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NKU Professor Turns Trump's Words Into Sashes, Invites Others to Join

If you're heading for a Women's March this week, either in Washington, D.C. or Washington Park, take a couple hours and make a "solidarity sash" for yourself.

Julie Mader-Meersman, a member of Northern Kentucky University’s art faculty, created the DIY, which initially featured a series of President-elect Donald Trump's greatest insults to women, although now hers reads, "I Choose Love."

The new message, she says, “represents a refusal to accept the institutionalization of fear-mongering, hatred, supremacy, dominance and marginalization in all forms.” And, Mader-Meersman adds, “It also represents the creation of beacons of love, hope and acceptance.”

Mader-Meersman has done most of the work for do-it-yourselfers - you can see more on her website - and you’ll find more than 20 sash choices (all illustrated by the artist posed at appropriate locations). When you click your favorite message, you'll link to the pattern complete with word/phrase outline that you can print out.

You will need access to a printer, and depending on your proficiency at art projects, and your inclination to fancy things up with glitter and such, making a sash should take no more than one or two hours. Grab your magic marker, glue stick, maybe some glitter and you're ready to sashay to a march.

“Anyone, anywhere can print, color, assemble and wear their own,” Mader-Meersman promises.

Her original inspiration for the sashes was to use “the names and words Trump has used against women – words meant to emotionally harm and publicly demean” – and transform them into titles to share with and empower people in solidarity together.”

The wearable body sashes directly reference the pageant context of Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado’s experience (on the receiving end of then-candidate Trump’s body-shaming insults), as well as the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote over 100 years ago.

“They are an expression of empathy and a refusal to accept the objectification of women. During the election run-up, the sashes were never a pro-Clinton statement, Mader-Meersman emphasizes.

“It is a pro-dignity statement. I shared a prototype with my students and colleagues who voiced a desire to wear a sash, too.”

If you're looking for something fun to do on Inauguration Day, Mader-Meersman will be in the NKU Gallery, working with anyone who comes in. The Main Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Center (adjacent to the library) on the NKU campus in Highland Heights.

Check out accompanying art book, part of the current Annual Full and Part-time Faculty Exhibit.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
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