aside My art is female centric because I am a woman and my purpose is to express and inspire expression
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:
Here is a piece on equal rights for women:
Here is are two piece on women and body image:
Here is a piece on gender stereotypes:
And finally I have done a few pieces on female empowerment and dis-empowerment:
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: