Published on The Daily Femme – Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Feminist Graffiti Art from 1979 (photograph by Jill Posner)
Contributed by Annamarya
(Femme Fix is a new recurring feature at The Daily Femme where we present art, music, poetry, photography and just about anything creative with a feminist message. Please feel free to send submissions to email@example.com)
I know this “refaced” crude FIAT billboard has been in circulation since photographer/self-professed graffiti hunter Jill Posner snapped this photo in 1979 but it’s a classic. An absolute feminist classic.
Here’s the story: Posner received a call that faithful year by the woman who “refaced” the billboard by adding “If this lady was a car, she’d run you down” to FIAT’s sexist slogan (this call started Posner’s graffiti-hunting ways, she says). According to Posner, the offending ad agency behind this campaign was “shocked” by the tagging, claiming “the advertising slogan was simply a ‘humorous allusion to the Italian origins of the car.’” How is “If it were a lady, it would get its bottom pinched” a “humorous allusion”? Completely beats me. Clearly, women 31 years ago didn’t find it funny either (until the new “slogan” was added, Posner points out). And guess what? The billboard was taken down immediately after.
I understand the artistic integrity of graffiti is subjective. I, for one, enjoy it, as long as it’s well-done or sends a message. But whatever our views may be, it’s important to remember that sexist advertising like this still exists today and, sometimes, the only way to fight it is by being reactive and equally damaging.