Red Waters

The artist portrays nude women enveloped by floodwaters. The red palette evokes a mixed reception, of warning, but of intimacy. Women are impacted most by climate change, as they rely on the land and water to sustain their families. As the global south continues to watch their resources decline after years of colonization, land abuse, over-farming, over-production, they have come to know the disastrous effects of unprecedented heavy rainfall uncomfortably well.

I contrast these images with Western ideals of feminism to include narratives of climate change, as necessary and vital to our collective survival. Mainstream American feminism has moved from suffrage to riot culture to a docile gender-alignment with pop political female icons. I argue that academic terms like “intersectional feminism” and catchy phrases like “nasty woman” or “nevertheless, she persisted” leave out a majority of young women, most who are people of color. They have been historically denied agency because of their failure to assume neoliberal positions such as a so-called “boss babe”, a romantic imagination of a female CEO. This boss-babe phenomenon caters to upwardly mobile groups of women in the United States, and both contradicts and undermines solidarity needed to truly elevate climate change ravenged communities and to uplift women in the global south in meaningful ways. The spaces that neo-lib feminism inhabit vary drastically from the global south, plagued already by a tangible climate change. Instead of fighting for increased pay, women all around the world are fighting for their humanity to coexist with the planet.