11 March 2007

A feminist rant

I went to an Arts Festival yesterday. I really liked it. But I wasn't expecting the heat and got a little bit sunburned and found out that mineral makeup does have some SPF, but it's not terribly high. I wandered around with my mom and brother and couldn't help but notice - and I'm not generally very prudish when it comes to art - but I couldn't help but notice the abundance of female parts. It was a little alarming. And I'm not just talking about breasts - which were more than adequately represented - I'm talking about the more mysterious end. Now, I'm usually very opened minded when it comes to art, and can see the beauty in plenty of nude art, but I am dead set against the exploitation of women and their mysteries. Or of men and their mysteries for that matter. And I don't use the word mystery because I am naive about anatomy or think bodies are mysterious, but because I'm trying to be polite. In this age where anything goes, we allow people to cheapen things that are beautiful and special and sacred in the name of art or freedom of expression. I'm not about to advocate taking any one's freedom away, I just ask that you not set up your exploitative genitalia sculptures in a public place. Keep them in a private gallery where I don't have to see them and we'll be alright.

My brother and I were discussing this as we were walking along and I pointed out that there were absolutely no artistic representations of male mysteries anywhere to be found. And not only that, but a particularly graphic sculptor had male figures and female figures done in the same style, but the male figures were carved with speedo-like coverings and the female figures were fully exposed. Why? I happen to think that the female body is very beautiful, but did he create them this way because he thinks the female is more beautiful than the male? Or was it because in his heart of hearts he has less respect for the female form than the male?

Another artist had all-female sculptures where the heads and torsos were shrunken, but the more mysterious regions were enormous. I couldn't help but comment that if someone had sculpted male forms in the same manner, there would be no way that they would be allowed to exhibit at a famous festival. They would be criticized for being too inappropriate and/or erotic among other things.

I'm tired of the abundance of double standards in the world. I've always loved romantic comedies in spite of myself. But I'm noticing a pattern: the strong, interesting, funny, usually very successful woman who can't find a man/they meet/they have conflict/she changes herself or gives up something she loves or sells out in some way or settles all in the name of marriage/she wins him/they live happily? ever after. And the man is usually represented as being some incredible catch - usually it's mostly just because he's single. Um, hello?

I was talking with my cousin Brandon last night about a girl he just started dating and he asked me how a beautiful, intelligent, out-going, educated, interesting, and strong willed woman makes it to 30 without so much as a proposal. (He says she reminds him of me. ;) And I told him what I've experienced in my own life and stories I've heard in the shelter.

Men have told me that they are drawn to my spunk - my forthright manner and my strong personality. But this has also been what turns them off. Initially they think it's great, but then they realize that this isn't my catch-a-man-personality that I only pull out on the weekends. What you see is what you get. Then they run away. Suckers.
Women in the shelter have told me that they "used to be" spunky, strong, independent, funny... and that is what drew their husbands/boyfriends to them. So why did these men beat these qualities out of them?

I don't know!

We all know men who date younger women because they are malleable (creeps). We all know that there are control freaks who victimize timid women (evil bastards). But I know there are plenty of great guys out there. I am hopeful! But I still don't get it. If you have any insight, please let me know.

Here's my old list from a post I wrote in 12/2004, but it still applies. Here goes:

"What I require from a partner in a relationship are the things I require of myself. I may not meet all of these requirements, but there is a goal or a desire, and that's important too.

1. Faith. Not just belief. Belief + Action = Faith. Faith is an action word. Just like love. It's so much more than just professing to believe or to love, you must act on these things. I know that if you have true faith, you have a capacity for true love. Whether you realize it yet or not.

2. Passion. Please be passionate about something. What drives you, motivates you, inspires you? It can be me, but it needs to be something else too.

3. Integrity. Be a man of your word. Mean it, say it, do it, be it. Be true to me and true to yourself and it'll be all good.

4. Loyalty. Respect my trust and confidences. Once I let you in, you're really in and there is nothing worse than a betrayal of confidence.

5. Adoration. If you don't absolutely adore me, please don't waste my time.

6. Independence. Please be yourself. Keep being yourself. People change in relationships, just don't try too hard to meet anyone else's expectations - especially mine.

7. Tact. Ok, I know ya'll are thinking about all the times I've belched out loud or announced a fart, but I'm talking about true tact. Knowing how to act in every situation so that the people around you feel respected, confident, secure. Knowing when to speak up, step in, bow out, or clam up. Skill and grace when dealing with others.

8. Unconditional Love. None of this, "If only you would...were...did..." Either you love someone or you don't. Love isn't conditional. Don't ask me to be something I'm not and I'll return the favor. "

I'm done with this rant for now. Feel free to share your insight into my ramblings.


xander said...

I was randomly hitting "next blog" and started reading yours. In response to the artists that have lots of female nudes and not many males. In the case of male sculptors, eh.. Dont give them so much credit as producing anything resembling worthwhile art. Lots seem to be perves (as a photographer I meet a lot of people in the art scene, when they're not trying to come off as whatever they're trying to come off as, which usually results in being an artsy fartsy prude lol, and thats what a lot of it is about, them being perves and attempting to justify a sculpture as art :).
The one sculpture you described with huge anatomy and small brain buckets sounded interesting, perhaps a commentary on a sex-centric society? The guy that gave his male a speedo and female none, maybe he was afraid that if the male was exposed and not huge it would reflect that he had a small mystery, or if it was huge people would think his mystery tiny and he was over compensating, and on and on with possibilities. As for any female sculptors in the mix, I have no idea what their thought process might be, other than making fun of male sculptors?. If I could figure women out, I wouldn't be parousing blogs before passing out I'd be talking to a wife. I dunno what to tell ya other than art is subjective so whatever you like is whats good.. and everything else is crap!
Other than that. I've got 1-7.. not 8. :) Nice guys be out there. If only we could find the nice girls.
have a great day.

Nessa said...

Welcome Xander! Thanks for commenting and thanks for the insight!

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