Where Are All the Poster Children?

September 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I went to the annual poster sale so I could make my side of the room a little bit crazier. I was delighted to find posters of R2D2, E.T., and (woot!) Rosie the Riveter. However…

While flipping through the posters, I noticed some pretty interesting trends. Did you know that every female college student is crazy for either Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, the occasional ironic Britney Spears, or Marilyn Monroe? You do now. I have nothing against these ladies. They are all wildly talented, beautiful, influential women. But come on people, give us some more credit than that!! I would love for the poster sale to offer a few more diverse (in terms of color, personality, age and occupation) options than the double threat white chicks. How about some Michelle Obamas, some Ella Fitzgeralds, some Joni Mitchells (she is a white lady double threat as well, I’m just a little bitter that I couldn’t secure a Joni poster), some Jhumpa Lahiris, some J.K. Rowlings (please please please!!!), or Gloria Steinems… anyone!?! Because women have influence beyond the silver screen (and I mean silver… I’m not sure exactly why girls are supposed to be obsessed with black and whites, but not even Dorothy was in technicolor!).

You might have noticed I mentioned Rosie The Riveter in my purchases… yep. That’s true. There was ONE Rosie poster. Maybe this means that all the feminists snagged the rest of the supply before I got there, but I still think it points to a lack of diversity. Of course, I am entirely ignoring the fact that college women can break the trends of their demographic and go for the aqua teen hunger force or the Bob Marley, but I say with some confidence that we are not the target audience for these posters.

So please, college poster sale, keep us feminists in mind next time you stock up? I like to show my true colors all over the wall, and it’s hard when I have only black and white movie stars to choose from.

Call for Art Submissions by Youth

August 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

Via Racialicious, a call for art submissions: Resisting Colonialism & Rebuilding Pathways to Hope. According to their flyer…

We are seeking: Submissions of artwork by youth reflecting: resistance to oppression, violence and all kinds of discrimination; the process of healing, and the building of hope.

What do I have to do? Submit your artwork for the exhibit. Then, on September 21st, participating artists will have an opportunity to talk about their work at the launching of this art exhibit. The exhibit will be followed by a screening of the documentary “Highway of Hope,” a documentary filmed and directed by Indigenous feminist activist Jessica Yee [also an awesome special correspondent at Racialicious] about the numerous disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women along Highway 16 in British Columbia.

Art Submissions: Must be able to hang on the wall and must be submitted by September 1st 2009. The artwork will be exhibited for two weeks and can be reclaimed by artists afterward. Please include a short bio, contact info, and the title if applicable. Submissions can be mailed, or artists can hand deliver their work to:

Centre for Women’s Studies in Education
252 Bloor Street West Unit 2-223
Toronto, On M5S 1V6
CANADA

Contact the Centre at cwse@oise.utoronto.ca or 416-978-2080.

I encourage anyone interested to submit their work!

So You Think You Can Dance With Whomever You Want?

August 3, 2009 § 1 Comment

WRONG!

Miranda kindly sent me this Bust article via Facebook, which reminded me of something I was thinking about posting a while back.

Like the Bust blogger, I must explain my opinions of the show before I post. I LOVE SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. The show is pure entertainment. I love being exposed to great dances every week (albeit usually choreographed to less great music). I particularly love how the show doesn’t encourage unhealthy competition. The dancers all genuinely seem to enjoy being around each other, and are not manipulated in to saying nasty things about each other. With that being said, I had a BIG problem with one of the audition episodes earlier this season.

During the auditions back in June, So You Think You Can Dance saw its first ever male ballroom dancing partnership. Here is what happened, according to “TV Squad”:

Misha and Mitch are same-sex ballroom dancers. Mitch had a female partner, but it didn’t work out. Mitch is straight and Misha is gay. It’s like the odd couple, except with sequence. It’s funny because the two have strong lines and good legwork. Nigel just had this look on his face (we know how he feels about gays). In one move they messed up a lift and land on the floor. Nigel has no clue what to say and compares it to Blades of Glory. He thinks that they alienate audiences. He thought that they were strong. Mary was confused because they were both male and female in dances. The lead/follow was strong, but the technique needed help. Sonya sees a lot of female qualities but is confused with classical form. The two are sent off to choreography.

For a show that is supposedly all about embracing new ideas in the dance world, breaking down barriers and accepting people of all backgrounds, these judges were very narrow-minded when it came to gender roles. They managed to throw in some remarks about the dancers’ lines and general technique, but on the whole, could NOT get passed the guy on guy dance action. They all claimed to be thoroughly “confused” by it all, and felt that they could not judge the dancers properly because they strayed so much from conventional ballroom dancing. What a FUCKING STUPID excuse!!!! Alienating America? Like the media doesn’t alienate all the Americans who don’t fit into their cookie cutter gender roles every damn day.

I never really cared for Mary Murphy and her ridiculous pitch and volume, but I have certainly lost a huge amount of respect for the three judges that day, who could just not get over a man ballroom dancing with another man. As far as I’m concerned, dancing is about art. Art doesn’t have to abide by conventional gender roles, in fact, great art is often created by challenging those roles!

I still love SYTYCD, and I do approve of the kick ass lady routines created by Sonya (also, Nigel did mention the ridiculous treatment women get in most dances), but it broke my heart a little to hear these two poor men get shut down immediately because of who they chose to dance with!

Read This: Rethinking Gender Bias in Theater

June 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

There’s a really interesting article in the New York Times on gender bias in theater. As somewhat of a theater geek myself, I was intrigued by the title: Theater Has a Gender Bias? Do Tell.

The article, written by Patricia Cohen, covers the reaserch done by economist Emily Glassberg Sands of Princeton.

The findings are sure to spur debates within the theater community. Representatives from about a dozen New York theater companies, including the Public Theater and Lincoln Center Theater, attended. Many women in the industry have argued that a rise in the number of female artistic directors would lead to more productions of works written by women, but the study calls that claim into question.

It was a really thought-provoking article, but also hard to swallow. I feel like I need to read it a couple more times before it fully sinks in. But it’s a good read — defnitely go read this.

Princess Fat-Shaming

June 19, 2009 § 14 Comments

Via Latoya at Racialicious, I see a series of photographs by Dina Goldstein entitled “Fallen Princesses”. Goldstein says of her project:

These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues.

It’s a cool idea, artistically speaking, and some of the images are very thought-provoking. I especially liked the irony in the portrait of Snow White, an exhausted-looking young mother burdened by four kids.

But the project has some disastrous issues. Latoya’s post (go read it) and the subsequent comment thread are a nice breakdown of some troubling ethnic and racial stereotypes that Goldstein presents in her reappropriated version of Jasmine. And I’m also uncomfortable with Goldstein’s depiction of the “fallen” Little Red Riding Hood, boringly titled “Not so Little Riding Hood”:

red riding hood

Commenter Brenda DeShazer writes:

Excellent, let’s reinforce the stereotype that fat people gobble huge quantities of burgers and sodas.

For reals. I see two glaringly problematic stereotypes embodied in this photograph: that fat people eat indiscriminantly and “unhealthily”; and that being fat is the ultimate downfall.

This is the polemic “realistic outcome” that Goldstein came up with? Seems to me that she herself has fallen back on unoriginal (and clearly offensive) stereotypes.

Examining Female Roles in Western versus Japanese Animations

June 9, 2009 § 2 Comments

I apologize rather prematurely for this post, it’s term papers and finals week, so not only is the blog title far from witty, it sounds like the beginning to a bad JStor article written by an undergrad.

However, someone just showed me this open letter by Linda Holmes on the NPR blog. It reminded me of when I was going through my late night (read: early morning) animation fix of Miyazaki, and was astounded during a few of them that my love for the filmmaking wasn’t constantly pitted against the female protagonists need to support jagged-edged gender binaries.

So.

So while I don’t have time to expand on this, here’s another examination of Western animation from Christine Hoff Kraemer over at Inhuman Decency, that seems to converse quite well with Linda’s piece.

Oh, and P.S. Linda: Susan Sontag would love to argue this one out, but half the fun of children’s films and books are the highly politicized (though often implicit) morals and theologies they bring about. Sometimes they SCREAM for a better world, though the characters may only whisper. Tonight my seventh-grade brother summarized a book for me that he just finished reading and was incredibly excited about. Though the plot line was simple, it featured a girl fighting for women’s rights in a fettered, Patriarchal society. If we take each part of a film to have an intended purpose, a princess can and will never be just a princess.

Feminist Fun With Youtube

May 1, 2009 § 2 Comments

I don’t know about y’all, but for me it’s been a loooong week. What better to do than to kick back and relax with a sampling of my favorite spoken word Youtube videos?

Cocky by Julia Serano – “My penis is the loose thread that unravels the gender of everyone around me.”

What We Deserve by Sonya Renee – I get chills every single time I watch this.

Bi-Racial Hair by Zora Howard - Shira and I went to middle school with this incredible artist. Video embedding has been disabled, but go watch it. Go. It’s lovely.

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