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interview: ambivalently yours

Hey everyone! Today, I got to interview my favorite feminist artist, Ambivalently Yours. Maybe, many of you know already about her or her wonderful work. I hope you guys will enjoy it!

今日はあたしのお気に入りのフェミニストアーティスト、Ambivalently Yoursにインタビューさせてもらったよ。たぶん、彼女のことや彼女の作品を知っている人もいるかも?

Hi :) Could you tell us about yourself a bit?

こんにちは :) 少し自己紹介してくれる?

I'm a Montreal-based artist, that works under the alias Ambivalently Yours. My art is inspired by my ambivalence, feminist questions and online interactions. My work aims to highlight the potential for political resistance and emotional empathy that exists within conflicting emotions.

私はAmbivalently Yoursと名乗る、モントリオール出身のアーティスト。私のアートは両面価値(あいまいさ)やフェミニストとしての疑問、インターネットでの交流から影響を受けているの。私の作品は、政治的な抵抗のための可能性、そして矛盾感情に存在する感情の共感を強調することをめざしているの。

“Too much pink,” because you just love pink or any other reason?

『Too much pink(ピンクすぎ)』って自分でも言っているけれど、ただピンクが好きなだけ?それとも他に理由はあるの?

I’ve always loved pink and I do think it is a strong colour, but many people strongly disagree with me. I decided to make all my drawings light pink because people kept telling me not to. The use of pink is my rebellion against everyone who told me that pink was not a powerful colour, or that my work was too feminine and not confident or strong enough, or that I should use darker pink or black because they are somehow perceived as stronger colours. I know that girls are brainwashed from a young age to like pink, and maybe part of my affection for it is rooted in that, but I disagree that everything associated with girlhood should be automatically be seen as weak.


What made you start Ambivalently Yours? Who or what inspired you?

Ambivalently Yoursを始めたきっかけは?誰、もしくは何に影響を受けた?

I first started my feminist practice as Ambivalently Yours, about 5-6 years ago when I was studying feminist art and working in the fashion industry, which seemed like a huge contradiction. At work, I was the feminist killjoy every time I raised a concern about the sexist undertones in our campaigns, and in art school I was the fashion girl who many assumed was duped by the patriarchy just because I liked cute clothes and girly colours. I felt caught somewhere in-between two worlds that I both loved and hated at times, in other words I felt ambivalent. Eventually, I decided to stop worrying about what others thought of me and embrace my contradictions. Ambivalently Yours became my fierce alter ego, giving me a way of exploring my feminist questions from this in-between place where things are undefined and pink can be powerful.

Ambivalently Yoursとしてフェミニズムの活動を始めたのは、5、6年前。そのとき私はフェミニストアートについて学びつつ、アパレル業界で働いてたの。これって少し矛盾してるよね。仕事で、私はフェミニストとして私の働いていた会社の性的差別について考えを言ったりするたびに、その場の楽しい雰囲気を壊す存在だった。そして学校では、私はガーリーな色やかわいい服が好きなだけで、男性に従うまぬけみたいなファッションガールだった。私は二つの世界の間をさまよっていて、どっちも大好きだったし、大嫌いだった。他の言葉で言えば"Ambivalent" = 両価的な、あいまいな。最終的に、私は他の人たちが私のことをどう思うかって心配するのをやめて、私の矛盾を抱くことにしたの。Ambivalently Yoursは、私のすさまじい分身となり、私にフェミニストとしての疑問を決めつけられていない、そしてピンクがパワフルな色だと思える二つの世界から探検させてくれるものになったの。

What do you think about CURRENT feminism?


Feminism is a movement, so it is always in motion. There are waves of popularity, and there are times of backlash, but for years feminism has been there, always moving forward and evolving. Right now, I think that feminism is on a high, people are talking about it a lot in the mainstream media, it is even considered to be "trendy" by some big companies. I think that this popularity is ultimately a good thing, but sometimes it seems like the real message gets diluted by companies trying to make a profit off of feminism. What is the most compelling about feminism in present day is that the conversations are becoming more and more inclusive and there is a focus on intersectionality that was always missing in the past. So instead of just focusing on the experience of white cis women, there is more space given to women of colour, trans women, women with disabilities and other people who were once excluded from the conversation. I think that this is because today people have more access to information and stories about other people, because of the Internet. There is more space for different stories to be told. There is still a lot of work to do, but I think we are slowly but surely headed in a more inclusive direction.


What do you wish to change?


Well, as I said, there is still work to do to make the mainstream feminist movement more intersectional. The people getting the most attention on a large scale tend to be cis and white, and some activist groups can be very exclusive of certain marginalized people. These are hard things to confront and I sometimes worry about how we approach these subjects publicly within and outside of the movement. Call out culture and online backlash are very dominant right now, and in my opinion these approaches rarely ever really lead to productive change. My hope is that we will find more ways to encourage honest, inclusive and respectful conversations on how to make feminism more intersectional. It's a hard thing to do, but I think it is important that we keep trying.


Yes, I think how we approach is very important because I believe there are still many people who have negative connotations on feminism and feminists. What do you think about masculinity? How man should take feminism? Do you think is there any merit or demerit for men?


Feminism means equality for all genders, so I think that both men and women and people of all genders can benefit from this equality that we, as feminists, are fighting for. Masculinity, is a social construct, which means that doing things "like a man", means doing things the way society tells men they should do things. It means that men shouldn't be emotional or soft, which is a really harmful thing to impose on men. So I think that men have a lot to gain by learning more about feminism and supporting the cause. But, it is important than men (especially cis white men), also understand that they have more privilege and power in this society, so when they join any anti-oppression cause, they must learn to share the space with others, and uplift the voices of others, especially those who are traditionally not listened to in our society.


How do you think we should explain "feminism" to people who has negative connotation on it?


I think that a lot of people misunderstand what feminism is, so we should encourage those people to learn more about it, and explain to them that all it really means is equality for everyone. But although equality seems like a simple idea, it can be really tricky to achieve. For some people with a lot of privilege and power, equality can feel like oppression, because they don't want to give up their superiority. So while I think that it is worth having conversations with people who maybe don't understand feminism yet, but are open-minded enough to eventually change their perceptions, I tend not to waste too much energy trying to convince selfish people that they should care about the well-being of others.


As you said, I feel the same when people are stubborn with their own beliefs than being open minded, I tend to let them be themselves. Do you have any plan or ideal image for your near future?


I don't have any real specific plan for the future, but I just want to keep finding new ways of facilitating conversations with people around ideas of feminism. For example, I am currently working on my podcast called Rebelliously Tiny and I'm also working on organizing feminist drawing workshops and exhibitions in other cities.

特別なプランは今のところないかな。でもフェミニズムについての考えを人々とシェアしていく方法はもっと見つけていきたいって思ってる。例えば、"Rebelliously Tiny"っていうポッドキャストを始めたり、色んな都市でフェミニストイラストワークショップを開いたり、展示会をやったりもしてる。

Your podcast is my favorite! I enjoy listening to it very much. Could you give us a little list of your favorite books, films, or TV series?


Ahh thank you so much! I have been working on a list of some of my favorite things, at the bottom of my Tumblr FAQ page:


What is “Ambivalently Yours” to you?

Ambivalently Yours』とは、あなたにとってどんなもの?

Ambivalently Yours, is my art alter-ego, who is a little braver that the person I am in real life. My work as Ambivalently Yours, seeks to explore feminist questions from an ambivalent point of view, and trying to see the positive and negative side of my convictions. It is a way of confronting the contradictions that inevitably influence our life and choices. It is a way to keep asking questions instead of settling for incomplete answers. (I hope this makes sense!)

Ambivalently Yoursは、私にとってアートの形態にした、現実よりも少し勇気のある自分自身かな。私のAmbivalently Yoursでの作品は、フェミニストとして疑問に思うことを、両価的な観点で探求すること、そして私のポジティブとネガティブ、どちらの信念もしっかり見ること。これって必然的に私たちの生活や選択に影響を与える矛盾に直面する方法の一つで、それは、完璧ではない答えで納得せずに、疑問を持ち続けていくこと。(意味わかるかな?)

Find more about Ambivalently Yours:

Website / Tumblr / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

All the illustrations by Ambivalently Yours

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