Censorship – a selection mechanism

My current art project reflects on censorship and depersonalization of women in culture and society and how we can surpass and avoid this happening to anyother (human) being.

First of all, I want to take you through a bit of a Darwinian tale, which you can verify by reading Darwin.

Let’s think about the peacock, the male of course. I doubt you know how a female peacock looks like without googling her. He looks amazing, she looks ordinary. The reason for this is that there is a given in most species that the female will reproduce so she doesn’t need to awe anyone. The male on the other hand needs to awe the female so she will chose him over other males. The reason the male peacock look so great is that along time, female peacocks have selected these kind of males. Now, while a longer tale signals to females that the peacock has good genes and also means he survived long enough to mature and develope it, a tale too long will backfire and disable him from effectively fleeing when necessary, which means he might die before reproducing. Nonetheless, females selected for this trate in male, and the environment allowed it to be developed as much as it did.

They say that there are no notable women in human history. Leaving aside that the said history is written by man, who left out from it any women they could not control, let’s remember that smart women who had an outspoken personality used to be burnt alive as witches*.

Basically, women that weren’t voicing their opinions out loud were selected for. Only they were able to reproduce. We do have a lot of smart women around and throughout history, but very few had a voice loud enough not be ignored by the men who wrote this history. This makes sense since they weren’t allowed to voice their opinions.

Now you may argue that we stopped burning witches a long time ago. However, the fear of being outspoken as a woman was internalized and women ended up shutting eachother up as a form of survival. The fact that it is no longer necessary to do that only means that we have to collectively, and individually, work on ourselves to fix this, and raise our daughters to not fear speaking out. We also should raise our sons to respect a woman’s opinion. Unfortunately, I know very few men that do respect and listen to a woman. Most of them just tune out, others are very rude. They have their issues that stem from this society that was created centuries ago and is no longer serving humans, but this is another conversation.

Even as recently as 2018, a friend was telling me that this or that is a criterion of “not being desirable as a wife”. Those stereotypes are thrown around as jokes, but I am afraid she was quite serios when she repeated them. Even if you tell them as jokes it still contributes to internalizing the idea that a woman should be one way or another regardless of her personality and desires. I touch upon this more with the second work of the project.

The first work from this project, called “From an orange point of view”, reflects a lot on censorship as expressed above, but also on the censorship of women’s bodies and sexuality.

This was actually the trigger of turning a work that was supposed to be a praise of feminine beauty, into what it finally became. It is still about feminine beauty as a woman is beautiful no matter her physical or psychological scars.

Nonetheless, a healing of those scars is necessary, and it cannot be done without some understanding of how these scars came to be there.

This work depicts a woman diving backwards into an orange core. Her hands are on her bare breasts, of which one is crossed by a cancer scar.

There are several reasons I chose to remove one of her breasts. It points at cancer, but not the physical desease. Rather, it refers to the censorship of the woman’s body, so not to arouse the male and thus protect her, which led to a censorship of women’s sexuality and the idea that a woman who has a sexual attitude is asking for sex, which she is not necessarily. A woman can simply feel good in her body and show it. This arouses men, and they instinctively think that she wants sex. Which she might want. But not with them necessarily. This does not make her a cockteaser or a whore or whatever else men (or other women 😔) call women that decided to take charge of their own sexuality.

The decision to have the orange background came from a poem initially. The reason I kept it is because orange cores are a symbol of feminine sexuality, in the western culture, at least. Along any other fruit in which you might stick your finger …without asking for consent, of course.

*in other cultures they are stoned to death even today, or had their feet or clitoris maimed for the sake of fitting a male standard

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