I’ve intended to write something about my art in the context of feminism for a long time now. This is not easy because I know very little about what the term even means, aside from the desire to have equality between men and women in our culture.
The press gives a lot of attention to women being paid 30% less than men for the same work. When I talk to women about this there is a lot of frustration, resentment, and so on. However, inevitably the discussion comes to a silent end when I point out that one solution is for all those men to take a 30% pay cut. Often there is a look of horror, as I can see some of these women calculating the impact that would have on them, given their husband’s salary . . . but the issue of a culture of “wanting more” is a whole other topic, except to say that the aspect appears to be truly “gender neutral?
In reflecting back, I’m very happy to see how wonderfully balanced the years were, at least in terms of my time spent with both men and women . . . to explain that more fully means adding tons of stories . . . that’s for a book, not a blog. The truth is that on some subconscious level I’ve always put women (as a group) on a pedestal – somehow at least slightly superior to men – perhaps the real source of hope for a better future?
I no longer feel that way as women become more like men overall. For example, I see no reason to celebrate the so-called gender equality in some countries’ militarization. And with so many big issues confronting humanity, are any discrepancies between the sexes at the root of it all? I really have no idea, not even sure if it’s the right question, not sure if the “root” itself is even an issue today.
Back To the Art
How does this relate to my art? Well if you’ve taken any time to view much of it, overall there is a major emphasis on the feminine form. Very often it comes up in one-on-one discussions, except when I get that a sense that the whole issue of the sensuality of my art can be too much for someone to talk about. That happens often too. That can be a little depressing for me, as I know that there are some who look at my art and somehow come to a conclusion that the “artist must be some kind of sexist” . . . I’m not sure there is another more troubling accusation . . . but I make no apologies for anything about my art.
The truth is I do it all with no intent, though I suppose that needs to be qualified. Years ago, when I noticed how “biased” toward the feminine my art was becoming, I tried to counter that by consciously introducing more masculine forms into this or that piece. It felt forced. With a little work I could have attained more of that kind of balance, but I chose not to . . . that’s not the kind of force I want to be with me!
My art is what it is. As for the male/ female issues, while I believe in equality in principle, I also cherish the differences. Frankly though, I’d much rather just continue to paint rather to analyze this situation . . . that part is reserved for my writing, and was central to my first novel . . . so much fun in fiction . . . or was it really fiction? hmmm
Some Help From the Missing Links
Finally, I’d like to share a couple of links with you here. The first is an interview with Gloria Steinem on Charlie Rose. She says some stuff better than I do, and I was quite taken about her comments on some of the ancient cultures, ones that had no words for “female” or “male”. They also seemed to appreciate the significance of circles, as opposed to hierarchies (pyramids). This topic that has been a huge passion of mine . . . oddly that started when I began my transition into a person immersed in the creation of art.
The second link shows some music and dancing by people with a Kwayan African background. This ancient culture is one of the two that Gloria notes as being “gender neutral”. It’s a little surreal at times, especially with the shots of the guy on the organ wearing the socks. But let me rephrase that . . . the person playing the organ . . . big foot? ha ha