On a night devoted to ogling wealthy celebrities while they attend a party most of us will never see—the annual Met Gala—Cara Delevingne’s white bulletproof-esque vest, with “Peg the Patriarchy” printed in red lettering on the front, was one of the most talked-about ensembles.
The vest is by Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who also designed the “We Should All Be Feminists” shirt for Dior’s 2017 spring collection. But the trademark holder for the phrase “Peg the Patriarchy,” Luna Matatas—an independent artist, sex educator, and queer woman of color—claims that it’s a direct rip-off of her own apparel line. (Pegging, for the uninitiated, is a sex act where one partner wears a strap-on dildo and penetrates the other—usually referring to anal sex.)
Matatas said she found out about the event at the same time as everyone else. “I was teaching a kink class online and I went to Twitter to share how fun it was, that’s when I saw mentions and tags of me on the photo of Cara wearing a vest with Peg the Patriarchy on it,” she told me.
Matatas registered her trademark phrase “Peg the Patriarchy” in 2015.
At first, she said, she was surprised at how far the phrase has traveled into mainstream culture. “Then I realized how impactful it is to have your art shared without credit to you. Especially in communities with more power and influence, and on white cis bodies,” Matatas said. “It would’ve been so easy to credit me and to lift each other up through the message of dismantling patriarchy… As a queer woman of colour, I thrive in community with people of all genders committed to fighting patriarchy.”
Delevingne is the co-owner of sexual wellness brand Lora DiCarlo. “If anyone doesn’t know what this word is, you’re going to have to look it up because I’m not going to explain it,” Delevingne said on the red carpet. It seems like a lot of people did: Searches for the word “peg” spiked dramatically after Delevingne’s Gala appearance on Monday night.
“It’s about women empowerment—equality, gender equality, you know—it’s a bit like ‘stick it to the man,'” Delevingne said of the statement on her vest. In an Instagram post, Matatas said that Peg the Patriarchy is about “subversion, not about an anal sex act and not about men. It’s a metaphor for subverting the system that requires subservience within a gender binary.”
This isn’t the first time “Peg the Patriarchy” has been used without Matatas’ permission, she said, and after last night, it’s already getting ripped off by others: A white tank top with “Peg The Patriarchy” that’s listed as the “Cara Delevingne MET Gala Shirt” is available on Etsy for $26.
Dior, Delevingne’s representatives, and Lora DiCarlo did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s requests for comment. Matatas said she contacted Delevingne, but hasn’t heard back. “As a small business, I don’t have a lot of resources to defend this, despite owning the trademark,” she said. “So, I hope Delevingne sees the value in supporting creators, because it takes nothing away from her outfit to do so.”
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