sexualised bodies. I took nude images of women who wanted to normalise the natural form and destroy the ‘male gaze’ and began printing the images in lino and stickers.
This university work expanded and through lockdown on our daily walks, I posted the stickers on advertisement boards across Hyde Park. They gained traction and I saw them being posted on social media accounts.
I decided to create a campaign: ‘Fu** ur male gaze’. I will be selling bags and t-shirts on Etsy in which the proceeds will go to feminist charities such as Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM). Art normalising the natural female form will be popping up around Leeds and my brand ‘Fu** ur male gaze’ will be printed in Headingley’s alley known for sexual harassment.
When Sarah Everard was murdered, it was a further example of the lengths that we as women are going to have to go to in order to achieve equality and respect. I hope my campaign will help to do this.
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