"Image Credit: Carol Rossetti
When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would become.
Thousands of shares throughout the world later, the appeal of Rosetti’s work is clear. Much like the street art phenomenon Stop Telling Women To Smile, Rossetti’s empowering images are the kind you want to post on every street corner, as both a reminder and affirmation of women’s bodily autonomy.
"It has always bothered me, the world’s attempts to control women’s bodies, behavior and identities," Rossetti told Mic via email. "It’s a kind of oppression so deeply entangled in our culture that most people don’t even see it’s there, and how cruel it can be."
Rossetti’s illustrations touch upon an impressive range of intersectional topics, including LGBTQ identity, body image, ageism, racism, sexism and ableism. Some characters are based on the experiences of friends or her own life, while others draw inspiration from the stories many women have shared across the Internet.
"I see those situations I portray every day," she wrote. "I lived some of them myself."
Despite quickly garnering thousands of enthusiastic comments and shares on Facebook, the project started as something personal — so personal, in fact, that Rossetti is still figuring out what to call it. For now, the images reside in albums simply titled “WOMEN in english!" or "Mujeres en español!" which is fitting: Rossetti’s illustrations encompass a vast set of experiences that together create a powerful picture of both women’s identity and oppression.
One of the most interesting aspects of the project is the way it has struck such a global chord. Rossetti originally wrote the text of the illustrations in Portuguese, and then worked with an Australian woman to translate them to English. A group of Israeli feminists also took it upon themselves to create versions of the illustrations in Hebrew. Now, more people have reached out to Rossetti through Facebook and offered to translate her work into even more languages. Next on the docket? Spanish, Russian, German and Lithuanian.
It’s an inspiring show of global solidarity, but the message of Rossetti’s art is clear in any language. Above all, her images celebrate being true to oneself, respecting others and questioning what society tells us is acceptable or beautiful.
"I can’t change the world by myself," Rossetti said. "But I’d love to know that my work made people review their privileges and be more open to understanding and respecting one another."”
From the site: All images courtesy Carol Rossetti and used with permission. You can find more illustrations, as well as more languages, on her Facebook page.
"I learned at a very young age how fragile life is. When I was 15 years old I found out I had a brain tumor. The doctors said I had a very small chance that I could outlive it. The only alternative was to get on a long waiting list for open face surgery in hopes of removing it. I guess the first blessing happened on my 16th birthday, when the surgery was scheduled. I found out shortly after waking from the surgery that they went into the palette of the roof of my mouth instead of opening up my entire face. I guess you could say that was the second blessing. But the real blessing was that I overcame it completely and I survived something that most people never live through. I was close to death and I escaped it, and now I celebrate life because of it.
I wanted to be free. After this literal escape from death, I had some challenges at home and left at a very young age to spend my teenage years literally on the streets. I started with a hitchhiking tour all through Canada. Essentially I was homeless, sleeping on rooftops and under bridges and free. I met tons of interesting people, and experienced life to the fullest. Surviving the death sentence of a brain tumor was like defying death. I felt like the walking dead. I wasn’t supposed to be here. The doctors had told me there was no hope. But here I was, alive and breathing and being so free to live my life. When you live on the streets, you really appreciate just being alive. On the streets, you don’t have first or last names. So they started to call me Zombie, a person who is living but so close to death.”
He has a beautiful smile
he has a beautiful everything