When Cara Delevingne appeared on the red carpet at the Met Gala wearing a white top designed to look like a bulletproof vest with the words “tie the patriarchy”, the outfit immediately got lots of attention. But as it turns out, the phrase emblazoned on the custom Dior vest was invented (and copyrighted) by an artist and sex educator named Luna Matatas, who says she was not consulted, credited or paid for using the slogan.
On Instagram, Matatas wrote that “While I’m tired of Peg the Patriarchy® coming to The Met Gala,” Delevigne, as the artist notes co-owner of sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo, tried to pull it off as their own No credit to me, the creator and owner of the trademark. ”
Matatas notes that “as a bold, queer, POC, I work twice as hard at just doing what I’m already great at. From censorship to patriarchy to racism, all biz barriers specific to my social position. ”
“Enter the sex shop owner at the Met Gala with a custom-designed vest with Peg Patriarchy on,” she continues. A simple Google search for “link patriarchy” would have brought Matatas the first result, so even though Delevingne and Dior have not yet responded to business requests for comment, it will be difficult for anyone to argue that this was a problem of ignorance. and not theft.
Matatas told BuzzFeed News: “When I realized the designer was Dior, I was like ‘Oh, God. It is a classic grant. We are talking about people with many privileges. It would really have been so easy for us to connect arms and lift each other up. ”
“The biggest thing for me is the media interviews,” the artist continues, “where Cara openly owns it as if it was not already owned. Sounds familiar? * Coughs in colonialism *”.
When Delevingne was asked on the red carpet to explain her clothes, she replied that “If anyone does not know what this means, you will have to look it up,” adding: “It’s about women’s empowerment, equality between the sexes – it’s a bit like, ‘Hold it to the man.’ “
The vague answer did nothing to ease the wave of criticism that came to her online. While many people appreciated Delevingne’s outfit and the message about it, many more found it misleading and had a bad taste. Some felt that the language was homophobic and portrayed pegging as an in itself degrading act that should put one in their place, so to speak. (Delevingne identifies as pansexual, but that does not mean she can still not participate in homophobic rhetoric.) There is also an implication that anal pleasure is not something equal cis men (aka “patriarchy”) might already enjoy. And others simply wondered why the patriarchy was worth sexual gratification in the first place.
Matata’s explanation of the message is certainly more thoughtful than you would expect from the person who invented it.
“Point patriarchy is about subversion, not about an anal sex act and not about men,” she writes. “It’s a metaphor for undermining the system that requires submissiveness within a gender binary.”
Independent artists must constantly deal with having their work stolen. Matatas says she has “an assistant whose job includes finding and tracking people who print and sell the Peg Patriarchy.” Copycats love to steal from artists and post their work on Etsy or Amazon, and we often see giant companies like Urban Outfitters accused of stealing art.
But there is something particularly eerie about watching a woman who identifies herself as a feminist and an activist choose a progressive message taken from an artist to wear for a high-profile art collection.
(Similarly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and designer Aurora James now face similar allegations of stealing art for the congresswoman’s equally attention-grabbing and controversial dress.)
For anyone who saw the Delevingnes Met Gala look and thought “I wish I could wear it on a shirt” (or a mug or a mask), good news you can. You can find Matatas’ original Peg the Patriarchy art at pegthepatriarchy.com.
(image: ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty Images)
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