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4000 Years of Choice Randall Library Exhibit

A new exhibit sponsored by Randall Library and the Women's Study and Resource Center celebrates Women's History Month!

"4,000 Years for Choice"* is a global story of women's reproductive empowerment, wisdom, and efforts to prevent and end pregnancy across centuries. These posters present abortion and contraception as part of our grand human history. Contained within them are stories about abortifacient plants and herbs, including artemisia, pennyroyal, aloe vera, and Queen Anne's lace, early contraceptive technologies, such as diaphragms, IUDs, and cervical caps, and commentary from historical features about reproductive control, including Plato, Socrates, Casanova, Emma Goldman, and Margaret Sanger.

History tells us that women have been making responsible decisions about pregnancy for thousands of years.

Throughout its existence the pro-life movement has successfully relied on images of the fetus to communicate its message. Pro-choice feminists responded in the 1970s with the equally provocative wire coat hanger, symbolizing the dangers of the pre-Roe v Wade era. As a more positive alternative, artist Heather Ault has turned to life-affirming images that recall ancient reproductive practices and the proud legacy of generations committed to healthy lives for women and their families.

With good reason, feminists have been using battle-related images and words, such as struggle, fight, and defend for decades. Pro-choice leaders on the national stage have used language designed for winning legislative political battles. Positive words such as celebrate, love, honor, and respect contribute to the creation of a tone of support and solidarity.

Sharing stories from history about reproductive choices, in all of their complexities, rarely plays a part in the public conversation. Ault's images have the ability to inspire creativity, curiosity, and conversation, as well as expand the visual vocabulary for reproductive rights.

Heather Ault is an artist, designer, and activist living in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about these projects and upcoming exhibitions, or to purchase artwork, visit www.4000yearsforchoice.com. She will be on campus March 18, 2015. For more information about Heather's visit and for a complete list of campus events for Women's History Month, click here.

*Any views or opinions presented in this exhibit are solely those of the artist and do not represent those of the university.

Event/Exhibit Information
Date: 
March 5, 2015 - 5:10pm to April 20, 2015 - 5:10pm
Location: 
Second Floor Gallery