As I haven’t heard in a while, I checked with Dee and Victoria about the blog post we were putting together. There were concerns about the sources of the statistics. They were taken from a video of a panel at Designer Breakfasts holding a discussion called Where are All the Women?: ttp://www.designerbreakfasts.co.uk/?pid=p_past&ev=20120320
The blog has now been published:
Today I set up my space for my final hand in. I’m happy with the theme and overall look I have gone for; going for the grey colour for the ‘grey area’ comments and the crude collaging of sexist news articles and feminist reporting of feminists speaking up for themselves against social expectations and and socail media, etc.
I tried to also keep my children’s book in with the theme by keeping it enclosed in a white folder with only a grey ribbon round it with collaged leaves inside.
I unfortunately read my books properly when I picked them up (I had 2 printed) from the printers and found 4 mistakes. I couldn’t keep it like this, I had to hand amended files back in and get it re-printed. It is my portfolio, it is a subject that people will be quick to pick holes in and the fact that it is meant to be a dictionary; I couldn’t keep them with the mistakes. They will now be for myself only and my amended book will be ready in time for my degree show. Dan at Abbey Book Binding has the patience of a Saint!
For my degree show I am thinking of creating more of an interactive space rather than an exhibition space. I have found with my work, people don’t want to talk in public or with an audience about it; but they want to talk about it. I have a Facebook page that I upload all of my images to and I have found that there was a lot more engagement with images that looked ‘prettier’ but served no purpose. Now I am raising awareness on sexism and promoting feminism, I find a lot of women will say things like ‘ I don’t understand the work’ or they don’t want to be associated with the word ‘Feminism’ or the classic ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’. I haven’t come across a woman who has said she has never experienced anything I have addressed. A few women have came to me and said they find it really important, they always stop and click on the image and read what is written with it and to keep on doing what I’m doing as someone should be sticking up for us. Men, however, they will always only speak to me on a one to one basis about it. A lot will say that they agree with it and they agree with equal rights but don’t actively push it; or they didn’t really recognise certain aspects that have become social norms until they saw my post. Others have said they like my work, it is (apparently) controversial, but they get it.
I am happy it has got people talking, but I still find it so strange that people seem to be afraid about saying how they feel about the issues infront of other people yet they all seem to be saying the same things. It reminds me of when I worked as a mobile hairdresser and people would tell me anything as I stood behind them and they couldn’t see me. They phrase ‘it’s a grey area’ has come up a lot. This annoys me. I can’t see any grey areas. If something is wrong, it is wrong. But hence the grey theme with my work and my hand in set up.
So for my degree show I want to make a life-sized cardboard cut out of the collaged girl from my piece 12 of the Everyday Sexism project. For this I am going to use my head as a child on the body. I want people to feel uncomfortable as they encounter the piece. Obviously, the breasts are visible on the girl which will make the viewer aware that they have looked at them and not know what to do or where to look. I want this to represent how I felt as a young girl when my body was changing beyond my control and received unwanted attention for it. I knew people were looking but I couldn’t stop them and I hated my body for it. I then want to invite the viewer to sit facing the wall and look through The Sexist’s Alphabet. I will start by writing an experience or story on the wall. I am going to leave marker pens out to invite the viewer to write their thoughts, experiences, views, dis/agreements anonymously. I want to get people thinking and communicating; even if this isn’t face to face. I will record the interactions either with permission by videoing or recording the writings with a camera and use this as material for my next awareness project.
Depending on money (seeing as I have had to have another print of my book made) I may build a booth to make it more private for people. This is an option, but I do like the visual idea of people’s stories overlapping as when you talk to people, their experiences overlap with similarities too.
I didn’t want to create an artist’s statement as such; I wanted to be more provocative with it. I don’t want to officially invite people to write and share their thoughts etc, I want to more provoke and prompt people. I want people to stop and think. I submitted:
girl, bird, bimbo, doll, tiny, fat, thigh gap, leggy, mouthy, bitch, slapper, whore, dirty
Attention seeker. What was she wearing?
milf, mutton, perfect, quiet, liar, princess, easy, frigid, tom-boy
Don’t breast feed in public. Show us your tits.
lady, meat, barren, selfish, spinster, crazy, mental, maternity risk, weight, weight, weight, cover up
Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t walk home alone.
Don’t wear that. Don’t say that. Don’t do that.
Don’t get raped
Last week I met with Christian and a number of students who are interested in the Gender Equality Society we are hoping to start up. We discussed small steps we could take and aims of the group. We are going to start small within the society but hopefully expand out to people outside of Cardiff Met. Aims we noted on the society forms were to offer a safe space for people to come together to discuss their worries, issues and share experiences; to help with any issues of discrimination due to gender; to work with the police on raising awareness on what is classed as sexual assault; to become involved in community gender equality issues, etc. We had to fill in the forms and present them to the SU. We have enough signatures to suggest sufficient interest for the society. The SU have contacted Christian asking how we plan to raise awareness of the society through the school. I have set up a facebook page for now, we will be setting up a twitter feed, we are hoping to use the tv’s in the SU to advertise and use my work to make posters. We want to make some ground on this so we can have a table at the freshers fair.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404576199866621/?fref=ts (link to the society group page)
At the moment, the name is too long winded, so we are going to brain storm something small and catching and work on a logo that we can start to disseminate around Cardiff that people will begin to recognise. We were thinking on stickers and stick them on whatever we can; toilet doors, lamposts, etc. Kind of grafiti… but for a good cause!
We plan to also not just meet in the SU, to start meeting in other places; like Little Man Coffee Company. Even though they didn’t think my work was appropriate for the walls, hopefully they will recognise the interest in the cause with the number of people we can generate to take part in meetings.
It’s been a long time in the making, but this will be an ongoing process; as will my involvement in the Sexual Wellbeing Foundation. I have been in contact with Olive, the founder, again and now her degree is over she is planning on pushing ahead with her charity work and she wants to talk to me over the coming week.
Also, now my book is finished and printed. I can contact Chris Green of the White Ribbon Campaign and show him the work. Hopefully, it can be used for their campaign.
After a tutorial with Amelia, she pointed out to me that ‘Whore’ was possibly the most important image of the collection but it wasn’t really communicating. I wanted to confuse the viewer, to make them question what they were looking at and what it was that made this woman a whore. But Amelia pointed out that a woman is usually called a whore behind her back and by a group. We spoke about the pack mentality when men get together and how their individual personalities are lost as they try to act up to their stereotype. The woman is reduced to an object rather than a person. This name calling and slander would not happen in a face to face conversation between a woman and a man. There is always distance when this term is used. So I re-worked the image to communicate this.