The Rapidian

"Hard Femme" art exhibit to examine gender issues

This article includes mature content:
This article contains swear words.

The upcoming exhibit at Con Artist Crew starting August 10 is designed to create dialogue about gender and includes work from local and international artists.
A piece by Robert Andy Coombs to be displayed at Hard Femme

A piece by Robert Andy Coombs to be displayed at Hard Femme /Robert Andy Coombs, courtesy of Miranda Sharp

Exhibit Details


Saturday, August 10

7 p.m. - 1 a.m. 


Con Artist Crew Gallery

1111 Godfrey Ave SW #198


Artwork by Rachel Ducker

Artwork by Rachel Ducker /Rachel Ducker, courtesy of Miranda Sharp

Artwork by Evan Shiemke

Artwork by Evan Shiemke /Evan Shiemke, courtesy of Miranda Sharp

"Hard femme is femme’s iron-pumpin', boot-wearin', always sneerin' cousin," says Miranda Sharp, curator of the exhibit. "Hard femme is tough, DIY, takin' care of business, down 'n dirty and no-bullshit. Hard femme draws elements from both traditionally masculine and feminine traits and creates an intimidating, hard edged, boundless identity that a lot of folks find they've identified with for a long time without ever having a name for it. Hard femme talks shit on The Man purely by existing. Hard femme is studs, boots, leather, glitter and a big ass middle finger."

"The show is named 'Hard Femme' because it is a phrase that has become the name for an identity that weaves feminine and masculine traits," shares Sharp.

"The goal of this exhibit is to open up a dialogue about gender expression," she says. "The exhibit deals with the questions of how narrow gender norms affect us, why feminine doesn't mean anti-feminist, and how open gender expression would benefit everyone be they women, men or anywhere in between."

The artwork will question, explore and discuss gender issues in different ways. Artwork displayed will include sculpture, photography and painting. Kawaii, the cute aesthetic in Japanese popular culture, will also be represented. Some international artists are involved, including Mel Stringer from Australia. Both male and female artists are participating in the show.

Sharp was inspired by the Hard Femme lifestyle to curate this exhibit.

"The exhibit was inspired by the blogs "Fuck Yeah Hard Femme" and "Fuck Yeah Subversive Kawaii" that depict people who live the Hard Femme lifestyle," says Sharp. "It was also inspired by all of the amazing femme artists I know!"

"Not to be mistaken with the typical femme,” says the Urban Dictionary, the Hard Femme persona “describes herself as ‘queer’, is political, looks more feminine than masculine, and if prompted, can kick some serious ass. She doesn't need to ‘wear the pants’ in a relationship. The hard femme rules with a dress. She not only despises the gender binary, she works to dismantle it."

Sharp hopes that this exhibit will change some ideas about femininity and masculinity in the community.

"Hopefully this exhibit will help the Grand Rapids community to stop correlating weakness with femininity," she says. "It will show them that strength can be glittery and covered in makeup."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.