On 7 April feminists from CEU Gender studies organized a performance against the commercial (sponsored by P&G, advertisement of washing powder) exhibition “Great innovations for women” at Gödör, which relies entirely on gender stereotypes and makes false assumptions about women’s lives. The open-air exhibition at the very entrance of the club is a collection of giant things such as a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, a bra, a lipstick, pants etc.
The statement of the performers was as follows:
This exhibition relies entirely on gender stereotypes and makes false assumptions about women’s lives by:
- Identifying the washing-machine, vacuum-cleaner, and iron as products designed to fundamentally improve women’s lives, sending the message that women are meant to function primarily in the domestic realm.
- Tagging cleaning as a female chore and perpetuating the idea that women should take on these ‘feminine’ household tasks.
- Displaying products that not all women use, like mascara, lipstick, bras, pantyhose, pantsuits, and hairdryers, further alienating those women and men who choose not to conform to the gender stereotypes associated with appearance.
- Perpetuating the gender stereotype that women should always be perfectly composed in order to earn the respect of a male-dominated society.
- Identifying the pantsuit as the most significant symbol of women’s emancipation, suggesting that women must conform to male norms in order to succeed.
- Inaccurately and disrespectfully associating this exhibition with Women’s Day and arguing that these products have emancipated women. The ongoing struggle for women’s rights has not relied on such consumer products to achieve its goals.
The performance started around 4 with an improvised washing of T-Shirts that contained different sexist statements about women, and general anti-women rights stereotypes. The girls were washing the T-Shirts one after another trying to get rid of the phrases on the T-Shirts for ever.
For this they used a special washing powder 'Feminism'.
When they ran out of the 'dirty' T-Shirts, they offered everyone who was present to write the statements about women that they believe should disappear.
Other participants of the performance were holding banners 'Cosmetics + Domestics does not equal Woman' and 'Brainwash'. They were going around Gödör with these banners and showing them to the passers by and cars and public transport passengers.The random pedestrians showed their interest in the performance, lots of them were supportive. Some tourists took pictures (as usual).
Closer to the end of the performance one far right and nationalist media man called TomCat found the action and came with his camera to film it and to ask stupid questions. He was questioning the right of women to make their choice and wear what they want and look as they want, and not what males and patriarchate society demand from them since ages. After several interviews with the participants of the performance he switched to the open air exhibition itself.
Overall, it was a good performance that attracted public attention to a place of a woman in a society.