Guerrilla Girls call bullshit on Pharrell

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The Guerrilla Girls, an all-female anonymous feminist artist collective, were invited to form part of an exhibition at the Galerie Perrotin in Paris called   G I R L S, curated by pop singer Pharrell himself which opened on Tuesday. The show claims to “celebrate women who are above all free, liberated by artists and their boundless, unfettered imagination”.

The show is no doubt another of Pharrell’s attempts to distance himself from the controversy surrounding his “rapey” song, Blurred Lines, released in 2013. He attempted to do the same in his latest Oprah Winfrey interview , in which he waffled on and on about how “women are the creator” and that he truly meant no harm by his song, and feminists everywhere just misread him.  Sure Pharrell. Whatever you say.

The Guerrilla Girls accepted his invitation but insisted on exhibiting two new posters they had created. Pharrell, to his detriment, said yes. This is one of their posters in Pharrell’s exhibition:

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Burn. That Pharrell, is what you call getting owned. As the Guerrilla Girls said on their website, “After watching lots of [Pharrell’s] videos we had a question for Pharrell: why DO WOMEN HAVE TO BE NAKED TO GET INTO MUSIC VIDEOS WHILE 99% OF THE GUYS ARE DRESSED? We did a remix one of our classic posters with a still from Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines”.

If you are not familiar with the Guerrilla Girl’s work, they have been around since the 1980s and have dedicated the majority of their work and activism to pointing out how art institutions perpetrate racism and sexism. The remix of a classic poster they spoke to above is pictured below:

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Naturally the Guerrilla Girls also turned their razor sharp wit to Galerie Perrotin with this poster:

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As the Guerrilla Girls astutely point out on their website “Sure, 50% of the artists in the G I R L exhibition are women, but since 2010 only 13% of solo exhibitions have been by women artists. We grafittied one of our early posters to show that not much has changed: BUS COMPANIES ARE STILL MORE ENLIGHTENED THAN ART GALLERIES”.

Ah, Pharrell. At least he has included some serious female heavy hitters in his show G I R L, who are women (not girls) such as Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, and Sarah Lucas. But he has failed to maintain gender equality in something aimed to celebrate women; of the 37 artists in the show 18 are female and 19 are male.

The issues with the show do not stop there; the decision to include fashion photographer Terry Richardson is baffling. Richardson’s image of a slice of a girl’s abdomen from belly button to upper thigh, a chocolate heart dangling in front of her vagina with the words “Eat Me” scrawled in pink alone is enough to undermine the show’s feminist theme. Then add in the fact that Richardson is facing widespread allegations of sexual assault and is known, as The Guardian suggested, as a “loathsome sexual predator”, then the message of female power in this show come to a screeching halt.

Really, Pharrell? You thought including this asshole was a good idea?

When journalist Sarah Moroz confronted Pharrell about his decision to include Richardson, he said “He has his own expression … What we were trying to accomplish with this project was to house many different facets of women,” then bizarrely went on to say, “Just because you’re a good girl doesn’t mean you don’t have naughty thoughts.” This is not the first time Pharrell has used this line to defend and justify his questionable, sexist actions. He said the exact same thing verbatim to Oprah in his previously mentioned interview when she questioned him in relation to writing, and then performing, the song Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke. A song that uses non-consensual language such as “I know you want it”, while half-naked girls dance around both men – who of course, are fully clothed.

My God, sometimes Pharrell should just not speak. No matter how much Pharrell tries to deny his obvious sexism – something to which he is completely blind, he never seems to miss an opportunity to say or do something stupid that is further proof of his own misogyny.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. As a senior who still thinks the best music was written in the 17-18th centuries, I have no idea who Pharrell is, but he looks like a silly little man in a funny hat.

  2. Forgot to add, I wouldn’t change from the progress of feminism today for ANY reason. Go girls.

  3. There are some things in this world that are so useless and worthless that one wonders why anyone with even a suggestion of a brain would get involved.
    This story is about one of those things. What a load of senseless crap.

    • I am a practicing artist, and I find art engaging and interesting and I find celebrity culture pretty fascinating if you find all of this senseless crap, why did you read the article? The title told you exactly what it was about.

    • So a man tells women that an issue which is important to them is useless and worthless, and wonders why anyone would get involved.

      Nice one Barry. Your misogyny is showing loud and clear.

      • @Lara pretttty much, I get the stuff I write for this site really diviates from most of the content but, these are the things I am interested in. I did 5 years of art school and I am really interested in celebrity culture it dominates so much of many peoples likes, may as well critique that shit.

        • Hey Chloe I’m a bit late to the party, so hope you see this. Good post, you should do more of the same, particularly on why mainstream pop culture continues to normalise sexual exploitation & misogyny.

          A lot of people go on about stupid song Blurred Lines yet few have really commented (from what I can see) on why it was so offensive. Including those Auckland Law Students who did that awesome parody.

          Pharrel wrote & rapped the lines “Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you. So hit me up when you pass through
          I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”.

          THIS is what pissed off all women around the world who had an ounce of basic comprehension re sexual violence. It is this that got the rape support groups up in arms yet everyone seems to have bypassed this & focus on the misogyny….or not even that. I was amazed that Ellen had those two tossers on her show.

          The misogyny prevalent in pop culture that seems to be continually enabled by stupid people, including women who pass it off as merely innocuous fun is a massive issue, but if people, especially women don’t understand that consent is never a grey area, that sex & any sexual intimacy has to derive from an absolute yes then misogyny will continue to run rife.

          Women need to make the stand first & foremost. They need to expect & demand a higher standard from all men in their lives – partners, fathers, brothers, workmates etc & they need to support each other. They need to understand how men work, how they approach sex & how this is different to women. They need to understand that sex is something that can never be left to interpretation. For example, Robin Thicke’s wife should have kicked him to the curb the moment she was made aware of these lyrics. Instead, she supported him & his efforts to normalise ‘blurred lines’. She also allowed him to continue on with saying bullshit comments like how she greets him with very little on when he gets home from work. If that is how they like to do things good for them, but when he brings that kind of personal detail into the public arena it moves from being something fun, intimate or special to misogynistic crap as it allows him to boast & implies that is how all women should be.

          The men on here will prob disagree, but by and large I think men are without an internal moral code. I’m not saying most men are not good men, but when push comes to shove you will find that few men really understand the complexity of sexual assault & how so-called innocuous behaviour & expectations can pave the way to normalising things like say, date rape. For most men they just try & get as much as they can for very little in return 🙂 They just have different brains. And that’s not a bad thing, but when it comes to sex it has to be reigned in. Women have to be clear, direct & decisive without being prudish, condescending & cold. It’s a balance which I think few people get.

          Rape is rape and no means no …whether it is a no from the outset or it is a no just before you are about to seal the deal. Regardless of when the no is said, no is no & it is a woman’s right to change her mind if she feels uncomfortable as it is her body that is being invaded, not his. Not saying I agree with cock-teasing – most women could do with a lesson in communication skills in the intimacy department, but that doesn’t mean that an expectation/heightened expectations should translate into an automatic right to ‘enter’.

          Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • Barry, if an analysis of pop-culture and sexism is beyond your intellect, then you should just keep quiet. Otherwise you just look like a fucken ignorant and irrelevant cock.
      We all understand that you’re incapable of thinking critically about the issues of power that occurs throughout society, but isn’t there something else you can do?
      Maybe there’s some horse racing on trackside? Or go watch one of those Paul Henry shows you’ve got stored on your skybox.

  4. Quite frankly Chloe I don’t like the video industry: it is sexist, and it demeans women and men alike. All I see is the promotion of sex and violence, men having to look like gangsters, buffed up, or “girlied” metro-sexuals like some preening Jagger. The girls half naked, pouting and doing the bring it on act. Half a minute of this and I turn the switch.

    Therein is the issue: the audience is targeted, for their ultimate vulnerabilities. Sex sells to both sexes. I personally think the whole industry is predicated on a society which demands instant gratification, where we are “consumers”, we want it now and we want it to be obvious. And because of that we don’t allow ourselves to imagine, to have some anticipation, discovery, mystery. There is no romance.

  5. he truly meant no harm by his song, and feminists everywhere just misread him

    Both true.

    Reminds me of the time Ronald Reagan publicly admired “Born in the USA”.

  6. Hey, great information, Chloe, thank you. I have been reading articles written by extremely anxious parents wondering what the hell world their daughters are being born into. And their sons. My take on it all is that we are going to find out that the virtual world has a way more direct impact on us in the ‘real’ world as we define it.

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