Planned Parenthood is vital to the health and well-being of women. For nearly 100 years, it has served as an invaluable source of education, medical care, and support for women, their families, and their communities. Offering so many of us what cannot be found elsewhere, PP has continuously sustained and enriched countless lives around the globe. For many women, including me, it isn't just a place to obtain an annual gynecological exam or contraceptives, it is also a primary-care provider, a safe space that allows for us to not only stay healthy, but thrive. Despite the obvious value of Planned Parenthood, its advocacy for women's health care and dedication to offering quality medical resources has relentlessly been jeopardized over the past year due to the blind passion of the conservative right and the misogynistic policies and rhetoric of male politicians. In a world where women's health isn't viewed as a priority, it is easy to feel frustrated, angry, and unsure of how to make to make a difference.
For close friends and creatives Natalia Mantini and Tallulah Willis, those feelings led to the inspiration for "Ours not yours." Their collaborative T-shirt and photography project boldly places women at its center and aims to take back our culture's conversation about women's health care and human rights. "We [wanted to] create something that we could sell so that we could raise money," Mantini explains. All the proceeds from the sale of their T-shirt will be donated to Planned Parenthood.
I got the chance to speak with Mantini and Willis a few hours after their project launched about why Planned Parenthood matters, what it was like collaborating with each other, and the changes that they'd like to see when it comes to women's health care.
Dianca Potts: How did this project get started?
Natalia Mantini: We'd been discussing the current state of what's going on with women's rights, Planned Parenthood, and the struggles that are really blatant now. We were talking about it pretty much every day, and it was feeling so unmanageable that I was like, How can we channel this into something positive that will benefit what we believe in, how can we make something positive out of it? It's really easy to just feel overwhelmed and scared and angry, so I was like, "Let's do something, even if it's just making a T-shirt and donating the money, because doing something small is better than doing nothing."
DP: How did you come up with the slogan "Ours not yours"?
Tallulah Willis: That came from a brainstorming session that we'd been having over a couple of days. So we were bouncing around a few ideas, and that one just felt really right. It's simple and clear but evokes what we're trying to say about taking back the discussion, because it's our bodies and that was the basis of the design. We played around with the idea of more imagery, but then we decided that just making the slogan the main focal point was a powerful thing.
DP: Natalia, in a recent interview with Dazed , you described Tallulah's drawings as "vulnerable," "relatable," and "very human," which are three aspects that perfectly describe the portraits for this project. Why did you and Tallulah decide to go with portraiture?
NM: I'm a photographer, and I'm really into portraits, so once we knew that we were going to do a T-shirt, I was like, "OK, we should definitely get other women involved [and have them] share their experience. I also felt that it was important to get each subject in their space. I went to everyone's home, and I wanted to get them just as natural and comfortable as possible, to make it candid. It was really amazing, because I spent at least an hour with each subject, and we just had honest and inspiring conversations.