image: Tumana/Shutterstock Proud feminist art artist

This Artist Was Asked to “Dial Down the Feminism” in Her Work. She Was All, “NOPE.”

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London-based artist Alex Ruth Bertulis-Fernandes is currently “studying for a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, specialising in Visual Communication and Moving Image” according to her website. A mere cursory glance at her work will reveal how unapologetically feminist she is. Most people might consider a strong point of view an asset in an artist. Not Bertulis-Fernandes’ art teacher, apparently.

As you can see in the tweet above, one of her (male, obvi) teachers suggested that she “dial down the feminism” in her work. She created the above piece in response. Because, here’s the thing, artists are supposed to say stuff. If you “dial down” the thing you’re trying to say … you’re not being an artist anymore.

One would think an art teacher would be aware of that. Dude, don’t prove the (wildly inaccurate) saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach,” right.

While it’s surprising that an art teacher would have a response like that to feminist work, it’s less surprising that the internet would. Since, as we all know, feminism (like being anti-racist) is a “political opinion” (and not, as some extremists would have you believe, a sign of being a decent human being), there were many out there in the Twitterverse calling for a more “balanced” approach to Bertulis-Fernandes’ work and views.

Um, there is no being a “compassionate human being” without being a feminist. There just isn’t. If you don’t believe that women are equal to men, you’re not compassionate. Full stop. Also, believing women are equal to men isn’t a “political ideology” the same way as being fiscally conservative or liberal is. We’re talking about whether or not a certain group should be treated like full human beings. If you’re thinking of feminism as a “political ideology” as opposed to just a desired state of being, you don’t get to claim compassion.

Except that there’s no going “halvsies” on rights. You either have them, or you don’t. You’re either a full human being and citizen, or you’re not. “Middle grounds” are for arguments about literature, not arguments about the subjugation of human beings.

Hey Miles, there’s nothing “rational” about not being angry about sexism. Unless, of course, you’re a sexist. Then it makes absolute sense.

*sigh*

Thankfully, there were plenty of people on Twitter who totally get it:

And my personal favorite:

And now, I will close this out with one of Bertulis-Fernandes’ other unabashedly feminist pieces that is relevant to our other interests here at TMS:

Thank you for your art, Ms. Bertulis-Fernandes. And by all means, you keep that feminism turned up to eleven.

(via The Daily Dot, featured image: Tumana/Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.