In the early 1990s, as a teenager in the DC area, a punk and an activist going to marches and protests and sit-ins and walk-outs, I was struck by the Barbara Kruger image (on the left) on a zine that was being handed out. I held on to that zine (still have it) and displayed that image everywhere I lived and went. It was a warning, a reminder, and strangely a comfort. That I wasn't alone. That I wasn't crazy.
In 1995, I made an etching of that image and made a series of prints, some in black and white (center), some in color, some with words that I'd heard at "Take Back the Night" rallies like "When ONE woman is raped, EVERY woman feels her fear." I put those etchings up in my dorm room and everywhere I lived. Yeah, that was me as a young adult: with artwork screaming about rape when you walked in.
In 2019, as I prepped for my debut feature film, Acid Test, inspired by my tumultuous #riotgrrrl days, I again turned to that Barbara Kruger image so that I could pass down the message to the next generation. The image on the right was created by Courtney Sandifer and featured in the film as the zine's cover that "Jenny" discovers at her first Riot Grrrl concert.
It's a sad but not surprising turn of events that we are on the cusp of #RoevWade getting overturned, and whatever other infringements planned for women's and people-bearing-a-uterus' bodies. This war has been waged my ENTIRE lifetime, my entire consciousness as a woman is framed around the fact that many question and have the power to govern the decisions about my own body, and that I am not to be trusted with such responsibility.
The level of anger and despair is indescribable.
And yet I also take comfort in the activism of not just my film, but of the films of others.
I was proud to production manage on a PSA about bridging the divide between us. Moving images is THE MOST POWERFUL medium on the planet. If you can get people to watch. If you can get people to identify. It can open minds and change hearts. I'm still hopeful. Just beaten down.
Love to you. Keep up the good fight!