Society, to me, is a collective of people who interact with each other based on a common ground: we are all diverse, but inherently we are all human. One human should not be treated differently, let alone worse, from another based on gender, sexuality, or skin color alike. Gender and art have been fundamental pillars of society, as both have existed from the start of civilization.
It is a fact that females in particular have been extremely marginalized among other groups, and many women have exemplified the impactfulness of art in voicing the injustices the female gender has been subject to.Throughout history, women have suffered under the overbearing fist of patriarchy, and have only recently began to gain momentum in earning recognition from speaking out against it. In the past, individual woman, many of whom are still robbed of the credit they deserve, have stood up to these societal injustices only to be met with anything from blatant disregard to horrible abuse. It takes an enormous amount of courage to rise above an inherently flawed system that has relentlessly belittled and disparaged not just an entire gender, but almost every vulnerable minority group, from all people of color to the LGBTQ+ community. Groups like the Guerilla Girls who use “statistics, outrageous statements and humor” to showcase gender disparity in the arts, are a positive force that boldly protest the ways women have been nefariously undervalued through history (The Art of Complaining). The women of this organization add to their mystique by wearing gorilla masks, doubling as a protective measure ro make sure that their personal and professional lives are safe and a fierce/humorous image that makes a statement. They are actively fighting for artists like Angelica Kauffmann and Mary Moser, who despite their amazing talent and righteously earn spots as founding members of the British Royal Academy, were not included in Zoffany’s portrait, The Academicians of the Royal Academy, 1771-1772 (Chadwick 7).
The Guerilla Girls use art, like their statistical posters, exhibitions, and their outward appearance, to not just defend women and minority artists, but to defend the people’s right to keep complaining and make a lasting impact (The Art of Complaining). Other “fierce women of art,” used art to showcase their activism: Corita Kent experimented with silk screening and posters in protesting against the Vietnam War. Linda Benglis dominated her sexuality and image with her edgy photos, poking fun at the “machismo of art and artists who ruled the market” (Fierce Women of Art). Musical artists, like Kathleen Hanna, have pushed the boundaries in their art form to become icons of the feminist. Her entrance into the macho and almost hyper-violent culture of the punk music scene showed that women cannot be held back by societal expectations of female behavior, although she was even assaulted and sexualized on stage. All of these women used art to defend their artistic expression and to defend their gender from a flawed society.