Mammary Glands Deserve Respect – Along With The Rest Of Us
My mammary glands are complex and they deserve respect.
So says artist, Julia Cahill. “Breasts in the Press” is her commentary on their over-sexualized media image. And what better musical accompaniment than her rewrite of the black-eyed peas, “My Humps,” she adds?
Too often over-sexualization leads women and girls to become victims. Kelly Blevins’ “Ghosts” takes us there. Describing her painting she explains, “The hand of a ghost across the neck represents physical, mental and emotional abuse and how it becomes a permanent imprint in us.”
Or, in Rebecca Faust’s “Bound Feet” we hear this voice:
She’d have beaten her silent, but the girl was already obedient,
understanding that nothing inflames a man like disfigurement
or any other proof of a wife’s subjugation;
the need to be carried by opulent litter from place to place,
how if his paper house should catch fire,
she could not take 10 steps to safety but would burn.
Sometimes women can feel bound and free all at once. Artist, Eileen Hoffman, considers the color pink. Pink may hem us in, demanding femininity. Yet the color also “celebrates the power and brilliance of women within the construct of sexism,” she says.
Interesting she should say that since this country once held a great debate over which colors should be assigned to girls or boys. Pink is best for boys, some claimed, because it is so robust. And blue is so delicate that it is a better fit for girls.
Each of these artists, along with more than 100 others, share their art, their voices, and their relationship to feminism in the 2013 edition of “Les Femmes Folles: The Women.”
In some ways women are more bound than men, but in other ways, more free. Women are granted freedom to experience and express vulnerably and emotion along with strength. And where power is stifled we just move through a backdoor. All the while, oppression forges fortitude. Omaha artist, Cassie Clark observes,
To me there is something about women that is stronger, more beautiful — and yet more strange, more poisonous and alluring. There is a complexity to women’s minds and bodies that you don’t often find in a man.
“The Betties” bandmate, Heather Berney, adds:
A woman can be whatever the hell she wants. She can be delicate. She can be strong. She can be mean. And she can be beautiful. But she’s always and unabashedly a woman.
Or, male and female may dance together says vintage jazz dancer, Josephine Langbehn:
In swing dancing, the woman has as much voice as the man while dancing. It’s not a male dominant dance. I feel the dance is about creative expression, how you connect with your partner, and also how you both connect to the music. The dance is a dialogue between two people and both get to participate in that conversation freely. Anyone can swing dance; it doesn’t matter your age, color, orientation, all that matters is you have fun.
From the dance of man and woman, woman may become the fertile mother. Who, Alexis Krasilovsky suggests, should not take sh- from anyone:
Inana in Iraq
I’m the goddess of heaven and earth,
And this is my Mesopotamia.
The Tigris and Euphrates
Pour out of me.
My navel’s a primeval sea,
My ovaries, syzygies
So, you wanna fuck with me?
And whatever your dreams, actress, Misty Chaffins can only say,
“Just go for it! You have no idea what you are able to do if you never try!”
Les Femmes Folles: The Women. Edited by Sally Deskins, the anthology is available for purchase here.
Posted on May 9, 2014, in body image, feminism, objectification, sexism, women and tagged body image, feminism, feminist artists, Les Femmes Folles: The Women, objectification, Sally Deskins, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.