May 25, 2015
Feminist Lisa Frank is Everything
A few weeks ago I discovered the Feminist Lisa Frank tumblr. For those of you that haven’t checked it out yet, the title is pretty self explanatory; the adorable pictures of cute animals dipped in neon rainbows, with various feminist quotes accompanying them.
We don’t actually get told too much about the awesome creator of this tumblr, but the description is pretty simple.
“Dismantling the patriarchy one rainbow kitten at a time. Not actually Lisa Frank. Am actually feminist.”
As a person who grew up in the 90’s when Lisa Frank stuff was EVERYWHERE and everything, I’m a pretty big fan. I had the trapper keepers, and if I had a time machine, I’d probably go back to 1996 and tell 3rd grade me to keep those things and treat them like gold, considering how valuable they’re considered now. I can’t sit here and pretend that I wouldn’t get some things for my house NOW, as an adult. *I definitely just checked, and sadly the official website is under construction. Stay tuned for pictures in the future of my rad dancing orca bedspread that I WILL buy if they ever sell that stuff again!
Back to the subject at hand, I LOVE the concept of combining important feminist messages that some people may not be receptive to over the backdrop of fuzzy-feeling inducing Lisa Frank
pictures. While the idea that feminists are negative debbie downers is dissipating as more and more women (including celebrities who previously turned down the label, I see you T-Swift ;))are picking up the torch, these pictures help to keep turning that outdated idea on its head.
To be clear, a lot of these topics can be hard to be talk about in an upbeat way, but I do believe delivery can help people receive messages more readily. The quote to the right is from the amazing Naomi Wolf, author of “The Beauty Myth.” Jean Kilbourne writes a great deal about advertising and the idea ads from commercials to copy in magazines impact our society, and she discusses the dichotomy in themes in ads about punishment and reward, indulgence versus self-discipline for women in her book “Can’t Buy My Love.” What I loved about Kilbourne’s approach was her use of humor to make the book engaging to read, even while talking about a seriously bleak subject.
Sadly, the folks at Lisa Frank were less enthused than many of us about Feminist Lisa Frank. The author shared part of the letter she received from them:
“We at Lisa Frank are not upset so much as disappointed that you decided to use Lisa Frank’s artwork without asking for her permission and did so in association with a strong point of view, without considering whether Lisa would have used her art to promulgate that view or not. It was particularly ironic that Lisa was disrespected in this way to deliver a message of respect for women.
Whatever you may have intended, Lisa is aware of a number of critical posts that have mis-ascribed your blog to her. For all of the above reasons we request that you stop using Lisa Frank’s art without her permission and allow Tumblr to remove Lisa Frank’s artwork from its site. We hope that, as a fan, you understand.”
She took the yucky response in stride, saying “They actually said a variation of “I’m not mad I’m just disappointed.” Do I have to cease and desist and also go to bed without any supper?
Let’s be clear that Lisa Frank does not want to promulgate the strong view that people of all sexes and races should be treated fairly and equally. I understand now that it was very disrespectful and disappointing of me to think that she might.”
Heaven forbid anyone get behind a subject as controversial as gender equality. And my goodness how forward are we REALLY that people and companies still think they should distance themselves from feminism.
I don’t know a great deal about copyright law so I wanted to write something about this, just in case she was forced to delete this amazing tumblr. Apparently the author did some research and she thinks their request doesn’t hold too much water.
I saved my favorites from the Tumblr, not wanting to lose them in case she did have to delete her account. She chose some pretty amazing quotes and I encourage you to check it out yourself so you can see the comments she added to the memes she created. 🙂