Gorillas and Girls

Of course, I was perturbed when two Gorilla masked figures made their way down the aisles offering the audience bananas, however if their intention was to capture my attention - they succeeded.

The Guerrilla Girls say of themselves “We’re feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman.”

Going by the pseudo names of Frida Kahlo and Käthe Kollwitz, two of the founding members of Guerrilla Girls are unashamed Feminists and activists. Donning gorilla masks is the Guerrilla Girls method of attracting attention to their cause and provoking a reaction from the mainstream. They've had successes but also disappointments, but their message was clear “change doesn’t just happen – you have to make it happen”. They  have committed themselves to a cause for twenty-five years and that may not be achieved in their lifetime.

They provided me with much needed motivation, the last few years working with gender and sexuality has been discouraging, disconcerting and depressing. The realisation of how strong and how entrenched is the resistance to equality has left me at times emotionally drained and questioning the effectiveness of any action that I could pursue.

While I am not the gorilla mask type, I was encouraged by their words “Invent your own way of being an activist” and their tireless assault on patriarchy and continuing to stand up and call themselves “Feminists” in times when the word is so misunderstood. 

Photograph: Mwila Agatha Zaza; Guerrila Girls 

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