Pieces of Resistance

A new show at Bentley's seeks to raise awareness—and money—for Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood may be facing more hostility today than it has at any time since its founding members were jailed back in 1916 for distributing birth-control information that was considered "obscene literature."

Republican members of Congress are trying to block all federal healthcare dollars from Planned Parenthood (which is already banned from spending federal dollars on abortion services; the money Planned Parenthood now gets goes to covering the costs of birth control, cancer exams and other sexual health services). State lawmakers have spent millions defending unconstitutional laws meant to close down Planned Parenthood clinics. And although he later backpedaled, presidential candidate Donald Trump said in March 2016 that there should be "some form of punishment" for women who get abortions.

With many people concerned about the future of Planned Parenthood and women's rights under the Trump administration, a group took one of Trump's derisive comments about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign and launched the Nasty Women movement. An art show at Borderlands Brewery raised nearly $15,000 in a single weekend, according to Katya Karankevich, executive director of Nasty Women Exhibit Tucson.

Karankevich and her friends have now organized a second event, Pussy Power: Planned Parenthood Art Show, a month-long exhibit featuring local artists who have donating their work. All proceeds from the sale of artwork will benefit Planned Parenthood Arizona.

"You are a Nasty Woman if you think that women should be given the same opportunities and freedoms as everyone else," Karankevich says. "Pussy Power is more than just female empowerment. It's for everyone that believes women deserve to be in control of their own bodies."

Artist Farah Bughio contributed a series of paintings and drawings of dick pics received from men on Tinder she has entitled "The Dicks of Tinder."

"Apps like Tinder have facilitated the 'hookup culture' and encourage the idea that people can be disposable," Bughio says. "Men get a particularly bad reputation as being heartless, simply seeking sex."

Bughio says that attitude reflects a disparity in society's acceptance of emotional expression.

"Women are allowed to have insecurities and emotions," she says. "Men, however, are not. This project has solidified the idea that [the sexes] are similar. Rather, it's society that forces them to behave differently."

Bughio says it's importance to bring attention to the push to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

"A nation cannot realize its full potential unless its citizens are healthy," she says. "While promising a better future for this country, the administration has targeted programs, like Planned Parenthood, that are required for such success."

Bugio points to recent comments by Margaret Atwood, the author of the novel The Handmaid's Tale, in which a militarized Christian theonomy reorganizes society to control women's rights. Atwood said that when states oblige women into childbearing without a safety net—by restricting access to contraceptives and abortion services—they institute a form of modern-day slavery.

"The policies and attitudes surrounding sexual health in this country are harmful," Bugio says. "We are taught abstinence instead of safety and responsibility. We are encouraged to believe that abortions are murder. However, if this country is going to encourage procreation through policy, it needs to provide assistance to ensure all children are raised in healthy environments and given every opportunity to succeed. If people consider this an economic burden, then perhaps they should swallow their moral indignation and teach safe sex in school while providing free condoms to students."

As a non-Caucasian woman, Bughio is aware of this administration's destructive policies and dangerous abetting of hatred toward anyone who isn't straight, white or male. "Protesting isn't enough," Bughio says. "The public needs to engage in novel ways. The art shows not only raise funds to keep services available, they allow for discourse about gender and sexual issues, setbacks to civil rights and equality."

Karankevich says she organized the show to inspire like-minded citizens to stand up.

"We can't stop the fight now because of fatigue," she says. "If you believe that women are entitled to make their own decisions about their bodies, you will support Planned Parenthood's mission of care for all."

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