Thursday, May 31, 2012

Misogynistic Ads - Today and Yesterday

I ran across this article "Misogynistic Ads and the Oxygen of Publicity" that discussed the history of misogyny in advertising as well as Samsung's new "Too Smart for Amy" campaign for their Smart Camera.

Too Smart for Amy featuring British Reality Star Amy Childs:

Seems that advertising new and old has played into sexist ideas - Women are sex objects, Women are stupid, Women should cook and clean etc... Here are some ads from around the net.

Contemporary Ads:

Car Porn?


Vintage Ads
Gotta Start with this one:

Check out the caption: 

"The Things women have to put up with. Most husbands nowadays have stopped beating their wives, what what can be more agonizing to a sensitive soul than a man's boredom at meals..."

WTF. Did they just compare the pain a woman gets from being beaten to the embarrassment of making a boring meal???!!?!?!?

2715556075 e7ff2db6dd o The 9 most disturbingly misogynistic old print ads

Uh...Hmm.. And have lung cancer.

2827376480 4db0294b1d o The 9 most disturbingly misogynistic old print ads 
This is just all kinds of sick.

Sexist Ads - feminism photo

And guess what.."She costs so little to keep happy". And we had a Subaru too.

No Comment.

If my man wore a tie and dress shirt to bed I would begin to question things.

"A Magazine for Masterful Men"

"Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things"

Wait what?! We should be on the floor naked looking at shoes?

Thank God she did something right.

The Chef does everything but cook
 Oh God.

The Mini Automatic.  For simple driving.
This is what I look like when I drive. And yes, I wear that many rings.

If your husband ever finds out...

Again with the beating...

If men bought clothes the way women do !

You mean a WOMAN can open it?

 At least she can color coordinate her nails and lipstick to the ketchup.

So the harder a wife works, the CUTER SHE LOOKS!

I sure do thrive on cooking and cleaning and dusting.

Would your husband marry you again?
 If he's that picky about the dishes, I sure hope not.

Is it always illegal to KILL a woman?

I have no idea what this is about but it's horrid.

A little something to end on- Turns out we're useful after all! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Working Women's Fantasies - To Be Submissive?

Anyone else Read this article in Newsweek?

Here I am, buying breakfast at 7 am at Kroger last last Saturday morning in my PJ's and I see this.
I'm intrigued. The author, Katie Roiphe uses Fifty Shades of Grey, the HBO series Girls and a variety of other films such as A Dangerous Method to make a case that Women today, specifically working women, want to escape reality through submissive, and sometimes demeaning sex.

I feel some quotes from the article would help:

"It may be that power is not always that comfortable, even for those of us who grew up in it; it may be that quality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas; it may be that power and all its imperatives are boring."

"Is there something exhausting about the relentless responsibility of a contemporary woman's life, about the pressure of economic participation, about all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world? It may be that, for some, the more theatrical fantasies of sexual surrender offer a release, a vacation, an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality."

Angry now? Good. I was too.
I love the proposal that freedom and equality are boring and dreary.

At my first through fourth readings of the article, I was on the defensive.

My last reading of it I thought - well, Fifty Shades of Grey is a best-seller, perhaps Roiphe is just asking why? 
According to the article, Roiphe says Fifty Shades is different from twilight and other "mommy porn" because according to some statistics unmentioned, young working women 20-30 years old in "blue states" are reading it.

I did some research. I don't have HBO, but I could find the first episode of Girls on Youtube. It was sad honestly. It's got both good and bad press. 

In what I saw, the Main Character - a young 20 something newly out of college - finds out her parents will no longer support her financially. She is forced to quit her unpaid internship. Seeking comfort, she goes to the apartment of her boyfriend? Bed Buddy? He seems quite disinterested in her. She, being slightly overweight, awkward, and an overall ball of low self-esteem, doesn't seem to notice he doesn't care about her and just wants to use her for sex. After a sharing a couple of words about her real life dilemma, he decides to have some kinky, unwelcome sex with her - because she happens to be there.

Screen Shot from Girls Episode 1 Right before the Unfortunate Sex.

The whole thing was really sad. I get no joy from seeing someone with low self esteem get taken advantage of in a humiliating way. Though some critics are saying the awkwardness and rawness of the show is refreshing.

I've been stewing on this post for a while. The more I read about Girls and Fifty Shades and the Newsweek article, the more I've found people are also disgruntled by all them.

Going into this I was full of emotion regarding the idea of modern women wanting submission, but as I read more, I realized that Fifty Shades was indeed just another Twilight   mommy porn variant - naughty version - regardless of Roiphe's stance that the book is different. Fifty Shades actually began as Twilight fan fiction on a fan site. After the author found a following of her own, she changed the story up a bit and fleshed it into her own novel.

Something is still very upsetting about the whole thing.

Have you ever dated a guy that said "I'm really messed up" or "I'm really crazy" or "I'm going to hurt you" but you just thought they were being humbly self deprecating and kept dating them? Then in a month you find the bodies in their closet or whatever and realized all along they were telling you the truth? I have, and I felt really stupid.

What's with all these women buying into men, like lead character Christian Grey of Fifty Shades or Edward from Twilight or whoever that blatantly tell them they are dangerous and yet ignore this?

Check out this awesome list of "Signs of an Abusive Relationship"

1. Jealousy & Possessiveness 
2. Control 
3. Superiority 
4. Manipulates 
5. Mood Swings
6. Actions don’t match words 
7. Punishes you
8. Unwilling to seek help
9. Disrespects women
10. Has a history of abusing women and/or animals or was abused himself 

I could go through and put page numbers by these, but I don't want to hassle with it. It's spot on.

I'm sad that women find this arousing, though the old saying "Nice Guys Finish Last" has been around for oh too long - in this case - Nice heros in novels.

Long Story short, for whatever reason, women are buying into this strange abusive escapism. 
Fifty Shades of Grey is number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list (Don't read it) 

Suddenly I'm missing Prince Charming. 
What happened to him?
Too perfect I guess. We had to mess him up a bit, to find our purpose in fixing him.

So in a nutshell, after all the reading and thinking and mulling. I find myself back at the beginning of a long long history of Women dating Jerks. This novel, or the show, or all the other things - they are just new stories that back up one old dilemma.

Dear Women,
Don't date jerks. You can't fix them. They're just jerks. 
Find someone who is not a jerk. They are just as exciting, but in a different non-manipulating bastard way. 

You're Welcome,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Drawing Inspirations

I've been trying to think of new things to draw. Summer is coming up and I'd like to begin a few drawings. I was thinking about famous beautiful women and what if they had been men? Then I was thinking about the famous men that women were associated with...then famous divorces. You get the idea. I started playing around in Pixlr - you people with Photoshop will hate the bad quality of this, BUT I'll use them to draw from so it'll even out (I hope).

Anyhow - here are some mix ups - What you are seeing is women's eyes, mouths, and noses on the men's face and body.
Some turned out better than others, but I think it could make an interesting set of drawings. 

JFK/Marilyn Monroe

Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton

Kim Kardashian/ Kanye West

Pamela/Tommy Lee

Natalie Wood/ Robert Wagner

Jay Z/ Beyonce

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aging and Beauty, Personal Style

I have been thinking a lot lately about personal style.
If you know me, which most likely you do, you've noticed my style is...well Haphazard? Neglected?

Usually, I find a thousand more important things to do each day than dressing myself or fixing my face or hair in the mornings. I'm in a rush to do something and how I appear to others doesn't matter much to me - until I see photographs of course.
Every once in a while a photo surfaces and I realize how perpetually flat my hair is or the unevenness of my skin or my daily wardrobe of jeans and tee shirts.

I really would like to try and develop a personal style - not to look good for others, or to "fix up", but from a more artistic standpoint - to express myself and creativity through my fashion. To just try more.

I recently read an article called "Aging Stylishly, Online and In the Streets" by Emanuella Grinberg on CNN.
The article features several older fashionistas, who despite their age, still strive to look good.
To these women, it's not about being forever young, but to show they are still alive. That though they are far beyond the ages of women featured in magazines, they are still amazing.

Photograph by Danielle Levitt

These women are so inspiring to me, especially during this time when I'm contemplating my own style. They are absolutely gorgeous and so full of life! I want to go thrifting/ to vintage stores right now to find a new wardrobe!

Here are some of the women featured. Most of the following photographs and quotes come from the above article. The images/text that did not, came from the links provided. 

"I love playing dress up. For me, it's play and pleasure and my life is so blessed because of it," she says. "I get a lot of attention and people love me for it."

"Women at a certain age become invisible and by dressing this way I'm not invisible… If anything, my style just got more pronounced as I grew to know myself better and better. I make fewer mistakes now that I am at this age and know myself and what looks good on me and what I like."

Jean and Valarie


"What they show in magazines doesn't make sense and it's not realistic…That's what they look like on red carpet, but what does a 60-year-old look like going to the supermarket?" - Valerie

“Growing old gracefully' is an outdated concept, we prefer 'growing old with verve.” – I. Fashionista’s Blog



Ilona Royce-Smithkin – 92

Mr. Cohen documents the style of over 50’s that he discovers on the streets of New York. Appearances on his blog have lead some ladies to modeling gigs with retailers. His blog includes a ton of wonderful photos and videos of these women.

“All the women I come across -- and some men -- share this confidence and inner peace with who they are…Many of them will tell you they never felt as good about themselves as they do now, and for them, style is just one thing that keeps them going." - A. Cohen

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby Showers and Tales of Drowning

Warning: This post contains spoilers for a crap-ton of literature and film, but you should read it anyhow.

I did two things this past weekend:
Finish reading the Awakening and help to host a baby shower for my BFF Ashley.

The first time I read the book, it was on a plane ride to California with Ashley and my mother the summer following our senior year. We were 18, the summer before going to college.
And here I am reading it 10 years later, as Ashley is about to have her first baby and I am looking toward finally, after 6 years of being nomadic, settling down into a job and into a place.
Unintentional, but poignant.

I didn't remember much from the first time I read it - The opening scenes on the beach. A woman wondering around a cul-de-sac near a large white house. And the ending - where she walks into the ocean and drowns herself.

My semester has been the most hectic and difficult one teaching in my life. Definitely on par with that troublesome first year. My art-making has been neglected. So in an attempt to get back on the horse, I thought a good dose of classic feminist literature would do the trick. And it has.

I didn't realize, but I am the exact same age as Edna in the book. She was 28 and in the latter part turns 29, one month before her final swim. I will be 29 this October.
I tried my best to identify with her, though she was married at 22 to a man she didn't much care for, had two children, and when we first discover her - has lived a monotonous existence of sameness.
It's not until she decides to take a swim - something she has previously been afraid of, that she realizes her mortality and then she begins her awakening. An awareness to her aliveness, and also that her path has been one pre-planned for her for society. Until now, she's followed all the rules and the plan set for her by the life gods. Get married. Have Babies. Raise your babies. Then end.

(May I interject at this point, the story line is similar to another favorite The Death of Ivan Illych by Tolstoy - about a man who "comes alive" once he becomes terminally ill - and discovers all the meaningless social motions we go through. You should read it.)

Edna faces the same troubles as Julianne Moore's Character Laura Brown in The Hours - Unhappy housewife trapped in a life of convention.
Edna chooses death in the end - showing that, in no way will she ever escape the obligation of motherhood, so through drowning herself she has taken the final obligation - death - into her own hands. Laura Brown does the same - contemplating suicide, though Mrs. Brown in pregnant and can't kill her child. She waits until it is born and abandons her family to begin a new solo life.

This baby shower has been in the planning stages for over a month. Seeing as I do not live in Russellville to help with much of the prep work, I was assigned to make the Baby Banner because I'm the artsy type. I did my best to make something cutesie - decked out will all the pink sparkles and bows and ribbon that could fit within 5 feet.

Mom and I arrived early, helped hang the banner and arrange the foods on the table. At one point our host, regarding the fantastic spread, looked up at me with a smile and said, "Doesn't this make you want to have babies?!?!" I misinterpreted her rhetorical statement for a real question and said adamantly "No...No it does not!" and laughed. I could tell by the look on her face that I had just somehow insulted the existence of her children and grandchildren.

That wasn't the last conversation I had about babies that afternoon (if you can believe it). There were plenty of expecting and new mothers at the event. When talking to two other ladies about their baby plans one said to me "Oh, I know you'll be a mother someday, I just know it. You'll be a good mother."

I learned from my previous honesty to be more tactful with that statement. Do I tell these women that I don't really desire to birth anything? Or that my last Dr.'s appointment confirmed my suspicions that I am not even able to conceive children?

No. Confessing the former, they'd be sad for me or angry or confused - as I'm throwing off my womanly gift, and with the former I'd get sympathy and the already old conversation of new technologies and bionic uteruses.

I must say, when I did finally learn of "my condition" I was sad, because - if I ever did change my mind about birthing, it was too bad. With that said, I am perfectly contented in not being a mother ever in the conventional sense, and if later I get the impulse, I'll adopt something.

I have always been drawn to stories like the Awakening, and The Hours. I remember the first time I saw the movie, at my friends Beth's House. I'd be struggling with a large decision for a while and Mrs. Laura Brown's story answered my question. When I shared the film, to me life-changing, with my friends, all they could say was "Wow! That's sad".

To me Laura Brown's story said - What makes you happy in life might not make other people happy. What you want in your life - your goals, your path, might not be for everyone else. You need to do what makes you happy.
This was freeing to me - a mini-awakening.
In the film, Mrs. Brown has a life envied by all her friends. The American Dream.
But despite that, it's not what she wants. This gave me permission to want something other than what I was supposed to.

Most of my art discusses women and rules that surround Femininity.
What we should do as women to be good - and what are the rewards for following the rules. Or the punishments for going off track.
Growing up in the south, there is plenty of pressure from the church and the society at large to get married and birth babies.  I worked with two girls who were both my age at the time - 22, and both were married. I was not: "Oh Girl, If you're not married by 24 around here, you're an old maid."
That's really tragic.

Why am I so drawn to these morbid stories?
I love the freedom the women (and Ivan) find. I love their awakenings.
They finally come alive.
I can't say that I, like Eda or Laura, had a specific moment where there was an awakening.
I feel I have struggled myself - as anyone growing up - with what to do, which way to go.
What is the "right" thing - to my family, to religion, to society...blah blah

I want, above all things, to be free.
Not free from responsibility, but free to make my own way, conventional or not.
The thing that hurts me the most, is when I see people being bound by rules. Meaningless social rules.
I find the decisions I make for myself hinge on this - do not compromise who you are.

I'll leave you with Ada's last words -  from The Piano.
One of the most beautiful scenes ever in a film.
It's another tale with Drowning, I know you're excited.

The mute piano player Ada has finally become free from her abusive husband, and is sailing with her new lover and her daughter and the piano to a new home.
The piano up until this point has acted as her voice. Looking at the piano, Ada signs to her daughter to have it thrown overboard, that the Piano is spoiled.
 (Her husband earlier took an ax to the piano and then later took an ax to Ada's hand, cutting off both methods of communication.)
Her new lover, caring for her, throws it overboard. In one swift but thoughtful motion, Ada intertwines her foot with the pianos rope and both get dragged to the bottom of the water -she feels she too has been spoiled.
After a long descent, Ada has an awakening and swims to the top.

With the piano, and the old schema of life gone, Ada in the epilogue begins learning to speak.

The last scene, you see Ada floating above her piano in the bottom of the water while you hear her voice:

"My will has chosen life. Still, it has had me spooked and many others besides...
At night I think of my piano in its ocean grave, and sometimes myself floating above it. 
Down there everything is so still and silent, that it lulls me to sleep.
It is a weird lullaby, and so it is, it is mine.
There is a silence, where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be, in the cold grave in the deep deep sea."

(Quote partly from Thomas Hood's poem Silence)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obligatory Comparison

Making my Powerpoint for Friday on sentimental religious art and ran across this dashing Jesus portrait on the left. It immediately reminded me of Fabio.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Very Productive Art Day

The goal today was to get my painting matted and framed for the Art Center show and deliver it. On the way, I stopped in the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Hot Springs. I was surprised to find two photographs on show that I researched for my thesis!

"Dressing Gown" by Julia Fullerton-Batten

"Aurore Eveillee" by Clark and Pougnaud

I was so excited to see the pieces in person! Along with them were three other pieces I really like which were also fairy-tale ish.

"Mirror 02" by Agata Stoinska

"Marwori Stallion" by Tom Chambers

"The Loners" by Polixeni Papapetrou

After I got all done browsing around, I decided to head into the Golden Leaves Bookstore. I figured it was your average vintage book store. I was wrong. This place was stuffed to the brim with metaphysical books and romance novels. On top of that, they had an incredible power crystal section and many many many dreamcatchers. This place was far out.
They were going out of business so everything was on sale.

Then, upstairs, in a dark room, on the floor - I found this painting:

It's a painting by C. Carey Cloud, the dude who created toys to put in the Cracker Jacks boxes.
And get this - it was $3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I bought it. For Realz.
I found they bought it at an antique store for $75 several years ago.
I'm going to sell the crap out of this thing. This is one of those antiques roadshow moments!
Super Pumped

What a productive day. I've also been working on several other paintings for the Art Walk this Friday in Russellville - 5-8 pm if you want to come :)
I'm going to give the Arkansas Art Council fellowship a try too. Why not?

I'll post them when I'm all done. You'll buy them all before I can show them.