My first example is that of Lama, the 5 year old daughter of a Saudi preacher who was raped, beaten and tortured to death. The preacher agreed to pay the blood money and was let go. This is the type of thing that goes on much to often in Saudi and many countries all over the world. This young girl has received little to no justice for this, and although this is an extreme example of rape culture, it is just that: rape culture. Rape culture in Saudi is U.S. rape culture on steroids, and the result of this system is a lack of interest in women’s issues. Women are taught to keep silent and people are taught to be complacent with this type of violence and domination of women. It creates a hostile environment for women all over the middle east, and it almost sanctions violence and the terrorizing of women. My second example for which I couldn’t find the actual image regards a rape perpetuated by a pizza delivery man. A woman arrived home with groceries and left the door unlocked as she set the kitchen up. A delivery man either noticed the door open a crack or saw her go in without locking it, entered and proceeded to rape her. The comments on the article online and in the news were all centered around how she should’ve locked her doors. That type of response justifies the act and blames the victim. It tells us that we must take all necessary precautions to avoid rape, something that cannot be definitely avoided. The woman continued to receive negative backlash for her “irresponsibility,” and it results in women fearing reporting similar attacks. Images such as these are my 3rd example of rape culture. In the original image, the woman is writing about her rapist and rape encounter. The photoshopped version reads “I was dressed like a whore and got really drunk at a party etc.” This is one of the most detrimental forms of rape culture because it uses the strawman argument to pick at her story and portray the situation as her bringing it upon herself. We often hear people or read articles picking apart a rape story and blaming the victim for regretting the sex and trying to call it rape. The reality is that a majority of rape victims never come forward, and there are more false B&E reports than false rape ones. I am unsure whether this image can be classified as protest art in the US, but in Saudi Arabia this is definitely a form of protest art. This image is one that depicts a topic often swept under the rug: domestic violence against women. It is a powerful image because it has so many layers to it that we can analyze from an artists perspective. First, the veil is significant in that it covers her identity but represents Saudi women. It is only revealing her eyes, with which she saw her attacker. The bruised eye is all we see, but that is not all she has on her body. It is more than likely that her abuse spans throughout her body, and thus we can assume that this image is giving us a glimpse of this situation. It is scary to see these things, and many Saudi’s are angered by these types of images for tarnishing Saudis as well as Islams reputation. Elina Chauvets is an artist in Juarez, Mexico who put red shoes all over the city in response to missing women. She found a connection between shoes and these missing women and went to the streets in order to silently protest these missing women. The fact that she incorporates red into the art allows us to assume violence and sympathize.
This is one of my favorite forms of protest art because it is a great way to reach out to people that use social media (which is how I stumbled onto it). This type of image is one that invokes a personal reaction because it appeals to a variety of individuals of different races and ethnic backgrounds. It touches on religion as we as gender, but the racial messages are quite clear in that they attack stereotyping. I liked that this image used a matter-of-fact approach to make it simple to understand that racism still exists and we need to acknowledge that in order to begin to remedy this.
The activity on Kara Walkers work was one that made me extremely uncomfortable at first. The reason I felt uncomfortable was because I looked at it from an uninformed perspective just as any average person would. It touches on racism in ways that seem timeless, as it appears to be in a much earlier time but brings up current issues. Walkers work invokes an extreme reaction from viewers. My initial feeling was one of insult, as though it somehow affected me.