The pressure of making some work has been very evident over the passed week. After my paper venture I hadn’t begun to make anything else and have been feeling lost at where to begin so I started asking myself some QUESTIONS:
Keeping this concept of craft in my mind, what kind of crafts can I do?
Thinking about women in society, what makes us seen as the “lesser than” gender?
What holds women back from opportunity?
What responsibilities or obligations are women asked to fulfill that men are not?
I can crochet, sew, make paper, embroider, weave.
Lesser than… hmm, well women are usually seen as more emotional and caring human beings. Women are also not physically as strong as men, or able to perform the same sort of physically daunting tasks as men due to genetics, anatomy, hormones, etc.
Women are held back by being given the role of motherhood, in addition to working. Women are also held back from opportunity just simply because they are women. Again, our lack of physical strength or size can also hinder us from certain opportunities.
The biggest responsibility that I can think of that men do not have to foster, is motherhood. Not only the physical act of carrying a child but also the emotional and mental stress that comes with carrying the child as well as the obligations that follow once that child is born.
When thinking about these questions and answers, I was continuously being brought back to this concept of motherhood. The pressure that women face to make decisions within their life based around whether they want to have children or not. Do I work or do I stay at home? If I choose to work, am I a bad mother? If I stay at home, am I lazy?
I began to think about the PRESSURE, the STRESS, the ANXIETY that encompasses it all. The idea of being SUFFOCATED by these pressures… visually I began to see ideas and think about the WEIGHT of being a woman. For example…
Being smothered, or almost suffocated by daily obligations. Using crocheted objects/sculptural forms as means to cover the mouth and nose of a woman and photograph her portrait…
Making mounds and mounds of diapers…possibly in a room, on a bed, and photographed, but giving the diapers some sort of physical weight to give meaning to the pressure and daunting task of what motherhood truly is.
The idea of a chain and shackle with a woman’s foot chained to an object that represents a child (diaper, rattle, pacifier) but again giving it this enormous weight or size.
Thinking more about motherhood and this idea of women as the “lesser than” gender in comparison to men, I started looking more into what those things are that cause that thought to be so.. Motherhood as I mentioned being one of them, but then also the idea of our body, our physical size and anatomy as another. I began to then think about the processes a woman’s body goes through and recognized women are also often determined inferior because they easily show emotion whereas men do not. Being emotional if often seen as a sign of weakness. In regards to that, every 28 days a woman menstruates, causing her hormones to be on high alert, often causing an unpredictability in attitude and emotion, or as many would say causing her to be crazy. Through these thoughts I came to the conclusion that the female body is a major factor that causes society to view women as inferior. The female body, which many would say makes women so beautiful is also unfortunately attributing to their own demise. A betrayal of sorts…
Every 28 days a woman menstruates and is emotionally unpredictable… because of what’s going on in her body.
A woman anatomically is not built the same as a man, making her physically weaker- even if that woman is in decent shape and fit.
A woman that is pregnant and carrying a child, is a combination of both – emotionally unpredictable, physically weaker…all because of what is going on in her body.
I started making “art” while thinking about these ideas. I applied the craft making skills I mentioned above to explore the idea of the female betraying herself unconsciously simply just by being female. I am thinking about the beauty of the body, of objects or symbols that are seen as inherently feminine and combining them with the instability of emotion and physical weakness that also at times comes with being female through craftmaking. I don’t really know exactly what I am doing just yet, but it’s a start.