Why Aren’t “Women Street Artists” Just “Street Artists”?
Posted by: Caroline Caldwell
The following is an excerpt from a March 10, 2015 article by Caroline Caldwell on Hyperallergic.com
As a young woman and an emerging artist with a connection to street art, I am trying to understand my identity within the artsphere. Lately, the onslaught of the “10 Best Women Street Artists”-type articles has made the difference between being an “artist” and being a “woman artist” a potent source of inner-conflict. I feel like I’m supposed to like those articles and feel empowered or something. Maybe it’s because I attend one of those progressive, crunchy-granola liberal arts schools that recognizes gender as a spectrum (which, for the most part, just means removing the “male” “female” indications from bathrooms). But the underlying message in these female-centric articles feels as silly to me as the advertisements for Nerf guns marketed specifically to girls. It’s like saying, “it’s okay for you to like this now, there’s a flower on it.” I don’t want to read another article that says “women can do this too!” but lacks an understanding of the larger social issues connected to the gender imbalance in street art. Clearly the drive to see women succeed is there, and this press is well-intended. But what we need is broader systemic change for women on the whole before we start seeing the effects of that in street art.
What are your thoughts on being categorized as a woman artist? Share your thoughts below and let us know.
Caroline Caldwell is an artist, writer, and student based in New York City. She writes for the street art blog Vandalog, and attends Sarah Lawrence College.
Click here to visit her site.
Portrait by Erica Rose Levine