Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 3: feminist slogans, actions, t-shirts

Daily Actions and Discussion from TBTT (click here)

Each day, we wear assorted clothes and items from our wardrobes, which can include t-shirts with various trademarks (walking billboards) and/or other messages that we want to convey. Some of us have more agency than others about what we want to wear: social pressures-approval from parents, friends, standards in our countries, our gender-expression, race-ethnicity, class, and even religious beliefs and/or our willingness to draw attention to ourselves also shape what we can wear. In the USA, even the curvy shapes of our clothes can have gender-race/ethnic meanings. Or in Bangladesh and other countries, shawls and baggy kameez & salwar obscure the curves of women's bodies; burkhas cover even more. However, these clothes can hide many forms of resistance and transgressions.

Such clothes make the wearing of t-shirts with mottos and slogans somewhat tricky. Nonetheless, women manage many statements--covered and uncovered--through their t-shirts (diy or bought), chanted slogans in marches and demonstrations, "Hay, ho, patriarchy has got to go!; women united will never be defeated") feminist buttons (click on all buttons for ordering information & items from Peace and/or google for other suppliers or get your own buttonmaker!), and of course, the TBTT's participant generated postcards.

I can trace my own feminist herstory through the feminist-activist t-shirts (and buttons) that I have worn over time: take back the night marches in Iowa City, Iowa and Carbondale, Illinois; Emma Goldman women's clinic (abortion and reproductive services), 1985 anniversary Michigan Women's Music Festival (motto: see you in august!), and one of my own diy: outlaw virgin (based on Marilyn Frye's argument that we need to reclaim the original definition of virgin--a woman in control of herself/body instead of later definitions of "untouched" by a man. This shirt generated many looks and comments at the local mall and my university. Later I translated this into Bangla for people who inquired about my marital status and marriage resisters: "shakti kumari" [strong unmarried virgin woman]. No t-shirts or buttons, however.

I look forward to the generation and proliferation of new slogans in all languages, cultures and formats as we continue to agitate and educate. For example, this t-shirt (and others) that can be purchased from Hijabman:

click on picture for ordering info and more pithy t-shirts

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