I have been meaning to write up a blog… Last week, but since then there has been so much going on. Anyway, back to this blog about this wall. On the evening of August 21st, I alongside a group of local artists and activists worked until 4am creating a masterpiece of a wall on 11th and Pine… The message was simple. We, the people, are tired of the everyday violence and oppressive tactics used against women, and all oppressed and underprivileged people for that matter. The list of inspiration/reasons are literally endless: CeCe McDonald, Trayvon Martin, Pussy Riot, Romney, Todd Akin, Danny Chen, etc.
The main message: “WOMEN OF THE WORLD ARE UNDER ATTACK BY LEGISLATORS, THE MEDIA, MEN ON THE STREET, POLICE/THE COURTS, OUR COMMUNITIES, AND OURSELVES. FEMINISM IS NOT DEAD. IT IS OUR LIFE LINE. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CALL PEOPLE OUT ON THEIR SEXIST, RACIST, ABLIST* (supposed to be ableist, many apologies for misspelling, I was rushing), HOMOPHOBIC, AGEIST, THINIST, CLASSIST, TRANSPHOBIC BULLSHIT. STAND UP… FIGHT BACK!”
We wheat pasted a hundred sheets of feminist symbol and pink pages of hand-written responses of why social justice/feminism matters. As we were working, we drew in many curious spectators and pedestrians and encouraged them to participate. We wanted it to be interactive so we included blank sheets of paper and tied crayons to the wall so that more community members could add to it. Some people even came back hours later just to see our finished product. With the amount of unexpected thanks given to us, it was apparent that it was really getting people to think, not only about the livelihoods and oppressions of others but their own roles in which the system operates. Ultimately, that was our mission. We tagged it Grrrl Army.
Less than 6 hrs later Poster Giant, a local corporation known for its ruthless bullying tactics and history of covering up artwork/murals all over town, chose to cover over 2/3 of our project, including our main message despite free space two walls down. Their posters are for PAX Prime, a gamer convention scheduled to happen at the Washington State Convention Center starting August 31st - September 2nd, which has been sold out for MONTHS.
I’ll spare the details of the “war” we’ve started against Poster Giant, but in the words of xunlearnx:
“this is not about poster giant or their tactics, after all they are only one small part of a culture that attempts (and far too often, succeeds) in silencing women, queers, people of color, trans folks, and many many more people who feel the weight of oppression daily. We will not be silenced. Ever.”
“Grrrl army was not created- it birthed itself from the frustration and dedication of normal people who believe in real change. Grrrl Army is a material backlash to burn-outs and shit-talkers that have shelved their energies. Grrrl army is YOU.”
Grrrl Army is…
You, the anti-racist,
You, the feminist,
You, the survivor,
You, who believes in free speech and freedom,
You, who won’t stand for inequalities,
You, who won’t stand for bullying and harassment.
You, who disproves of catcalling,
You, who calls out your fellas when they say a bunch of oppressive bullshit,
You, who consciously refuses to use descriptive identity adjectives as negative discriminatory statements,
You, who believes that everybody has a right to feel safe and have their physical and emotional boundaries respected.
You, who believes in a world where legislators and political leaders should have responsibilities to ALL PEOPLE and not just the wealthy,
You, who understands that gender policing is wrong,
You, who is tired of racial profiling,
You, who is tired of color/gender-blindness,
You, who is tired of rape culture,
You, who is against police brutality,
You, who tolerate others even though their faiths may not necessarily align with yours,
You, who don’t identify yourself as a feminist but stands for all of these things and more,
You, who not only see oppressive systemic forces at play but constantly and consciously check your own sets of privileges and how they contribute to the system,
You, who will not be silenced,
You, who will get out there in November and VOTE,
YOU ARE GRRRL ARMY.