Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers

The Guerilla Girls are back with a fresh critique of female stereotypes.

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The Guerrilla Girls—those anonymous, ape-masked, performance-artist
provocateurs — have been culture-jamming their way into our hearts for the past 18 years,
calling bull on the sexism permeating the worlds of art and the media. Now, the simian sirens take
us on a safari of the labels that hound women, with the aim of “empowering women to create their own
stereotypes and to reject the ones our culture tries to squeeze us into.”

With their barbed wit and insolent cut-and-paste graphics, the Girls
take on “cradle to grave” stereotypes (among them, “daddy’s girl,” “tomboy,” and “spinster”).
They also audit sexual slurs and examine how real women and fictional characters from Tokyo Rose
to Lolita solidi-fied into stereotype. Meanwhile, satirical Barbie dolls — “to have, to
hold, and to let go of” — illustrate the section on racial and religious stereotypes (including
Latisha, the Welfare Queen, who was “expressly created for us by Ronald Reagan,” and Theresa, the
Good Catholic Girl, who comes with a warning: “Due to a manufacturing flaw related to real-life
Catholics in the U.S., 97 percent of Theresa dolls will use contraceptives sometime in their lives
and 87 percent will make up their own minds about having an abortion.”). Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers
also includes a do-it-yourself “stereotype eradication” kit that encourages readers to monkey
around with the cultural assumptions hindering all humans, not just the females of the species.

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