Advocate • Activist • Feminist • Artist
You could argue I am all of these. The first and the final being the words I would typically use to describe myself, but I’ve heard many others describe my work as a feminist movement, or call me an artist activist. I’m fine with all of the above words, except the fact that somehow especially with the word feminist, people seem to like to attach the meaning… “against men”.
A woman stood beside me at a mural event this past Saturday night, and said with a scowl, “Is this only for women?” Her arms were folded and her face was all scrunched up like she just smelled something bad. I thought, wow, she’s very disapproving of something that is intended to send a positive message.
It’s not the first time I’ve been met with questions like, “Is this needed?” and at almost every mural creation there is at least one person who stops and says, “When are you going to notice boys?”
I created the concept for Girl Noticed one week before my father suddenly passed of a heart attack. I spent the two weeks after his passing at my parents home helping my mom, and attempting to be some comfort and support to her. Late at night, when all was quiet, I worked on the Girl Noticed logo and webpage. I hadn’t created a Girl Noticed mural yet, but I had a firm grasp on the message I intended on spreading. “No matter what every girl has something about her worth noticing”. I decided to share with my mom what I was doing, and she said, “Well Lori, that’s very nice you want to help girls, but won’t the boys get mad?” Yes, even mom, couldn’t understand why I would only do murals of girls and women, and it was a true concern that I might upset the men. At the time I didn’t really know how to answer my mom’s question. I was accustomed to her worrying about upsetting people, so I shrugged it off as her just being her usual self.
“It is not my intention to quiet the voices of men… but to raise the voices of women.” That was my answer to the woman standing beside me with folded arms and scowl Saturday night, and if my mom were to ask me again, I’d tell her the same. *
After hours of drawing, 15 feet up on a ladder, I tell those who ask me when will I notice the boys, “As soon as I’m done with the girls.” And I smirk thinking, god I hope there comes a day men and women feel exactly the same about their body image, their self-confidence, sexuality, and intellectual worth. Wouldn’t that be something?
Men, I love you. I especially love the amazing fathers I meet supporting their daughters hopes and dreams. I love the amazing husbands I meet supporting their wives ambitions and desires, and I love the amazing open minded boys and men I meet who smile, support and cheer on Girl Noticed. You do so with a confidence that says me noticing girls and women, will not take one ounce of who you are or what you are worth away from you. You’re my guys. I do notice you.
*It was an assumption that the mural was only for women. We had many men get involved, and it was a beautiful event.