aside My art is female centric because I am a woman and my purpose is to express and inspire expression

 

Editor and Artist Charlotte Farhan
Editor and Artist Charlotte Farhan

 

As a woman, artist and editor of this magazine I decided I should take part in our ASLI movement for our first issue, in aid of International women’s day and our celebration of women.

So I decided to answer some of the questions we asked our artists. As well as show you my contribution of art on the topics raised in our campaign.

Firstly I will show you some of my work on the subjects discussed:

Here are two pieces which deal with violence against women:

You couldn't keep me down – By Charlotte Farhan Even after the blood and pain, you couldn't keep me down. Even after you told the world I was insane, you couldn't keep me down. Even when I cried and washed you away, you couldn't keep me down. Even when you lied and I prayed, you couldn't keep me down. Even though your age let you free from blame, you couldn't keep me down. Even though you claimed to be defamed and I was shamed, you couldn't keep me down. Even 15 years on and my heart is still maimed and you still remain the same, but I promise, you will never keep me down again.
You couldn’t keep me down – By Charlotte Farhan
Even after the blood and pain,
you couldn’t keep me down.
Even after you told the world I was insane, you couldn’t keep me down.
Even when I cried and washed you away,
you couldn’t keep me down.
Even when you lied and I prayed, you couldn’t keep me down.
Even though your age let you free from blame, you couldn’t keep me down.
Even though you claimed to be defamed and I was shamed, you couldn’t keep me down.
Even 15 years on and my heart is still maimed and you still remain the same, but I promise, you will never keep me down again.
Chained - By Charlotte Farhan I was chained by my fear, after you held me down. I was chained by your force, when my life was turned upside down. I was chained by peers and the social pressure to conform, with not wanting to be different or to cause a storm.  I was chained by my clothing, which was used against me, as well as my self loathing.  I was chained by the trauma, which haunts me to this day and the wish for life to serve you your karma will never go away. I was chained by you, by them, by me.  Chained by the idea that "I was asking for it"  I am still chained and wish to be free.
Chained – By Charlotte Farhan
I was chained by my fear, after you held me down.
I was chained by your force, when my life was turned upside down.
I was chained by peers and the social pressure to conform, with not wanting to be different or to cause a storm.
I was chained by my clothing, which was used against me, as well as my self loathing.
I was chained by the trauma, which haunts me to this day and the wish for life to serve you your karma will never go away.
I was chained by you, by them, by me.
Chained by the idea that “I was asking for it”
I am still chained and wish to be free.

Here is a piece on equal rights for women:

Patriarchal Slavery – By Charlotte Farhan This is symbolic of the enslavement of women and their sexuality by the prevalent patriarchal society which still dominates the world. Portraying women as morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men; seeing women as the property of men; It has been passed down through our history and many men in power have propagated and claimed that women's role in society was to reproduce and serve men in the household; and saw male domination of women as natural and virtuous. This still exists. Women have to be a certain ideal. Women are made to feel they are more or less according to their sexuality, reproduction, morals, work and faith. All whilst still being beautiful for male amusement.
Patriarchal Slavery – By Charlotte Farhan
This is symbolic of the enslavement of women and their sexuality by the prevalent patriarchal society which still dominates the world. Portraying women as morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men; seeing women as the property of men; It has been passed down through our history and many men in power have propagated and claimed that women’s role in society was to reproduce and serve men in the household; and saw male domination of women as natural and virtuous. This still exists. Women have to be a certain ideal. Women are made to feel they are more or less according to their sexuality, reproduction, morals, work and faith. All whilst still being beautiful for male amusement.

Here is are two piece on women and body image:

Candy Girl – By Charlotte Farhan This is a comment on the consequences of the over exposure and sexualisation which children are subjected to in our media. This directly has a negative impact on self-image and healthy development, self-image problems such as shame leading to depression and anxiety.
Candy Girl – By Charlotte Farhan
This is a comment on the consequences of the over exposure and sexualisation which children are subjected to in our media. This directly has a negative impact on self-image and healthy development, self-image problems such as shame leading to depression and anxiety.

 

The Way You Make Me Feel - By Charlotte Farhan From the collection ‘The Power of Women and Femininity’ 2013 This represents the healthy acceptance of my body with the love of my husband and myself which has been an on-going struggle throughout my life. Being healthy is beautiful whichever shape you are.
The Way You Make Me Feel – By Charlotte Farhan
From the collection ‘The Power of Women and Femininity’ 2013 This represents the healthy acceptance of my body with the love of my husband and myself which has been an on-going struggle throughout my life. Being healthy is beautiful whichever shape you are.

 

Here is a piece on gender stereotypes:

Female War - By Charlotte Farhan  "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist" (L. Susan Brown) This depicts the want for freedom with both men and women from the rigid gender roles that society has imposed upon them.  Our gender system has created oppression and the female war has a mission to overthrow this system by any possible means. We believe that we must wage a war against patriarchy and the gender system which confines us to these rigid social roles. We must completely reject these roles, all aspects of patriarchy.  The domination of women is the oldest and worst kind of oppression in the world. This is because it spans across the world oppressing women of different races, ethnicity, classes and culture.
Female War – By Charlotte Farhan
“as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist” (L. Susan Brown)
This depicts the want for freedom with both men and women from the rigid gender roles that society has imposed upon them.
Our gender system has created oppression and the female war has a mission to overthrow this system by any possible means. We believe that we must wage a war against patriarchy and the gender system which confines us to these rigid social roles. We must completely reject these roles, all aspects of patriarchy.
The domination of women is the oldest and worst kind of oppression in the world. This is because it spans across the world oppressing women of different races, ethnicity, classes and culture.

And finally I have done a few pieces on female empowerment and dis-empowerment:

Find Your Warrioress - By Charlotte Farhan Finding your inner warrioress as a women can be challenging in this world. This is an empowerment piece on how to channel this inner warrior and how to set her free. From the new collection - Amazons  This collection explores the idea of warrior women and the female hero. Female empowerment is something which interests me and captures my imagination. In a world predominantly ruled by the “male agenda” with patriarchal systems all around us, women are made to feel they have to “man up” to compete or participate in this day and age.  But there are women everywhere becoming warriors for their own female cause. Women do not need to adapt to male roles. Gender roles are a manufactured concept by our society. Amazonian feminism emphasizes female physical prowess as a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. From Amazonian tribes of women in Greek mythology, Suffragettes in the late 19th and early 20th century and the latest FEMEN movement which call themselves sextremists are political protest and gender protest movements challenging the hypocrisy and archaic ideologies of the “all boys club”. My army of Amazonian warrior women are an artistic statement and protest as well as a way to celebrate womanhood and the many strong warrior women I have admired and been inspired by. Each of my Amazons represent something about women’s rights and liberation.
Find Your Warrioress – By Charlotte Farhan
Finding your inner warrioress as a women can be challenging in this world. This is an empowerment piece on how to channel this inner warrior and how to set her free.
From the new collection – Amazons
This collection explores the idea of warrior women and the female hero.
Female empowerment is something which interests me and captures my imagination. In a world predominantly ruled by the “male agenda” with patriarchal systems all around us, women are made to feel they have to “man up” to compete or participate in this day and age.
But there are women everywhere becoming warriors for their own female cause. Women do not need to adapt to male roles. Gender roles are a manufactured concept by our society. Amazonian feminism emphasizes female physical prowess as a means to achieve the goal of gender equality.
From Amazonian tribes of women in Greek mythology, Suffragettes in the late 19th and early 20th century and the latest FEMEN movement which call themselves sextremists are political protest and gender protest movements challenging the hypocrisy and archaic ideologies of the “all boys club”.
My army of Amazonian warrior women are an artistic statement and protest as well as a way to celebrate womanhood and the many strong warrior women I have admired and been inspired by. Each of my Amazons represent something about women’s rights and liberation.
Infertility - By Charlotte Farhan This is an expressionist piece. Being a women and having fertility problems is a torturous emptiness which causes a feeling of unworthiness which is all consuming. This is my reflection and anger. My pain and constant struggle.  “On a planet where for thousands of years, even today, a woman's worth has been judged exclusively by the productivity of her womb, what the hell is the point of a barren woman?”  ― Elissa Stein and Susan Kim These are feeling which are not meant to insult but feeling which are inherently passed down through our species. I hope to be a Mother in any way I can.
Infertility – By Charlotte Farhan
This is an expressionist piece. Being a women and having fertility problems is a torturous emptiness which causes a feeling of unworthiness which is all consuming. This is my reflection and anger. My pain and constant struggle.
“On a planet where for thousands of years, even today, a woman’s worth has been judged exclusively by the productivity of her womb, what the hell is the point of a barren woman?”
― Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
These are feeling which are not meant to insult but feeling which are inherently passed down through our species. I hope to be a Mother in any way I can.

 

So lets take a look at those questions:

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Yes I would say I am a feminist, but I am a particular kind of feminist as I do not agree with the theories of all feminist movements. I am an anarchist feminist and this is due to the fact I am politically an anarchist so it follows suit that I would follow this stand point.

To put it in a simplified way it is best said by L. Susan Brown who claims that “as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist”.

 I am in general anti-authoritarianism, anti-capitalism and anti-oppressive, so it makes perfect sense that I would be a feminist in this dominant patriarchal world.

The development of sisterhood is a unique threat, for it is directed against the basic social and psychic model of hierarchy and domination…
Mary Daly

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I would say there are still women all over the world from all differing cultural and socio-economic backgrounds who feel they have to conform in order to get a head or to be taken seriously. This is for many reasons, such as lack of education being available for young girls, censorship to literature, art and general media, tradition and religious beliefs and the blatant male driven and male dominant industries which govern us all.

When I was a teenager I conformed in many ways but the one which is most disturbing in retrospect is that of me dumbing myself down to be more acceptable to boys and even girls. I have always been a deep thinker, raised by a French, Parisian, feminist Mother who taught me about human rights and philosophy from very early on, I often did not fit in during my schooling in  England. Thought of as odd, a bore or just a general kill joy, I soon learned when reaching secondary school that to be popular and attractive to the boys and girls I had to conform. No more discussing religion, politics, art and things that a 12 year old did not apparently discuss but instead be almost mute, listen to the boys, be in ore of their every move, watch them play sports instead of taking time for my own hobbies and studies. Dress a certain way, be a certain weight, like certain “popular” things. So I adapted and became very popular.

I did this “playing dumb” act until my early twenties occasionally revealing myself as a fake dummy but quickly putting my mask back on in case I was rumbled.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

I do not think we are equal, but so many groups of people aren’t. Women are not equal in their own eyes in many cases so this is where I feel we need to start. Empowering ourselves and each other is a great foundation to create change. My only experience of this is living in the world we do. I see it everyday in some way or another.  Take the wage gap for instance and the issue for Mothers wanting to work in the UK:

Women with two children in the UK can expect to earn 25% less than a childless woman. The gap was less than 10% in Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. In France, Italy and Denmark, women with two children could expect to earn slightly more than their childless counterparts.

British women are particularly badly hit, according to the authors, because the “welfare state of the UK emphasises individual freedom and provisions of daycare and after-school facilities enabling mothers to work full-time are lacking”.

Women who start families before the age of 25 “suffer a larger wage penalty”, while in general – and perhaps not surprisingly – the longer the period of time away from work, the larger the hit, according to the ILO.”

Another upsetting update according to the ILO on a global scale:

“A third of all women are “victims of physical and/or sexual violence that affects their attendance at work”. According to the latest figures from the World Bank, 700m women are victims of either physical or sexual violence – in the Middle East and Africa, 40% are victims, in south east Asia the figure is 43%.”

So no equality is not here yet, but the fight is getting stronger and louder.


I leave you with a quote which is applicable to all of us, man or woman:

feminist-quotes-10

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