Her viral response has exploded online.
There isn’t an on-off switch when it comes to actively supporting the fight or equality. For the battle to be truly won, people must stand against discrimination at every turn. So when a male art instructor asked London-based artist Alex Bertulis-Fernandes to “dial down the feminism,” in her work, she took some time for self-reflection.
“I kept thinking, ‘Is my art too feminist?’” Bertulis-Fernandes told Newsweek. But after a few days of contemplation, the question evolved to, “What makes art too feminist?” So Bertulis-Fernandes returned to class the next week with a mockup of a piece featuring a large dial and two settings: “Raging Feminist” and “Complicit in My Own Dehumanisation.”
Last week one of my art teachers suggested I 'dial down the feminism.' Today I showed him my newest piece: pic.twitter.com/VrnB4oJ8Cz— AlexBertulisFernande (@alexbertanades) February 7, 2018\n
The artist tweeted out a picture of her piece and it quickly went viral, earning over 360,000 favorites.
“Even though it shouldn’t be, being a feminist can still be a controversial thing,” Bertulis-Fernandes said. “And the thing is, it is something you can dial down. That’s what the piece was about to me, to what extent we articulate those feelings in response to sexism every day.”
Her instructor took the rebuke in stride and appreciated her tenacity. “He looked a bit sheepish, but he said he was pleased that he inspired it. I think he appreciated that I stuck up for myself,” she said. Bertulis-Fernandes credits her instructor for fostering an environment where she could freely express her views. “I never felt like I’d be penalized. At the end of the day, he’ll express his opinion, I’ll express mine. It’s a dialogue.”
Bertulis-Fernandes hopes to continue the dialogue by turning “Dial Down the Feminism” into an art installation where people can physically turn the knob.