Illustrator from Minas wins the world with messages that explicit the control over women
‘Deconstructing the triviality of an oppressive situation is never easy. Change doesn’t happen out of the blue, from a single internet discussion’, says Carol Rossetti. Her work was translated to the English, Spanish, Russian, German and Italian
Have you ever criticized a woman because she was over the weight considered to be ideal? Did you see the comments made about that actress that’s over 70 and not ashamed to wear a bikini to the beach? Have you ever questioned a taller friend for wearing high heels? Apparently innocent remarks with little consequences — but that represent subtle ways of control over the female behavior and body — have inspired Belo Horizonte’s designer and illustrator Carolina Rossetti, to create the series of drawings called ‘Women’.
Her work meshes together themes that go from supposed wardrobe and beauty codes, to discussions about gender violence and rape. Carol also delves into public harassment, racism and prejudice towards sexual identity, among others (see examples in the gallery).
Some images point, quite objectively, how these rules begin early on, during the infancy — the identification of what is ‘a boy’s’ or a ‘girl’s’, for example.
With the positive repercussion, some work pieces were translated to the English, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian languages, becoming references in international websites as well.
Carol has explained Saúde Plena she has gone through the classic ‘kid who likes to draw’ phase, but with a difference: she kept her focus through adolescence and her adult life. Talented, she graduated as a designer while already working as an illustrator.
The decision to portrait routine facts lived by women came naturally, out of day to day life — there wasn’t a pivotal episode of influence. “I started the series in April this year, but could never imagine such a repercussion. I wanted to simply practice and perfect my technique with coloring pencils. I decided to do it by writing positive messages, aimed at my friends and relatives who followed me on my page”, she reveals, unpretentiously.
Learn more about the artist’s work:
Do you consider your message to be feminist?
Yes, my messages have a lot to do with feminism. But it’s important to point out that feminism is a very plural and diversified movement, with many chains and different shapes of activism. I identify myself with a very embracing way of feminism, one that does not focus on the gender issue alone, but also discusses racism, human being’s representation through media, LGBT demands. A one that includes trans and women with special needs.
I have chosen the female figure by identification and representation. As I said before, it all started as an extremely personal project. I wanted to draw women because I like it, and find it comfortable. But the project grew and today I see it as a considerable space for female representation, and I intend to keep that.
What is your expectation towards the series?
The messages I’ve been getting are amazing and make me feel that the work was worthwhile, by making the difference in the lives of a few people alone. It was something I’ve never imagined would happen, when I drew the first [picture]. The repercussion has really become amazing. Very unexpected, but also very cool and a little frightening. I dream of publishing a book and creating a virtual gallery to showcase my work. I hope I can make it soon enough!
Do you feel that it’s hard to deconstruct sexism?
To deconstruct a trivialized situation of oppression is never easy. It doesn’t apply only to sexism, but also to racism and homophobia. That is something very complicated, because it involves a very specific concept — privilege. We need to be very humble to see it within ourselves.
Feminism throws in the face of men all the time that they are privileged in an oppressive system. Therefore, their first reaction is ALWAYS defensive. But I believe (and some might call me an idealist, optimist or dreamer) that, as one gets more contact with feminist questions, one tends to rethink their concepts.
It isn’t out of the blue, with a simple internet discussion that this is changed. But it changes. It has with me. Of course, in my non-privileged position as a woman in a sexist world, it’s been easier. But it was hard to acknowledge immediately my privilege in other matters — I am a middle class, cisgender, white woman with no disabilities, in a heterosexual monogamous relationship for 7 years.
I am very privileged, and I’ve managed to realize that and do what I can to change the status quo. Other people can do that as well.