Monday, February 11, 2008

Whores Not Wars

This is a touchy subject for many people. The imagery invokes many emotions and thoughts and, believe it or not, there are many messages in this design. I'm not going to go breaking it all down for you though, because I don't like what happens when you do that. It's like disecting a passage in a body of literature until it's meaningless, or telling a joke and then explaining the punchline - what's the point? And to be clear - I'm not comparing the design to great works of literature or a joke. I'm just saying, either you get it, or you don't. If you don't, what can I do? I am of the "if you don't like it, don't look at it" way of thinking, and I think war is ineffective and inhumane. I'm not "dissing the troops" or "being unAmerican" by stating my [freedom of speech] opinion or for thinking that prostitution should be legal and that sex work should be regulated like any other service industry job, and so on. I didn't even mean to say that much, but there, I've said it.

In the year [and two months] that I have had a shop on Etsy, I have never, until last week, received an angry message questioning the intentions behind the design. Previously, the only problem most people had with it was the racy image of the scantily clad lady. I expected the possibility that families involved in the military may misunderstand the wording to be negative towards them, which is also not the case. But in the last two weeks, I have had two people contact me via etsy to ask what, exactly, was so "feminist" about the word "whore".

There are many waves of feminism, as there are with things like punk, ska, and so on. There was a movement, the riot grrrls, in the 90s. Look it up? Zines, music, all that. It made a big impact on me, and who I am, and how I feel about stuff. It's why I care about issues and what's happening in the world and the quality of food that I eat and why I read and learn all I can. I also believe in getting people to talk about this stuff, in encouraging thought and radical ideas and brainstorming ideas of how to really change things for the better. It's why I am not satisfied pretending all is well and living the cookie cutter life that society tries to set out for me because I want something more. It's why I don't want to spend the majority of my waking life doing something I loathe.

Anyway, having people ask me about it on etsy and feeling like the EtsyKids group doesn't want me to be part of their team because of my t-shirts makes me question whether I should start a new shop with t-shirts so I don't offend the moms that might buy my toys, or just keep being me and doing what I do.

I have had a mom buy a WNW t-shirt for herself and a basket for her kid. I have had a woman buy a WNW t-shirt to send her husband, a soldier in Iraq, and another one for herself. I never know how someone is going to respond or take it, and that's ok. It is supposed to make you think, but it also makes ME think about people, and how they aren't always as open-minded as I think they should be.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

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