Stars, artists and activists are entering the ultra-masculine market for digital works. The new parity challenge?
“Do women have to get naked to enter the Met?” Asked the American women’s collective Guerrilla Girls thirty years ago, a provocative way of pointing out the under-representation of female artists in museums around the world. and notably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2022, the question is still valid: not only do male artists represent 85% of the works exhibited in museums, but also, and above all, their productions sell for twice as much on average as those of women. The emergence of digital art, a new playground still on the fringes but open to all, gave hope for more equality – and an opportunity for women artists to seize.
Nevertheless, at present, the figures of the NFT market (the non-fungible tokens, these digital works of which we buy the property) are even more distressing than those of traditional art: women represent only 16% of creations and barely 5% of sales. It’s all the more unfortunate that in a few years, the phenomenon has taken on an unprecedented scale: NFT sales reached 17.7 billion dollars worldwide last year, 200 times more than in 2020. According to projections, the global market could approach 150 billion dollars by 2026. Hence a general movement led in all countries by entrepreneurs, activists and celebrities, figures of female empowerment, who are mobilizing and multiplying initiatives so that women can take the NFT wave better. And that this page of history cannot be written without them – including the future of the Internet.
In video, women in digital: the key figures
A revolt within the revolution
Because the window of opportunity is here, and the moment, indeed, is quite unique. Firstly, because the creators of NFTs are not required to reveal their identity or gender, women have, for the first time perhaps, the opportunity to embark on a space still free of discrimination and bias. they face in traditional sectors. But the movement is much broader and the stakes are both economic and societal. NFTs can become an opportunity for all women by boosting their investment capacity and, thereby, their autonomy, their power… This possibility of multifaceted empowerment crystallizes the energies of the moment.
Already last January, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Mila Kunis took part in a giant rally organized online, on Zoom, by BFF, an ultra-connected collective created to encourage women to get into NFTs and to invest “this world dominated by women”. people and cryptocurrency. “We saw a lot of ‘brothers’ go there all together and earn a lot of money, launched Gwyneth Paltrow, during this meeting which brought together more than 15,000 women. We have as much right as them to be part of this universe.” Walking the talk, the actress has herself acquired an avatar from NFT’s collection Bored Ape Yacht Club, representing a monkey with blond hair and blue eyes dressed in a marinière. This collection has had worldwide success, especially after being dubbed by many celebrities, such as Serena Williams, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Eminem and Justin Bieber. In the process, Gwyneth Paltrow also replaced the photo on her Twitter account with a work acquired from World of Women, and since then has highlighted – in almost every tweet – a digital work that she sometimes offers to her followers from to win. The message is clear: crossing the threshold of this new world can be fun, easy, and even uninhibited, like the flashy, colorful, sometimes even crazy universe of these works! Succeed differently – easily? – Culture change also starts here.
Change the game, change the look.
“We are conditioned as women to fear risk,” added actress Mila Kunis at the same conference. Men make money, and we save it. I too want to take risks and see what happens. And show this example to my children. Along with her husband Ashton Kutcher, the actress funded an animated series called Stoner Cats, available only through the purchase of NFT, which has already brought in $ 8 million in 2021. This is enough to disprove the received idea that women are too academic or too wise to invest in cryptocurrencies. Because if they take longer to enter the world of new technologies, they also make more informed choices. “Women tend to be more cautious than men in terms of investments, they like talking to other women or having a female ‘advisor’. But as soon as they have the answers to their questions and have done their research, they feel much more comfortable,” explains Glen Hardwick-Bruce, director of education at Christie’s, who teaches a course dedicated to NFTs. The teacher affirms it: after having had more men, half of his students are now women. Faced with the novelty, a form of sorority and female solidarity is set up.
And it is not superfluous: just consult the discussion forums dedicated to NFT on platforms like Reddit or Discord to realize that the communities involved in virtual art are still very macho. Omnipresence of a masculine and aggressive vocabulary, massive use of acronyms unknown to the general public which automatically exclude the uninitiated…, the “pizza geek” atmosphere of the whole thing helps to cool the best wishes. According to a recent study of 500 women, 82% of them believe that NFT campaigns target men more. Hence the importance of uniting to reverse the trend.
Education, sinews of war.
When Brit Morin and Jaime Schmidt, the two American entrepreneurs and investors who founded BFF, launched the collective last January, their mission was clear: to encourage women to take the plunge into Web3 and NFTs in order to change the culture of inside. They have been dubbed by 50 women leaders in cryptocurrencies and figures of venture capital, and now intend to evangelize the greatest number. “Education and content is our priority right now because to bring women into the next phase of this industry, they need to know the fundamentals,” says Brit Morin.
To have this expertise, it is still necessary to have access to knowledge. Rachel van der Nacht, a French visual artist based in New York, understood this well. The young woman thus joined forces this year with the cultural program Caché Life to create the very first NFT representing Jesus, in this case here… surfing (Surfin’Jesus). Work that she subsequently declined in twenty versions, varying styles and ethnic references. The profits from its sales were entirely donated to the Brooklyn Community Foundation in order to help the populations in difficulty of this district of New York. “It’s important to take your place as a woman, because this technology will become ubiquitous and you have to get used to it early,” says the artist. Crypto is still largely a masculine and tech universe, but things are changing! If we want it to be an opportunity and an inspiration for women, it must also be for those who really need it. Those whose lives they could completely change.” Like Rachel van der Nacht, several women have decided to enthusiastically support the NFT movement, with a feminist and inclusive vision. Overview of the most prominent current initiatives in the world.
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Empowerment and sorority: women are taking over NFTs
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