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Joint collection by Makia and Tympeät tytöt brings feminism to everyday life and the streets.
Through this collaboration, we want to show that feminism is not just about “girls’ stuff,” but everyone’s right to a broader space in our society. Tympeät Tytöt is an art project by artist and social critic Riina Tanskanen that takes aim at our narrow social structures and the culture of silence. Tympeät tytöt has become the most popular project in Finnish pop-feminism.
Tympeät tytöt and Makia might appeal to different audiences, but unexpected clashes move society. A combination of carnivalistic sweet images and socially critical texts bring to light the collective pain that our society, which despises femininity, ultimately puts on everyone’s shoulders.
Tympeät tytöt is part of a tradition of feminist DIY comics that began in the 1970s, where a jagged drawing style is itself a protest against social power relations and an emancipatory attempt to break free from the demands of perfection imposed on women and “the right kind of art.” The works elevate the elements and candy-colors of 21st-century girl culture as a credible way to talk about social phenomena. At the same time, the perceived difficult field of feminist theory is being generalized by positioning structural phenomena in everyday life.
The collection will be available from Makia’s Helsinki store, online store and a few selected retailers: Stockmann, Carlings Kamppi, Carling Tripla, carlings.com/fi, Beyond Jyväskylä.
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How was Makia selected as the collaboration partner for Tympeät Tytöt?
Makia is a bold brand with great clothes, an interesting image and a large audience. Makia appeals to a very different target group than Tympeät Tytöt – to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily find Tympeät Tytöt on their own, such as consumers in rural areas and young males.
Feminism is not yet reaching people as broadly as it should. Tympeät Tytöt appeals to those who are already interested in the subject. In addition, I would like our collaboration to help spread feminism and its tools to people who need it – and often they are needed specifically in spaces and areas that are unaware of them. These are places where they are thought of sceptically or through stereotypes.
And this is quite a natural collaboration too – I create art and images that work really well also as prints. Clothing is a commodity that everyone needs, and art and fashion have always been connected.
“Feminism is not just about ‘girls’ stuff’ but about everyone’s right to a broader space”
Through this collaboration, we want to bring to the fore that feminism is not just about “girls’ stuff” but about everyone’s right to a broader space. Gendered norms apply to all genders. Feminism is about the energy that is released when no one, regardless of gender, has to squeeze into a mould that conforms to norms or live in fear. Feminism strives for equality for absolutely everyone.
Bringing feminism closer to people and showing how common its issues are (sexism, for example) is still considered radical, and the various distorted perceptions of feminists – as “male haters”, for example – are still pervasive and ingrained. There is still a lot of groundwork to be done – and that work is really needed. I believe that our collaboration with Makia may be one way of doing that.
It is really important that a big national and influential brand like Makia is identifying with feminism and openly announcing that it attaches immense importance to it. These somewhat even surprising declarations can help raise awareness about feminism among new audiences and raise questions about whether it could be important in their lives as well.
Collaboration does not compromise our values
This is my first commercial collaboration, and the decision to do so naturally caused a lot of reflection in terms of commercialism, consumption and responsibility.
Commercialism is (unfortunately) an effective means and tool in this world for gaining visibility. However, it can still do so without abandoning values. I have been encouraged by Makia not to compromise on values, and the message should be, and must be, as direct and radical as possible. I have not had to justify anything, and I have gotten a strong feeling that feminist values have been unquestionably important to Makia long before Tympeät Tytöt.
The culture of dialogue has been really warm and reassuring throughout our collaboration. I have been able to freely and repeatedly ask even difficult questions, my concerns have always been taken seriously, my questions have been answered honestly and I have been supported. It feels like there have been no taboos that should not be asked or talked about.
This collaboration is bringing feminism to everyday life and the streets. The most important thing has been to spread the idea. Admittedly, this is being done through commercialism, but in the capitalist system it still provides the greatest opportunity for spreading ideas. This is not a perfect solution, but the importance of the volume that will enable us to encourage new people to our values and ideas cannot be underestimated.
“In a perfect world, social and environmental sustainability would go hand in hand”
Environmental issues are of paramount importance in commercial projects. In a perfect world, social and ecological environmental would go hand in hand. Unfortunately, that is not possible, as there is no such thing as 100% responsible consumption. Similarly, there are no completely responsible clothes either. Accepting this, however, does not mean that we should not strive towards more socially and environmentally sustainable production.
The environmental crisis is not a future threat – it is happening right now. In order to prevent its consequences and acceleration, we need to work not only on environmental sustainability but also on social sustainability. If the system basically considers people as being unequal, the solutions made within the system will also be unequal. Therefore, an understanding of indivisible human rights, unequal structures and other feminist issues is essential for creating socially sustainable solutions. My struggle with Tympeät Tytöt focuses specifically on social sustainability (human rights, non-discrimination, equality), but that does not mean that I do not consider the environmental struggle to be just as important – quite the contrary.
Even though this is my first commercial collaboration, Tympeät Tytöt cannot be said to have been entirely non-commercial in the past, despite the fact that I dream of an anti-capitalist world. Tympeät Tytöt has grown into a brand whose primary platform is Instagram, which operates entirely according to capitalist logic. It is quite impossible to be a prominent yet completely anti-capitalist actor in a capitalist world.
“I’m really happy that Makia wants to support one of the most visible feminist projects in Finland with values genuinely at the forefront”
I’m really happy that Makia wants to support one of the most visible feminist projects in Finland with values genuinely at the forefront. In connection with the launch of our collection, we are also organising a free art exhibition for everyone at which the voice of Tympeät Tytöt can be heard purely at the artistic level.
I am also incredibly proud of Tympeät Tytöt. At no point did I have any intention to create a phenomenon out of Tympeät Tytöt, which is what we have become. I just wanted to find solace in an unequal world – and it’s really wonderful to be able to give comfort to others at the same time.
This collaboration is absolutely strategic in terms of working towards equality: the magnitude of the message delivered by the collaboration between Makia and Tympeät Tytöt can have great social significance. Feminism should be a principle shared by the entire nation.
Designer of the Tympeät Tytöt collection
Riina Tanskanen, 4 March 2022, Tampere
Read more about: Who made your Tympeät Tytöt shirt – In english, In finnish
Read Riina’s article: Feminism for the people – In english, In finnish
Read Riina Tanskanen’s artist interview – only in english
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