28 July 2014
Hands raised in a triangle to form a vagina: that was how, in the seventies, “the vagina gesture” made its appearance in the streets, alongside the banners, battles for the right to abortion, clogs, sit-ins and self-awareness groups. Now, the excellent book Il gesto femminista [“The Feminist Gesture”], edited by Ilaria Bussoni and Raffaella Perna, retraces its history, interweaving library pictures and critical essays by women sociologists, philosophers, art historians, photographers and film directors. The empty triangle does not represent just a reappropriation of the self, but a multilayered idea of the female body and existence: the body is materialized in absence, in that void in the surrounding space which is charged with profound meanings. As Silvia Bordini puts it: “the gesture of the vagina indicated a threshold, a boundary between the inside and the outside, not just the interior and exterior of the female organ, but also the threshold that has to be crossed to assert the desire for a change of mentality between the male and the female.” In this space that women have carved out for themselves a whole new universe of meaning is created, one that the photographs illustrate through an exchange of deep looks and profound expressions, able to communicate the vision of a new community and influence the collective imagination. Published by DeriveApprodi.