10/28/2013

FAQ - Feminist Edition: Arvida Byström


Arvida Byström is a London based photographer and occasional musician and model from Sweden. She has worked for VICE, amongst others. She self indentifies as a feminist.

Arvida Byström by Arvida Byström for ELLE Japan

I sent her a couple of questions that feminists are asked on a regular basis. I think it's more interesting to look at how different feminists answer the questions, rather than always settling for what one has to say. These are all questions that I have been asked in the past, some more than once.

Q: We have equality nowadays, so what are you fighting for?


A: Well, first of all, we don't? There are inequalities in loads of ways, not only between the genders, but also when it comes to race, class, how abled bodied people have it etc. One thing when it comes to the sexes is for example rape culture.


Q: Why not use the term "equalist" if you really want gender equality?


Because it started in the females fighting for everything they didnt have. I think again, as always, men want "non coded ways" to be "non coded" just as the default human is seen to be male and there for nothing that goes for everyone seems to be able to be written down with any terms that might incline that it has to do with females. Plus, it's about privilege and that's still on the male side. Though ofc males have problems and I do also think Internationalism is really important.


Q: What about the problems that men have in society?


A: Again well, I dont mind fighting them, like it sucks probably to be a male at times, but in general the male problems are formed from the idea that they shouldn't be females. If the binary gender system stops being binary it will profit men as well in their problems. And loads of the problems that men face aren't necessarily tied to their gender, like fights on the streets mostly includes men, but that's from one person to another, when a group becomes strategically oppressed by another (like men oppressing women, whites oppressing PoC [people of color]) then that's different.


Q: Isn't it hypocritical to want equality but still expect men to pay for everything?


A: Who said that feminists want men to pay for everything?


Q: Are you really a feminist? Because you don't look like a 40 year old dyke.


A: Ok this question is just fucked up and makes me fucking angry. It's just big fucking proof that feminism has to exist.

Thank you Arvida for answering the questions^^

Some of her work includes a series where men and women's nipples are photographed from the same viewpoint (as opposed to censoring one and not the other) and another series focused around female body hair and it's normalcy (rather than from a novelty POV).

My favorite project of hers is an editorial for VICE magazine where different women are photographed with period leaks. It shows how natural the menstrual cycle is, and how unnecessary it is to shame and censor menstruation. This is my favorite photo of the set




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