In Dating While Femme, an animated short from Caress Reeves, a cheerfully drawn black woman opens a dating app on her smartphone. She is quickly flooded with unsolicited image after unsolicited image from the men she has ‘matched’ with and is seen duly losing her mind by the end of the clip. Part of an on-going multimedia project called ‘DISS…MISS’, Reeves’ work forms part of a showcase seeking to elevate the talents of 20 L.A. artists and their work about gendered relationships.
A public visual art experience with digital media and performance art components, DIS…MISS aims to stimulate dialogues both online and in public around evolving perceptions and attitudes about gender and fourth wave feminism. Endorsed by Los Angeles-based nonprofit art organisation Freewaves, DIS…MISS commissioned twenty-five short videos from five different artists addressing gendered reactions to traditional upbringings and current culture.
Inspired by black feminist theorists like bell hooks, Reeves series of shorts uses much of the writer’s academic texts as a jumping off point. Although it’s subject matter that is demanding and nuanced, Reeves mischievously subverts this and explores the topic in a more whimsical fashion. The resulting clips are both hilariously relatable and playfully poignant.
A strong believer in the pairing of critical theory with the act of animation itself, Reeves’ five films – Dating While Femme, Gaming While Girl, #Mansplaining, #PocketMan, and #SlutWalk – confront some of the most stubborn gender inequalities and stereotypes in our culture today. You can see more from the LA-based filmmaker by visiting her website and watch the rest of the films from the project here.