I Dare You

IS agent JK
GROUP SIZE: Approximately 238,035,525
NATURE OF GROUP: English speaking Women of the Earth

Grace Kelly, Ellen, Jacky-O, Frieda Khalo, and Jennifer Hudson

The word cunt is often seen as a vulgar, harsh, disgusting way to put a woman down. (The Urban Dictionary definition of cunt.) This word has acquired a power all it’s own that is intended to hurt the women it’s directed at. Most of us just call it “the c word” feeding into the hold this four letter word has against emotions and self worth. It’s no secret that if a man wants to put a women in her place or emotionally hurt her, all he as to do is call her a cunt. This word above all others, above bitch, hoe, tramp, etc. holds such a power over a majority of women and this has to stop. It is another way to create the gap between the sexes, to “knock us down a peg or two” – a battle all too familiar for women.

Women’s rights have been in the spotlight for quite some time now. A major example of this is the ERA, or Equal Rights Amendment, which was put up to congress in 1972  but not ratified by the states, expired in 1982, and has yet to be put back up for a vote. The ERA was supposed to give equal pay to men and women along with other ways to make the sexes equal. Women’s rights have been an uphill battle since we were given the right to vote – long before the ERA was proposed. From unequal treatment in the workplace, to the idea that we shouldn’t be able to make decisions about our own bodies, this issue seems to never get resolved and is pushed back into the recesses of society. That is until the idea of women’s rights becomes useful, like in times of a presidential election.

Katie Couric inviting you to Forever 21 at the mall.

The concept of I Dare You is to draw attention to this lack of equality, to the power we are giving away. Allowing anyone to use a word to emotionally harm us is something we have control over. In order to get this idea across I choose to use the desensitization approach, place the word on women of all types, shapes, color, and political stances, but all iconic, and make it big. In order for this approach to make the biggest impact possible and evoke emotion from the viewer., it needed to be bold and in your face. The variety of women selected for the posters is diverse. Some of them might be described as a cunt by some and not by others and vice versa. The idea behind this is to get the viewer to think “why would I call Hillary Clinton a cunt, but not Zooey Deschanel?” The dialogue that is created is the first step in realizing that cunt is just a word. If women can take that power back from the word, it can no longer be used to keep us in the box society has placed us in.

Through this project I hope to bring attention to many things; the power a word has that it shouldn’t, gender issues and roles, as well as problems in society. By creating a dialogue between the message of the posters and the public that views them, I am hoping to make a difference in how women view their own worth. Your importance cannot be determined by your sex, your self esteem cannot be hindered by a word, and your worth as a person should have nothing to do with your anatomy. Far too often successful women are labeled by the people underneath them, or they aren’t taken seriously, however, there is no male equivalent to the word cunt, and if you call a man that, it doesn’t hold the same power.

Hello Barbara Walters!

The beauty of language is we are able to make it grow and change as our society does. Words that once held heavy weight, such as whore, or bitch, no longer hold that same power. As a society, we have taken those words and desensitized them, made them less threatening. The origin of the word cunt “quna” in several African languages was used to identify a woman as a queen. In other parts of the world today the word cunt  it isn’t seen as bad at all. It’s used in New Zealand and Australia to describe a person as stupid, and in Britain it may be used with a positive qualifier such as good or funny. The cunt is a part of female anatomy, nothing bad about it at all. However, in American society today it is seen as the most derogatory word a woman can be called and labeled as the only word left to still cause genuine shock when used and is called a vulgar word.

Women have the capability to choose to not let this word hold this power. We can take it back and take away the negative connotations it has developed and make it a word of the past, one that no longer shocks and offends people. This poster campaign is my way of contributing to this movement and the movement of gender equality.

~ IS agent JK

Documentation of thIS wheat-pasting spree was first exhibited at Render in Denver Colorado, on idareyou-21 and was on display at iSFair 2O12.

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