Iron Women and Red Stockings in Aarhus
In the spring of 2019, the poster exhibition “Iron Women and Red Stockings” opened in Danish Cultural Center’s premises in Beijing. 120,000 passed by. In 2020, it moved to KØN – Gender Museum Denmark in Aarhus. Here about 10,000 visited the exhibition.
In the 1960s and 70s, the issue of gender equality was on the agenda in both China and Denmark. In both countries outdoor posters in the street scene played a significant role in spreading the message. “Iron Women and Red Stockings” compares the period’s mass-produced governmental Chinese posters with the Danish women’s movement’s more anarchistic approach. The exhibition illustrates the difference between the Danish Red Stockings movement and its Chinese sisters. In Denmark, there was more at stake than equality in the Maoist sense. Here the women insisted on the right to their own body, free sexuality, and the building of women’s communities.
These topics were absent in the top-down Chinese battle against archaic gender conceptions 50-60 years ago. The posters show how dependent the women’s movement is of the culture in the country, where it unfolds.