ART. Image Source.
When Alex Bertulis-Fernandes told her male art teacher that she wanted to create a work inspired by the #MeToo Movement he told her to dial down the feminism. The artist responded by making a feminist dial that ranges from ‘complicit in my own dehumanisation’ to ‘raging feminist’. Genius.
The artwork went viral when Bertulis-Fernandes shared it on Twitter because basically every women has been there.
Last week one of my art teachers suggested I ‘dial down the feminism.’ Today I showed him my newest piece: pic.twitter.com/VrnB4oJ8Cz
— AlexBertulisFernande (@alexbertanades) February 7, 2018
Speaking with Dazed, Bertulis-Fernandes said she initially planned to ditch the feminist concept in order to appease her teacher.
“I’m not a particularly confident person – it doesn’t take a lot to rattle me. As a creative, I spend a lot of time second-guessing my work, wondering if I’m communicating in the best way possible,” she explained. “I’m also, at heart, a massive people-pleaser – it’s something I’m slowly beginning to unlearn. So when my teacher suggested I ‘dial down the feminism’, my first thought was, ‘How can I make my work more palatable to others?’”
But, lucky for us, she decided to stop trying to please others and think about herself for once!
“In the days following, I realised that I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be more palatable to others and that it’s not been a particularly rewarding experience. I also recognised that it would be spectacularly ironic if I chose not to create a feminist work because a man advised against it. So I decided to do it anyway.”
You go girlfried!
The teacher who poopooed the original concept has also been forced to admit that it was actually a good idea.
“He hasn’t come back to me to apologise, but I’m not expecting him to. Whilst I didn’t agree with his opinion, he’s very much entitled to it – just as I’m entitled to respond to it. When I showed him the piece he actually seemed to like it. He looked sheepish, but then laughed and said he was glad he’d helped inspire the piece,” Bertulis-Fernandes said. “I had support from other classmates, both at the time and since the piece went viral. I think it helps that most of them are women.”
Bertulis-Fernandes added that she thinks the work has been so popular because a) it’s relatable and b) it’s a funny story.
“I believe there are two reasons behind it. Firstly, I think the piece resonates with everyone, particularly women, who have at one point or another been told to ‘dial it down’. This might be their ambition, their outspokenness – anything,” she said.
“I also think the context I gave the piece contributed to its popularity. Everybody can relate to being asked to do something they don’t want to do, particularly by someone in a position of power. It’s an incredible feeling when you’re able to say no, but people don’t always feel in a position to. I felt able to say no, and I was able to do it in a way that poked fun at what I was being asked to do. It’s a satisfying narrative.”