Disguised as my alter-ego Granny Fanny, I offered makeovers to various women at the private view of the exhibition “Witch” curated by Seana Wilson and Caroline Halliday. I approached women by saying, “I love your look”, followed by something along the lines of “Do you put a lot of effort into your appearance?” Then once I lured them into a chair, I proceeded to use makeup to emphasise whatever they felt were their worst features. As I worked, we chatted about how they use makeup day to day now and in the past, how they feel about their looks and if they ever considered plastic surgery. In the end, they looked as much like Granny Fanny as I could manage. Most of the women understood straight away what my intentions were, whilst one in particular seemed to genuinely believe I was going to make improvements and it was very worrying when I turned the mirror around at the end for her to see. But she was a good sport. All of the women were invited to have their picture taken with a polaroid camera. Upon signing away all rights for its reproduction to me, each one was provided with an “Excellence in Ugliness” Certificate.
The title ‘zap action’ is an homage to the feminist collective W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell), who performed ‘zap actions’ and garnered media attention in the late 1960s. In the process of arriving at this piece I thought of a couple other zap actions, which are decidedly less public and sensationalistic than those by W.I.T.C.H.:
1. Eat when you are hungry.
Ask yourself: If raising consciousness is enough, why do so many feminists work on their bodies and/or diet in secret, aspiring to norms which they theoretically despise?
2. Get plastic surgery to make your breasts sag more.
Ask yourself: Why this would be considered mutilation when an uplift or enlargement is not?