Lili is an artist/photographer based in San Francisco and NYC, studying at the Parsons School of Design. She teaches Modern Art history with an emphasis on female artists, and is an art college application advisor.
Pro-femininity Feminism in Art
To prove that women have the same worthiness as men, assimilation has frequently been the easiest course of action in the fight for feminism. This is why we now have things like pantsuits — due to the argument that women can be just like men. Some of the achievements that hae come out of this have been quite beneficial and/or necessary for progress, but unfortunately it has also led to a frequently subconscious, popular belief that masculine traits are the ideal. In the process of proving women have the same abilities as men, "feminine" remained what-not-to-be. Most problematically, femininity is often acknowledged as weak while masculinity is strong; the word "feminine" is still treated as an insult. This collection of artworks I've virtually curated has two main goals regarding femininity from a feminist, pro-femininity perspective: to acknowledge femininity as equal to masculinity, and to develop an understanding of femininity as a set of qualities nonsynonymous with the female gender. Visual feminine traits I will focus on include the color pink, light palettes, flower symbolism, decoration, and a less nameable yet very identifiable sense of elegance.
BAKER-MILLER PINK: SCIENCE OR SEXISM?
This is dedicated to anybody who loves pink or hates pink. In the late 1970s, the United States was in a cultural crisis. Though groundbreaking racial, feminist, sexual, and class movements paved the way for increased equality, rates of drug use and violent crime significantly increased as well. A professor, Alexander G. Schauss, claimed he had a cure: one pint of outdoor semi-gloss red trim paint mixed with one gallon pure white indoor latex paint, otherwise known as P-618, or #FF91AF, or the "pinkest pink" — later, officially named "Baker-Miller Pink." Schauss claimed that this particular shade could calm, lower aggression, and indeed "sap the strength of even the toughest man." You may recognize this color from classic bubblegum or the pepto-bismol pill, but in the 1980s it could be found anywhere; it was a pop culture phenomenon, appearing on bus seats, in the realty market, in drunk tanks, and even in prisons. Schauss' supposedly "proven" hypothesis was that the visual processing of this special color "affect[s] neurological and endocrine functions, which in turn reduce physical strength and thus aggressive behavior." This theory was widely accepted. In fact, the head coach of Iowa State football had Kinnick Stadium's visiting team's locker room painted entirely in the color as an attempt to weaken the other team before big games, leading to a rather strange Western Athletic Conference ruling in the 1990s that home and visiting locker rooms must be painted the same color. People all over believed this color had either supernatural or scientific powers to physically and mentally weaken. But here's the catch — a 1988 study (and several others since then) found zero evidence of a link between the optical processing and visible reactions in exposure to the shade.