I’m reblogging this in support of the women at JPLNASA who object to the casual sexism (the most pernicious kind) displayed in the ‘cool’, dudely video. As usual, their voices are not being heard.

To Assange supporters, Galloway, Akin, rape apologists everywhere:

“…no matter the cause, the progressive left cannot deny, downplay or ridicule the seriousness of rape and sexual assault to treat women’s bodies as collateral in some wider battle. Women’s rights are not secondary to liberal or class politics, they are, and should be, placed at the their heart.”

~ Women from Compass, a group for the betterment of society, in a letter in Thursday’s Guardian.

To ‘feminist’ right-on male and female supporters of Pussy Riot: READ THIS:
http://radicalhub.com/2012/08/20/pussy-riot-whose-freedom-whose-riot/  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lyn Gardener’s review of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh:

“It’s a reminder that, in the powerplays of men, women’s bodies are often the battlefield”.

So it goes.

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Excellent article by Tanya Gold on the current vogue for ‘rape jokes’ at the Edinburgh Fringe:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/17/heard-one-about-rape-funny-now?CMP=twt_gu

Exiled Stardust

Today on Spot the Misogyny: the viral video “We’re NASA, and We Know It”

This video was all over Twitter today and even @MarsCuriosity thinks it’s OMG THE BEST VIDEO EVAR!!1!

Youtube user who posted this video: “Satire”

Am I the only person wondering why such a spirited celebration of geekery just HAD to include a headless dancing chick in an American flag bikini?  While every male in the video remained fully clothed with his dignity intact?

View original post 245 more words

Dirty Old Men 2

An addendum to my last post.

Take a look at this; (I’ve pixelated the image because WordPress forbids images of genitalia; when it was posted on Facebook last year FB deleted it and there was no end of brouhaha; it’s very easy to find the unadulterated version):
L’Origine du Monde (Origin of the World) was painted by Gustave Courbet in 1866, oil on canvas, 55cm x 46cm, and currently hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

Now, this is ART, right?
A very great painter, a leading exponent of Realism, which rejected, among other things, the idealising of the female form inherent in academic History Painting and the hypocrisy of erotica/porn masquerading as moral edification, creates something ‘honest’.
Technically, it’s brilliant. Look at that foreshortening! The brushwork.
It hangs in full public view in a ‘proper’ gallery.
The frame! Wow, that frame! Only Art deserves a frame like that.
And it’s got a portentous ‘mythic’ title!
Of course it’s ART!

Then ask why it was painted.
It was commissioned by an Ottoman diplomat for his – ahem – ‘private collection’; that is, the wealthy man’s version of a secret stash of jazz mags. It is an aid to masturbation. If you’re really rich, like Mr Playboy himself, Hugh Hefner, hell, you don’t need the images, you can surround yourself with the real thing.

But it’s by Courbet! It’s ART!

So, if a ‘split-beaver shot’ (I believe that’s the technical term) is beautifully rendered by someone famous, it’s no longer ‘pornography’, it no longer denigrates women? Somehow it’s more acceptable and less exploitative than a well-thumbed copy of Razzle?
Bullshit.

You may argue that the painting marks ‘progress’, in that it shows women as they ‘really are’. Actually, it was merely ‘racy’, more arousing to appetites jaded by anodyne representations of Diana with her tits out; pornography, to continue its appeal, must always go that ‘one step further’. (Wonder what Ruskin would have made of it, with his apocryphal horror of pubes?) You can then think about that ‘progress’ and ask yourself why,150 years on, women are more paranoid than ever about eradicating every stray hair that marks them out as equal, grown-up members of society, if not to conform, still, to a male-engendered ideal of how the female of the species should look.

The ‘male gaze’.
The look that continues to insist:
You, lady, are not Like Me; you exist only in relation to me and my desires; I don’t even need to see your face; I don’t care who you are, only what you are.
And so powerful is this gaze of mine, it’s got you looking at yourself in the exact same way.
Woman as c*nt.
Woman is c*nt.

This painting: Edifying? Transcendent? Art?
Dress it up (in androcentric discourse?), but I don’t think so.
How about you?

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22 July: Just discovered this ‘Electric Alarum’ anti-masturbation device for men. Seemed apposite. 😉
https://tarthead.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/electric-alarum.jpg

And just in case women think they’re blamelessly getting away scot free, an excellent post from M.K. Hajdin:
http://exiledstardust.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/how-to-be-a-confessional-artist/

Dirty Old Men…

This made me smile, albeit wryly.
According to a news report, writes Jonathan Jones in the Guardian,

“…the guards at the National Gallery in London are worried that “dirty old men” are sneaking in to look at Mark Wallinger’s peep show, in which nude models recreate the paintings of Titian…”

What??
Unshaven, gaunt-cheeked men of a certain age (think Albert Steptoe), hands hidden suspiciously deep in the pockets of stained, crusty macs, are prowling the sacred halls of this cathedral to Art in search of titillation?
Surely not!

A Wallinger ‘Diana’ at the National Gallery, London

What nonsense.
Fact: men, ‘straight men’ (hate that phrase, with its implications of orthopraxy), like to look at young, naked, nubile women. Always have.
And Art and the purveyors of Art have been one of the major means of allowing them, “dirty” or eminently respectable, to do so.
As Jones says,

“…there’s loads of erotica on view at the National Gallery…”

You don’t need to wander the shady lanes of Soho, shame-facedly incognito; you, sir, can go to the National on a Sunday afternoon in your Abercrombie and Fitch chinos, get a brazen eyeful, and call it ‘culture’.

Diana and Actaeon, by Titian, 1556-9, 202cm x 185cm, The National Gallery, London

As John Berger pointed out, the History of Art as we in the west know it is essentially the History of the Male Gaze: oil paintings in particular have been made in the main by men, at men’s behest, for men’s pleasure. When the Hierarchy of Painting, the classifying of genres according to their ‘respectability’, was formally stated in the 17th century at the (French) Academy, licence to perv was granted officially and unequivocally; top of the list was History Painting, the most ‘morally uplifting’, taking as it did its themes from the Bible and classical history/mythology.
‘Uplifting’ tales, yes.
Also replete with tits and ass.

Examples are, of course, myriad. One ‘theme’, however, caught my eye, in that variations on it appear to be particularly plentiful: Lot and his daughters.
The kernel of the story is this: warned by two visiting ‘angels’ that God is about to destroy Sodom, Lot flees the city with his wife and daughters; the wife, against orders, looks back, sees the destruction and is turned into a pillar of salt; Lot and the girls reach a place of safety; the girls ply their father with alcohol, and rape/seduce him in order to get pregnant and continue his line.

HUH??

Lots, indeed, to discuss here, not least ‘brewer’s droop’; but what’s important is that, in Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) tradition, Lot is viewed as a ‘righteous man’, the founding father through his daughters of the Moabites (ancestors of Christ) and Ammonites; the story is as ‘moral’ as it gets.

Lot and his Daughters, by Wtewael, c. 1595, 205cm x 163cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Oh, joy!” thinks the (male, monied) patron of art.
“Not only can I demonstrate my piety (and wealth) to the world, I can also have a bloody massive painting of an old geezer who looks pretty much like me having the time of his life with a bevy of fillies absolutely gagging for it!
Result!”

Lot and his Daughters, by Furini, c.1640, 123cm x 120cm, Museo del Prado

I’m not man-bashing per se, I’m telling it how I see it.
I like men. Honest.
Hell, I’m married to one.
But the truth is, the porn ‘industry’ is predominantly sustained by this ‘male gaze’. Call it ‘art’, call it ‘erotica’, call it what you will, but men looking at women in this way is, as it always was, an oppressive act; and it is all the more pernicious in that it conditions women to look at other women from the same perspective.
Saying that, I don’t know about you, but I prefer the honesty of an unreconstructed, unmediated “PHWOAR!!” to the insidious, mealy-mouthed, shit-eating expressions of solidarity with the Sisterhood that some men now appear constrained to evince at every given opportunity to prove how ‘right on’ they are.
(That’s right, men! You Can’t Win! ! Feels good, doesn’t it?)

So, Mr Security Guard (you are male for my purposes; yes, it’s ‘unfair’), cut the hypocrisy and give the ‘dirty old men’ a break; who are they, after all? The ones in the too-big raincoats? Or the ones in the Savile Row suits?
And when you go home after a long, tedious shift round the Raphaels and switch on the computer, what do you search for?
Lets face it, ‘dirty old men’ operate within a very ‘grand’ and ancient tradition indeed. And they’re everywhere.
Poor buggers.

(By the way: ‘dirty old women‘? They rock.)

Women Know Your Place

“A man’s presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman’s presence . . . defines what can and cannot be done to her.” ~ John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972.

1963…

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again….

2011…

Just sayin’…

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(With thanks to Jade.)

Not all ‘blood, guts and pussy’: more thoughts on female artists.

A couple of days ago my esteemed pal at Exiled Stardust wrote about how female artists tend to be ‘overlooked’ and ‘misconstrued’, with special reference to Georgia O’Keeffe and ‘ladybits’. Another problem with our attitude to female artists, it seems to me, is that we rarely allow their work to speak for itself.

Judith Slaying Holofernes, Naples version, Artemesia Gentileschi

What I mean is, we always have to have the ‘baggage’, the ‘story’, something we do not demand of male artists in the same way. With them, personal histories tend to be interesting and informative adjuncts to the work, tangential, if you like; with women the two are inextricably entwined. Think of Artemesia Gentileschi and you’ll think of her ‘defining’ rape at the hands of Agostino Tassi; of reductive critiques that describe her work as ‘revenge’ pieces. They may well be, but I’d rather talk first about the form, the technique, the skill: about the art object; pay her the courtesy of viewing her first as an artist, yes, an Old Master, and then as a woman.

Self-portrait, Mary Beale

All of which is probably why you’ve probably never heard of Mary Beale (1632-1699), the ‘first professional female English painter’ (Wiki), and friend of court painter Peter Lely (whom you surely will have heard of.) You see, there is no ‘story‘; Mary was the daughter of a rector, got married, had children, had a successful career as a portraitist, and died. That’s it. No ‘blood, guts and pussy’, just a woman going about her business.  And a very fine painter who is now largely forgotten.
Call me ‘radical’, but that sucks.

Exiled Stardust: http://exiledstardust.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/old-masters-overlooked-women-artists-and-georgia-okeeffe-misconstrued/