Thursday, 10 February 2011

More Marais

It's taken me a while to get around to writing this, but last Wednesday I went to the Photos Femmes Féminisme exhibition, which was in a small hotel particulier in the Marais. I was at a loose end following the cancellation of my afternoon lessons, so texted Sarah seeing if she felt like doing something; what followed was a happy afternoon of excellent coffee in my new favourite café in the Marais, visiting the exhibition, discussing feminism and other things of importance, and then wandering the streets before heading back to the café and reading together in companionable solitude. Paris, je t'aime. 

The exhibition was eclectic and brillliant. There were lots of and lots of photo portraits of accomplished women throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; not all of them were particularly involved with the feminist movement, it was just nice to see a rebuff to that old misogynist argument about women not having acheived anything throughout the history of humankind. In the spirit of that, I took a self-portrait of my own. It's a shadow, cause, you know, it's like, symbolic? Of... how I haven't acheived anything yet. Or something. I don't really know why I took it. 

What followed were photos, videos, posters and memorabilia from the French feminist movement of the 70's. I'd forgotten how much I love learning about the women's movement. Even including the misguided who don't see feminism's continuing relevance, surely we can all agree that the history of womens' liberation is inspiring, powerful, and just generally really fucking cool. Part of me wishes I could have been there in the 70s; organising marches and consciousness-raising groups, singing in the streets with the MLF (mouvement pour la liberation des femmes). But then another part of me remembers how much worse it was then, and how much inequality it took to spark that anger, and I think that perhaps I'm idealising that time. But in any case, I feel so proud of how much these women struggled against, and it makes me want to be a worthy heir of the movement.

I took a few photos of some of my favourite posters and photos, with translations underneath.

 International march of women for freedom of maternity: freely available and free contraception and abortion. 

I love the pregnant Statue of Liberty, excellent concept.


THE RIGHT TO WORK. Housewives: register at the ANPE.

Education without discrimination.

We condemn nationalism, ethnic purification, and the use of the female body as political territory.

La lutte continue.


  1. I would like to see the exhibition, you describe it so well. Love the posters, thanks for the translations. The shadow is not a self portrait - there is no face. Don't look down at your shadow, you may miss something........laska

  2. Just to say I came by, read, and enjoyed... (and am also fond of cats, as you appear to be),

    Harry Happenstance