ANGRY BLACK WOMAN

Artist’s Statement

Angry Black Woman is the result of a lot of soul searching.  I used to get more vocally mad about things like racism and sexism; however, I was then dismissed as the “stereotypical “Angry Black Woman” who had nothing valuable to contribute to a conversation because I happened to be angry, black, and female. I was disqualified from having an opinion or being given consideration because of my identity. I became preoccupied with being polite and silent. I am done doing both. I have a right to be mad and I deserve to be heard. This project is my attempt to be heard and get angry over what I should be mad about and get others to do the same. There is a lot to be mad about and a lot that needs to be challenged in our society. I had several goals when I embarked on this journey. The first is self-serving, I needed to be brave enough to speak out about issues that make my life difficult on a daily basis; when this opportunity presented itself, I took it. Second, I have started to notice more and more things about the media and our culture that reproduce problematic discourse that is normalized and made invisible as a result of speaking out more and being more media literate. I wanted to challenge this media by using the very media that had power, in the first place, to be used in a conversation of exposure of its own flaws and allow the power that it once held to be dismantled. I wanted to let the media speak for itself. To best accomplish this, I wanted to use mainstream magazines’ images and phrasing (Cosmo, Glamour, Seventeen) to unpack the messages that underpin the subtle and overt ways this media has attempted to exert a strangle hold in order to influence our decisions, behavior and worth. Several of my pages rely on mainstays in the magazines, such as Cosmo’s “Tricky Trends and Confessions Sections” to problematize the magazine’s use of these forums to undermine the value of the reader and actively instill and create toxic culture. I wanted to use the format that they use to challenge the messages that magazines propagate and disseminate. Undoing the media from within and displacing it from the entirety of the magazine (there is something therapeutic about tearing up the magazines that serve to prop up the acceptability of discrimination, mistreatment and oppression) and placing it into a context where its true messages can be seen more clearly.

DIY format allowed me to literally take apart the medium that has tremendous weight in our society and use if for the forces of subversion and interrogation of the media and culture we are exposed to everyday. This format allowed me to create ideas by compiling texts in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise; cutting, pasting, commenting in my own hand writing. I was able to pick a specific audience and cater to it. I used my zine as a safe space for myself to communicate my thoughts, which I couldn’t have done otherwise in a format that I could share with others or get to explain why I was creating. (The library during finals week was a great place to answer questions about my project). DIY projects are personal ways to talk back to the media by creating a new product and generating new ideas; it is at the heart of participatory media. In DIY we create. So many audiences are cast aside and not seen as being worthy of address in the mainstream, which is very small in actuality of who is counted, yet broad in scope in who it affects, giving those excluded a voice is paramount. Voices create change and have the ability to challenge. Zines give the possibility for personal challenges that can be shared in a way that invites others to participate and start conversations in various forms about daily experiences. Alison Piepweiner’s contends in her article “If I didn’t write it No One Else Would Either,” DIY projects are “artifacts meant to be shared with others.” This sharing process allows for the author to both “comment on mainstream culture and also to construct community and solidarity) (Piepweiner 30). My final and ultimate goal was to use Angry Black Woman as a “tool of resistance not just a mechanism for complacency with that system” that made me so mad to begin with! (32) I wanted to Get Angry To Create Change. Here’s to an excitingly angry journey!

Paige’s Zine

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