The Guerrilla Girls Breaking Barriers With Punch Lines

1832 words - 8 pages

This investigation will examine a few key works by the anonymous female artist group know in popular culture as the Guerrilla Girls. In this essay it will reveal several prominent themes within the groups works that uncover the racial and gender inequalities in politics, art and pop culture with the use of humor. These collaborating artists work and operate with a variety of mediums, their works display a strong message concerned with activism connected by humor allowing the Guerrilla Girls to communicate and resonate a more powerful message to the viewer. The ways in which this collaborating group has employed many questions and facts against the hierarchy and historical ideologies which ...view middle of the document...

Men use the word “girl” to demean and to instill the superiority and hierarchy of man, in a way the Guerrilla Girls are reclaiming it for their own message for all women to be empowered and reunited women against such a dominant masculine hegemonic culture. Language is such a huge part of how individuals connect and relay ideas to one another where women are often devalued because of society’s assumption that women’s capabilities are inferior when compared to men. Women in the art world may have reclaimed the term “girl” but I believe that the Guerrilla Girls were the most influential for women to evolve and redefine the meaning of “girl” as it is reflected in the view of society. Some will still argue that the world still carries some negative implications, although I don’t believe the word conveys such a discriminatory message as it once did before the 1980’s.
Even though there has not been any deep meaning behind why they chose gorilla masks to cover up the artists true identity it has been a major trade mark in the groups identity. The members revolt against normal perceived ideals of beauty and sexuality in our culture. They wear high heels, short skirts and fishnet stockings with the signature gorilla mask which in result disrupt the heterosexual perceptions of the audience. “The mix of masks and jungle drag allows the Guerrilla Girls to go wild with the strictures that have defined women in direct relation to their bodies and "natural instincts." 2 Which is explained by author Demo that this is an agent used by the group to reclaim their own sexuality and identity no matter what institutions define beauty as. Women are constantly subjected to being exploited in media, art and society to assume and assimilate to the preconceived gender roles. The masks worn by the group vary in the animalistic features as some are more aggressive with fangs drawn with and a wide snarling mouth to a more softer and comical gorilla portraying laughter. The way the group consistently portrays itself with their contradictory outfits allows the Guerrilla Girls to develop their own comical image by breaking down these barriers set in place to objectify women in art. With their revolutionary view and representation it works as an element to incite and provoke audiences to take notice of what and who the Guerrilla Girls are.
The group had problems identifying one another individually in interviews and publications so they adopted the names of great deceased female artists such as Kollwitz, Thomas, Carriera, Kahlo, De Burgos, and Hoch. As quoted by Chave in her recent article “not only in their appeals to principles of equality, but also, say, in their gesture of adopting the names of deceased female artists as aliases, a gambit tacitly corroborating feminist art historians' early efforts to rehabilitate forgotten careers.” 3 In a very satirical way the Guerrilla Girls have been able to preserve and promote these famous women who have be left out of the...

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