From the likes of Donald Trump to Bill Clinton, 37 politicians have been put on blast by having their disgraceful quotes about women published on a mural.
Artists Zoë Buckman and Natalie Frank created a 30-foot long mural titled, We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident, which can be viewed at the New York Live Arts. The mural highlights appalling public remarks about women’s bodies and rights that were made by politicians throughout the years.
Donald Trump featured prominently due to the extensive amount of misogynistic comments he made throughout his life in the spotlight. The most intense comment being the “grab her by the pussy” that was made during a conversation with Billy Bush.
It was at this point that Buckman and Frank decided to react to the long line of discriminatory comments that political figures have made throughout history.
37 statements about women, all brought to you by elected officials of the United States government. #weholdthesetruthstobeselfevident is up! Opening is Feb 13th 6-8 at @nylivearts by @nataliegwenfrank and @zoebuckman …this work is triggering and we are providing a folder of resources for those effected by these statements, along with a list of the full quotes and contexts. #zoebuckman #nataliefrank #mural #oldboysclub
In an interview, Zoe and Natalie spoke of their motivations.
“Natalie and I have been talking for months about the mass of upsetting statements made about women and women’s bodies during the election process. This research-based mural project is about the cumulative effects of negativity, hate, and the abandonment of science that has completely bewildered us, on women and girls.”
The mural focuses on many different types of discriminatory remarks that are definitely enraging and utterly disgusting like the quote from Clayton Williams, “Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”
Buckman continued to state in her interview with The Creators that
“There’s a real lack of basic understanding of the female body and the reproductive system. We wanted to find a way to make a statement that’s not just arresting but also hopefully quite exciting and aesthetic because beauty and art is our currency.”
We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident is an interesting title, which was taken from The Declaration of Independence Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” delivered at the first women’s rights convention in New York.
The background of the mural is comprised of an old boys’ club of white men sitting around a conference table, which is evocative imagery of the patriarchal nature of American politics.
The forefront of the mural is where viewers can divulge and assess the numerous shocking quotes from people like Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, and Ted Kennedy. These quotes each correspond with a number key to reveal who is in fact saying the quote, hence contextualizing the words and providing faces to the disgust.
Buckman and Frank make it clear from their first quote that they are not holding back, and hence are making it clear that these misogynistic statements have been made and are continuing to be made.
“Some girls, they rape so easy,” is the starting quote, which was made by former Wisconsin State Assembly representative, Roger Rivard, who said his father warned him that women fabricate rape allegations. This highlights the overarching theme of America’s pervasive rape culture that is shown throughout the mural.
“I think this is about saying to women, we hear you,” explained Buckman. “We want to give you agency. If you been grabbed, if you been raped, if you been objectified in the workplace, or scored on a scale, we want you to know we hear you and we need to join together.”
The quotes were made by powerful men, as well as women, in a society that constantly belittles women’s rights to make choices about their bodies, families, futures, and rights to protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances.
“I want this project to start a conversation about responsibility,” explained Buckman. “Particularly in the way we raise our children. I am incredibly concerned right now about the messages the next generation is going to grow up to receive … I really want the conversation to be about accountability and [for] people who aren’t having these conversations to recognize the vastness of these statements and realize how language feeds into actions and ideology.”
If you live in or around New York, go check out this badass installation!