“The Shrews are not going away and we will not be silenced.”
By Sian Kissock
Founded in Australia in September 2016, The Untameable Shrews are a radical feminist street art collective with members from all around the world including the US, UK, New Zealand, Germany and Peru. Inspired by fellow creative educational feminist groups such as Guerrilla Girls and Angry Sheila’s, they formed from several smaller independent groups who undertook feminist activism around Melbourne and Brisbane, such as painting over posters for brothels and strip clubs.
Like the majority of street artists, their individual identities remain anonymous. Collective work has seen them not only partake in street art, but also find different ways to creatively approach protesting such as online campaigns that target sexist advertising as well as women working in the medium of stickers, yarn bombing, stencils, embroidery and paste ups/posters. They also ensure they are present yet undercover at physical protests such as the recent Anti-Trump Women’s march, International Women’s Day and the Million Women Rise march.
Issues which they are the most passionate about include sex trafficking, the impact of porn on society and the correlation it has with male violence, and giving a voice to those who are being silenced by men’s rights activists, trans activists and the pro-sex trade lobby. An ultimate aim includes the abolition of the sex trade and porn industries (by changing the laws to end the demand for the sex trade by criminalising sex traffickers, pimps, brothel owners and men who buy sex).
It has unsurprisingly not come without its issues. Although they were undercover, the Untameable Shrews were harassed and attacked by trans and pro-sex trade activists at the IWD march. In the weeks leading up to the event they were threatened online and their social media and email accounts were hacked, all perfect examples of how the radical feminist movement is treated by many people who disagree with it, and what the activists face. Engaging with the world anonymously through street art is unfortunately the only way they feel they can avoid repeating these events.
Stickers by the collective are ripped down, and their stencils are covered up by those with clashing opinions. It doesn’t offend them; they simply see it as their message getting through, and the need to just put up more to replace them.
“The Untameable Shrews movement is growing, with new members getting involved every week. Any woman is welcome to join, as long as she aligns with radical feminism. To be a Shrew, all you need is a pen.”
Find them on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as Red Bubble and Etsy:
Red Bubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/untamableshrews