It's Women's Day!
Let's Talk About The
Male Gaze.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Mario Tama / Getty Images 

As Women's Day was quickly approaching, the team at Foursided began to toss around ideas about how we could address the issues of women's rights and sexual harassment that have been appearing so often in politics and the media. In our stores, we sell several products promoting the idea of gender equality replacing the patriarchal society we live in today. We invited guest blogger, employee, and new mother Kate Carson-Groner to shed some light on why we sell pro-feminism products. Read on with open ears and an open mind - and men, be ready to check yourself.


Hey there, Gents (and by gents I mean cisgender men).  Let’s talk.  And by talk I mean, you just read this for a minute and then you can go back to growing a beard or cooking dinner or playing an instrument.  Or anything else that you can do.  Because you can do literally anything, and the whole world reminds you of this every time you turn on a TV or look at a magazine or surf the web or absorb an advertisement of any kind.

Feminism has been getting a lot of press lately, and rightly so.  We women are EVERYWHERE.  I even read somewhere that literally no humans could be born without women which blew my lady mind so hard I had to go bake cupcakes while working out on an elliptical. Exactly one woman has been a major-party nominee for President in the history of our country, and she almost* won!  We are practically taking over everything. And, considering you are reading a blog from a company in Chicago that does custom framing and sells left-leaning cards and art pieces, you are probably excited about the changes.  I bet you call yourself a feminist.  I dare say you voted for that major party nominee and were UTTERLY SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED when she didn’t** win.  I bet you posted angrily about it on social media.  And maybe you even marched.  But in doing all this, I’m guessing you experienced a strange new sensation.  It wasn’t about you.

If you’re still reading this, CONGRATULATIONS!  Because I just said something wasn’t about you and you stuck around.  I am so proud.  Here’s something that smells of tobacco smoke, old books, pine, and vanilla for you to put in your man cave.

But anyway, back to the land of “not about you.” It has been brought to our attention that some of you may be offended by certain items we stock (Oh crap, it’s already about you again).  Specifically, a card that says “Fuck your male gaze.”  [} Yeesh. That is some harsh language to be printed on a piece of paper that you have a choice to buy or not. That must feel very oppressive. Fortunately, “the male gaze” is not just the act of men looking at things, but rather a fairly crucial concept within feminist theory.  No one wants to rip your eyes out. Well maybe someone does--I don’t know you personally--but I promise you that we here at Foursided have no general desire to harm you or your ability to see.  

The concept of the male gaze is that cisgendered straight men’s perspectives are unfairly overrepresented in media. Specifically, it originated in the context of filmmaking, and said that if a male character viewed a woman in a sexualized context, then the audience viewed her the same way thanks to the male gaze of the character, the usually male director, and the usually male writer. If you’ve been reading the news lately, you may have noticed that unwanted sexualization of women and men is kind of a hot topic right now (I mean it’s a big part of the news cycle, not a novelty t-shirt and chain necklace shop in an early 2000s suburban shopping mall.) The floodgates have opened and the deeply-hidden unwanted sexual advances that have been endured for decades, centuries, and millennia are pouring out into the public with fervor. It’s overwhelming and thrilling and sad.  And, for me personally, it has resulted in a general “fuck it” attitude that I can’t seem to shake. So, dear reader, please take comfort in the fact that “Fuck Your Male Gaze” and other such items are simply saying “Dismantle Institutionalized Sexism,” which is a sentiment that you can hopefully agree with.  

The irony is not lost on me that I spent an entire blog post trying to rationalize feminism to take care of masculine feelings. This is proof that the male gaze exists, because I am catering to it. I hope that your takeaway can be that just because something isn’t about you, or even FOR you, that doesn’t mean it is insulting to you.  I may not buy a card that says “I love my Adam’s apple” because I don’t have one.  But that also doesn’t mean that I would be insulted that someone made or stocked or bought that card.  

*she won

**Like, really.  She fucking won.  And we’ll never "just get over it."

Author: Kate Carson-Groner

Make it Pop! Roy Lichtenstein's "Masterpiece"

At Foursided we love to work with bold, in-your-face graphics! When Ivan and Jennifer brought in a large art print of Masterpiece by iconic pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, we knew we wanted to have some fun with it. Ivan got the print from the Art Institute when they hosted the traveling Lichtenstein retrospective back in 2012. He knew it was time to get it framed when Jennifer revealed on a recent date to the Art Institute how much she loves the artist.

Initially they explored a very simple frame design consisting of a basic matte black frame and no mat, however once we pulled some other frame samples with mats out for her, it became clear how much matting combined with the perfect frame can really dial up the final presentation.

Once they saw that we had a mat that closely matched the blue in the image, it was meant to be. In the end, the bold, blue mat combined with a stark, glossy white frame highlighted the modern, comic-book style elements of the work, making it POP!  

Deciding on mat size is a combination of instinct, intent and intensity. Every piece of art has a unique solution that we'll explore all day for the best solution. This is the fun of framing. The perfect mat size for this turned out to be a classic 2 inches. Any wider and it would have started to overshadow and compete with the art. We landed the plane by installing the encapsulated mat, glass, art and backing into our custom glossy, flawless white frame.

The finished work, with it's vivid primary colors, shows how even if a work is already vibrant, the frame job can be vibrant too! Together, this piece is giving us some seriously bold vibes and satisfying our love for art and comic books! Ahhhh...and the framing too!     

Framing or displaying the artist that you connect with is a complement to your individuality, creativity, and growth as a human. It tells onlookers, 'Hey, I'm more than what meets the eye. I'm a thoughtful and artistic being'. ...Or you could simply staple gun Monet's 'Water Lilies' to your wall and call it a day. We've done that, too. 

Maker's Spotlight: Marcy Davy

If you've stopped by lately, you've probably noticed these gorgeous new screen print additions we've added to our shelves. Each one of Marcy Davy's pieces are handmade from start to finish with the intent of providing original and attainable work for the modern home. Her designs are inspired by the stories found in flora and fauna, folk art and vintage design. We've been drooling over her pieces since they arrived, so we caught her on a break from her busy schedule to chat about her work. 

Q: What inspired you to start making?

Marcy: Making things has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was born lucky to a very creative and talented mama who always had a project for my sisters and I to work on and supplies to share with us. Nature, in one way or another, has always been an inspiration to me. Collecting, cataloging and drawing beautiful organic forms is my meditation and has always been such a big part of my life it feels as necessary as fresh air and water. I will get an itch to draw that must be scratched and without it I would be lost!  



Q: What does a typical work day look like for you? 

Marcy: I wear a lot of hats on most typical days. Mornings are for coffee and catching up on email, afternoons are all about printing and packing orders, and usually I work on new designs in the evening. I also try to squish in bike rides on wooded trails, backyard bonfires and cocktails with friends whenever I can on work days.  

Q: Do you have a particular piece that is extra meaningful for you?

Marcy: So many of my prints are special to me. Landscapes like 'say yes to adventure' and 'sweet wilderness' have been based on beautiful spots I've traveled to and they remind me of dreamy sunsets in the Florida Keys or cliff side log cabins in Kentucky every time I see them. I also have a series of prints spurred by our current political climate, and I think they will always remind me of a brave choice I made to do what I think is right when it comes to my business instead of what's safe. I am currently working on some designs that have helped crystallize my own spiritual connections to nature and I know when finished they will be some of my most personal and most meaningful work to date.

Q: Describe your studio. Is there anything that's always around? 

Marcy: I work out of a home studio in my basement. It is not a sun drenched dream space by any stretch of the imagination, but it is my little Fraggle Rock and I love working down here. There's almost always music on, every genre from classic rock to old Dolly Parton to my favorite indie bands. If I am printing a large edition I'll put on podcasts or audiobooks once I get that first perfect print and can go into autopilot mode.  

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring makers? 

Marcy: Put your work out there and worry about having everything absolutely perfect later. Nothing will ever be perfect and if you navigate the waters of selling your craft with flexibility, chances are good your target will be constantly moving anyway. Fail with gusto because you will learn so much from it, most importantly that failure is never the end of the world you pictured in your mind. Out of all of the logs of determination on the fire, the ones that have burned the longest and brightest for me were born out of failure and heartbreak, not success.  

Make sure to stop by and check out Marcy's awesome prints! OR click here to shop her products on our web store.