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Fuck Yeah, Birth Control by Shellie Lewis

February 16, 2011

Fuck Yeah, Birth Control by Shellie Lewis, 24” x 24”

I love how I show this painting to my friends or describe it, and they respond in the affirmative: “Fuck yeah.”  I like how that phrase is even in common usage as a consistently positive affirmation.  In person, the center text is so closely matched to the background color, you can barely see it.  A friend felt this was like birth control itself, you cannot see who is using it or not; the pill is invisible.

If anything has improved the lives of women remarkably, it has to be the pill.  It is easy to use and allow women to fuck and sometimes marry guys who later turn out to be asshats or losers without having to be chained to a two decades of child rearing as a consequence.  If a woman decides to start a family, she can do it on her own time line.  Access to this prescription is not equal and can be a struggle in certain parts of the country or even on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.  The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti is an excellent book that maps out sexism in gender values ascribed to women and current political forces that shape American policies reinforcing the sexism described.

This assemblage exists on a personal and autobiographical level, it is a response to a book and it has a third level of being a response to a color. Besides having an endless array of shades of pink jammed down the throats of women and girls as “ours”, the next most “feminine” color of all must be pastel yellow.  The array of products and marketing that reinforces this is abundant.  I sometimes wonder why the pastel yellow, rather than lavender or some other shade, is so dominant as the second-most “feminized” color.  Maybe someone in commercial marketing research felt pastel yellow was the best choice to use as a communication of both “feminine” and “cheerful”; or this is an example of the arbitrary nature of assigning meaning in semiotics.

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