Women, Party Politics, and the Power of the Naked Body
School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development
Thousands of headlines in multiple languages touting some kind of formulation of “100 Naked Women Protest the RNC” circled the globe around the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On the eve of the convention on Sunday, July 17th, 130 of the 1,800 women who volunteered to participate in the art installation “Everything She Says Means Everything,” joined together to bare it all on a private lawn across from the convention site. The “women art warriors,” as they were called, were armed with nothing but large disc-shaped mirrors, which they raised as shields toward the Quicken Loans Arena, reflecting the convention center, urban landscape, and sky. The action was organized by New York based artist Spencer Tunick, well known for staging and photographing large-scale installations of naked subjects. Tunick began planning the action in protest of the RNC back in 2013. According to the project’s website, Tunick’s political installation sought “to make art with what may be the most controversial subject in this presidential race, a woman’s body” and to reflect both the idea of a “sacred feminine” at one with nature and anger against the Republican Party’s rhetoric of hate targeting women and minorities.