On January 21, millions of women around the world gathered together in a show of solidarity and to protest the misogyny that still affects politics, economics, social structures, and more. The Million Woman March was the largest feminist gathering in this millennium, but the message is not new.
The group's posters tackle causes of oppression and point out examples of everyday sexism.
Now, the new book See Red Women's Workshop: Feminist Posters 1974–1990 is shedding light on the London-based poster collective that created some truly iconic protest signs in the 1970s and '80s, helping to connect contemporary protesters with feminism's earlier movements.
See Red Women's Workshop was formed to create positive images for protesters that combat sexism, and to dive into more nuanced, intersectional themes of sexuality, race, and identity. The group's posters tackle causes of oppression, from domestic labor to sexualization, and point out examples of everyday sexism.
The book, written by members of See Red Women's Workshop, details the history of the collective and highlights some of its most influential imagery. Over 16 years, See Red produced a diverse range of posters—some that spark outrage and anger, others that celebrate women banding together for change.
"The story of the See Red Women's Workshop and the posters they made for us contribute a series of mosaics which indicate a larger pattern," says historian Sheila Rowbotham in the book's foreword. "They hint at the great hopes that were aroused and sustained through sisterhood and through solidarities of race and class…. Our subversive refusal was a profound recoil from a system based on inequality."
The act of protest has shifted and evolved since the last century, but with social media making it easier to share opinions and images to massive groups of people, the images we share may be more important than ever. So, See Red's iconic posters can provide inspiration for those continuing to resist in 2017.
See Red's posters speak volumes about the multifaceted nature of the women's movement. A single poster can hardly sum up a movement that encompasses countless women of varying races, religions, identities, and classes, but when the masses come together and speak their own truths, real change can happen.
See Red Women's Workshop: Feminist Posters 1974–1990 by Prudence Stevenson, Susan Mackie, Anne Robinson, Jess Baines, and Sheila Rowbotham (Four Corners Book), $30, amazon.com.