Rebel Girls: A Survey of Canadian Feminist Videotapes 1974–1988

Rebel Girls: A Survey of Canadian Feminist Videotapes 1974–1988 was an exhibition curated by Susan Ditta[1] at the National Gallery of Canada that ran from 14 February 1989 to 21 May 1989 as part of the Video & Film by Artists Series.[2][3]

The exhibition travelled in Canada from 7 June 1989 to 15 February 1990.

The exhibition was a major survey, featuring nearly 16 hours of running time, covering 14 years of production, and providing an "opportunity to gain an historical perspective on the use of the medium by Canadian feminist film producers."[4]

Exhibition detailsEdit

The curator used the exhibition to address women's position in television and Canadian video production.[1]

The chronological start of the show was Lisa Steele’s piece Birthday Suit – with scars and defects, produced in 1974. The other pieces, of which there were 32 tapes (counting Anne Ramsden’s trilogy Manufactured Romance as a single work), were organized by theme into seven programmes: The Body Politic, Requiem for Romance, The Personal is Political, Memory, Mythology, Desire, and She Works Hard for Her Money.[4]

A common theme amongst many of the tapes is "elements of feminist video intervention (recording our histories, the personal as political, reclaiming the female body as subject rather than spectacle)".[4] Other issues covered by the video work include lesbian sex, nudity, sexual harassment, and "slashing".

Videos, artwork, and artistsEdit

Title Date Artist
Concerned Aboriginal Women 1981 Amelia Productions
Playing With Fire 1986 Marusya Bociurkiw
Scars 1987 Lorna Boschman
Delicate Issue 1979 Kate Craig
Heroics: Definitions 1984 Sara Diamond
Chaperons Rouges 1979 Helen Doyle and Hélène Bourgault
No Small Change: The Story of the Eaton's Strike 1985 Emma Productions
Relative Activities 1984 Paula Fairfield
The Last Screening Room: A Valentine 1984 Vera Frenkel
On Fait Toutes Du Show Business 1984 Nicole Giguere
Quebecoiserient 1976 Diane Heffernan and Suzanne Vertue
Hormone Warzone 1984 Hummer Sisters
Pure Virtue 1985 Tanya Mars
Frankly, Shirley 1987 Marg Moores
The Fleck Women 1978 Kem Murch
Life on Our Planet 1987 Tess Payne
Comptines 1986 Diane Poitras
Manufactured Romance 1985 Anne Ramsden
Birthday Suit – with scars and defects 1974 Lisa Steele
Hot Chicks on TV 1986 Elizabeth Vander Zaag
1932 1988 Susan Rynard



  1. ^ a b Susan, Ditta (1 January 1989). "Rebel Girls: A Survey of Canadian Feminist Videotapes = Les Rebelles: Un aperçu des oeuvres vidéo de féministes canadiennes". (in French). Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Rebel Girls: A Survey of Canadian Feminist Videotapes 1974–1988. [Video & Film by Artists Series] – Exhibitions – National Gallery of Canada | National Gallery of Canada". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  3. ^ Lerner, Loren (1997). Canadian film and video: a bibliography and guide to the literature. Toronto u.a.: Univ. of Toronto Pr. p. 126. ISBN 9780802029881. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Conley, Christine (Fall 1989). "Hot tramp, I love you so!: Rebel girls: A survey of Canadian Feminist Video Tapes, curated by Susan Ditta, National Gallery of Canada, February 14 – May 21". Fuse 13 (1+2).
  5. ^ "Critical Writing Index Article | Vtape". Retrieved 4 March 2016.