Girl Germs posters offer a critical response to the issues of safe sex, HIV/AIDS, reproductive rights, sex education, and sexual orientation by bringing young women's voices back into the dialogue. The texts empower young women who make the choice to be sexual by providing supportive information and telephone numbers for additional resources. The photographs portray young women as empowered, not victimized. This project seeks to change society by changing both the ways in which girls think about and negotiate sexuality and the manner in which society views and treats young women. The posters were distributed to health clinics and places teens frequent, as well as being wheat-pasted in city streets and (illicitly) posted on mass transit. They occasionally appeared in, or near, art galleries.
The Girl Germs poster project was initiated by Jeanette May as a founding member of the Coalition for Positive Sexuality (CPS). CPS is a grassroots, progressive, sex-education organization providing teens with sexuality and safe-sex information that is frank, pro-choice, and pro-lesbian/gay/ bisexual. The goal of the Girl Germs poster project was to produce public art works that influence social change. Artistic works of this nature are only successful when created with the support and input of the community they intend to serve. Thus, Girl Germs needs the backing of a group like CPS to provide resources, credibility, distribution channels, and funding access. The posters were also informed by an ever-changing group of teenage girls who functioned as project advisors, models, and focus group members.
Girl Germs, 1996-99 © Jeanette May
These posters were off-set printed in an edition of 1000.
Poster size 18 x 24".
The informational text around the border of each poster appears in both English and Spanish.
The Girl Germs project was made possible, in part, by grants to the Coalition for Positive Sexuality (CPS) from the Girl's Best Friend Foundation and the Ms. Foundation. You may learn more about CPS by visiting their website: www.positive.org