Nasty Women Chicago: How Artists Fight For Women’s Rights

What good can come from a room full of nasty women? A lot actually. On May 5th, 2017, Nasty Women Art Chicago held its first event at Moonlight Studios. The show featured over 350 artists whose ages ranged from 9 – 90. The event saw over 1,700 attendees and raised 30K for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. A pretty successful event for a group of nasty women right?

The movement, locally, is a part of a larger Nasty Women organization- a global art movement that “demonstrates solidarity among artists who identify with being a Nasty Woman in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights,” according to the Nasty Women website. Over forty fundraising art exhibitions had taken place since its inception nine months ago. On September the 8th, the organization held a fall show, this time at the grandiose Stan Mansion in Logan Square, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The historic venue was filled with original works of art as well as a silent auction, drinks, and more, all to support Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

The Nasty Women movements show that good things can come out of a negative situation. These are the sentiments that mother, teacher, and artist Briget Doherty Trebing, who brought her daughter to the Nasty Women Chicago show in an effort transparently show and explain the artwork and the conversation that started it all. “What does ‘nasty’ mean?” asked the inquisitive five-year-old. It is “a word that some people like to use to be mean towards women… we decided (as women) we’re going to take the word to mean “strong and awesome” instead of a bad word,” explained her mother. Like Bridget, many other attendees also shared with me why participating in the Nasty Women art event is so impactful to them as creatives and women. “I really want Planned Parenthood to stay around because I am a huge fan of everyone having an opportunity for healthcare,” said Lea Beiermann, one of the amazing women vendors participating in the show, “No matter how much has been in my pocket I have always gone to Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood provides incredibly invaluable services to those who need it, no matter how much they make, their race, or sexual orientation. And even though I have never visited a Planned Parenthood center, I have used their online resources in my teenage years to find out answers to questions I was too afraid to ask. I understand, like many women, how important it is to have a trusted and non-judgemental resource.

Nasty Women is an organization that has the support of many women and even male allies, who are fighting in every way possible to control and protect their rights as women. If you are interested in seeking opportunities to support Planned Parenthood, beyond artistically driven events like the Nasty Women exhibitions, be sure to check out the website for more ways to help this impactful organization.  Check out some of the moments captured below.

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