By Kristen Barber
As we walked down Market Street to the St. Louis Gateway Arch, I saw an orange, oversized paper mâché head pass by. With light rings painted around the eyes and a large swath of yellow felt for hair, it was unmistakably a representation of the now-President, Donald Trump. A ball gag was strapped tight across his mouth and a sign below his tiny black business suit read, “Putin’s Little Bitch.” The artist-activist of this sculpture drew attention to public worries about Trump’s amicable—although long denied—relationship with Russia. For a march organized around the rejection of an elected head of state, these images of bondage and submissiveness and the use of misogynistic language questioned Trump’s presidency—and his masculinity.
This paper mâché Trump received a lot of attention on the morning of January 21st, as thousands of people came together downtown for the Women’s March. Many were there objecting to Trump’s proposals around limiting women’s access to abortion and birth control, as well as his “hot mic” remarks about grabbing women “by the pussy.” Protesters criticized how this language reflects men’s entitlement to women’s bodies and questioned whether a man who marginalizes sexual assault rhetoric as “locker room talk” can actually work in the interest of women. Three days later, Trump, surrounded by a group of white men in the oval office, signed an executive gag order to keep international health organizations from counseling women on abortions—an order that will likely increase global maternal mortality rates. Continue reading “Satire as Protest in the Women’s March”