July 31, 2020

What makes a feminist?

Kate Steenhauer | Maria Sappho, 25 | Professor Dubravka Pokrajac, 62

Audio-visual productionThe making of a feminist, 2020

During lockdown I read ’Invisible Women’, a book by Caroline Perez exposing data bias in a world designed for men. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and media, it reveals how half of the population is ignored, often with disastrous consequences. These data biases are heightened in times of conflict, natural disasters, and pandemics, when women’s lives are disproportionality affected by higher risk of infection, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. COVID-19 demonstrates society’s inequality ‘beautifully’, not just for women but any minority. The ‘logic’ of our imbalanced society is in turn amplifying disparity by also informing the ‘intelligence’ of our computer algorithms. ‘The making of a feminist’ captures a figure battling with ‘intelligence’ governing her world, yet also with her internal conflict towards embracing feminism. In quarantine I used for the first time myself as life-model creating 125 drawings. The sound composition enhances the domesticity of lockdown commenting on the associations of so-called women’s chores. Thinking of major self-imposed dangers facing humanity a more balanced or women-only leadership is much better suited, for choosing and promoting collective rather than competitive effort. The way female-led governments have tackled COVID-19 is a good demonstration of how that would work.