These feminists are blazing a trail with their nonprofit slogan tees

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Anna Brech

Slogan t-shirts in support of the sisterhood have been around for a while now – and some critics argue that they contribute to the shallow commodification of feminism.

But there’s no empty gestures as far as an innovative group of US-based entrepreneurs are concerned.

The Star Tribute has unearthed a small but growing collective of Minnesota designers who are committed to designing feminist tees that raise money for women’s health and equality charities. 

The paper reports how the Twin Cities area of Minnesota has seen a boom in local artists dedicated to creating affordable t-shirts with slogans such as “Matriarch”, “She persisted” and “Anarchy Is Female”.

Maddy Nye's "Matriarch" tee

Maddy Nye's "Matriarch" design (seen on a model)

Maddy Nye is one the designers involved in the grassroots enterprise. Fifty percent of sales from her “Matriarch” tee, priced at $30 (£23), goes to women’s rights and LGBTQ nonprofits.

The recipients change each month; this month, for example, profits go to the International Women's Health Coalition. This organisation advances the sexual and reproductive rights of women and young people, particularly teen girls, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

“I think this activism zeitgeist just overlapped with a renewed interest in graphic tees as a medium for artists and designers,” she says. “Of course it’s only a T-shirt, but it’s contributing to a larger paradigm shift in awareness and action.”

Solidarite Femme

Solidarité féminine: a t-shirt edition inspired by Donald Trump

The election of Donald Trump to president last November has acted as a call to action for these women.

The leader of the free world has a long history of misogyny and was caught on tape boasting about sexual assault.

“After the election, we were kind of devastated,” says Michelle LeBlanc, owner of Minneapolis boutique Mille. “What can we do to be more active? What can we do to give back more?”

She discussed the situation with artist Nye, and they came up with the idea for peach-coloured “Solidarité féminine” tee (above). 

Half the proceeds from the t-shirt, priced at $42 (£32) goes to Planned Parenthood. The shop has already raised $2,000 (£1547) towards the charity, which is America’s largest abortion provider.

One of the first things Trump did when he gained power was to sign an anti-abortion executive order – surrounded by a room of men.

One of Crystal Quinn's designs

One of Crystal Quinn's designs

Another Minneapolis-based artist, Crystal Quinn, came up with the idea for her feminist Tees when she was falling asleep last night.

She got out of bed and started drawing, coming up with the slogan “Anarchy is female” (pictured in the top main photo).

“Putting it on T-shirts was the first thought I had,” she tells the Star Tribute.

The design has since been used by protesters fighting for women's rights, particularly those involved in the Women’s March events in solidarity against Trump’s presidency.

"She Persisted"

Chelsea Brink's "She Persisted" tee

Artist Chelsea Brink was persuaded to make her “She Persisted” slogan, originally created for a tattoo party, into a t-shirt (above).

Profits from its sale go to a string of women’s rights organisations including The Malala Fund, She Should Run and the National Women’s Law Center.

“If one person sees it [the slogan] and is affected by it, that makes a huge difference to me,” she says.

Read more on the Star Tribute.

Images: Maddy Nye, Michelle LeBlanc, Crystal Quinn and Chelsea Brink

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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