Monday, October 12, 2009

I love this picture…but I didn’t at first.

In the spirit of WRC’s next program, The Personal is Political: Feminist Disruptions in Art on October 14, I have decided to tell you about a piece of feminist art I discovered and why I love it so much. I should preface the following observations by saying I’m not an “art person”. I do not regularly contemplate or create art, or know anything about art history, so my thoughts are strictly based on my perceptions and are not well informed critiques.
I came across this picture on while researching feminist art a couple of months ago. My first thought was “why would you make that the first picture you see when you open the page?!...that’s terrible image of a woman…yet another promotion of sexual violence against women.” But as I continued on with my search, the image kept creeping back into my mind and I couldn’t figure out why I was thinking about it so much or how I felt about it. Then I realized….slowly…..that I kind of liked the picture. For the next couple of days I tried talking myself out of it because it is kind of a weird picture of a woman apparently being murdered and that really shouldn’t be an image I enjoy or approve of. So after awhile I decided to copy the image onto my desk top to discover what it is that I find so interesting about her and here is what I have concluded.
She is a victim and a fighter. I think a lot of women feel this way on a daily basis. Of course, I don’t think this feeling rises to the level murder but the little jabs from society are still injurious. At the same time however, there is an unmistakable look of determination on her face. Even though is knows that she is badly hurt, she is not going to back down. The image shows her naked, with her back literally up against a wall putting her in an incredibly vulnerable position, but she does not show any weakness. The gun is steadily pointing back at her attacker, she has aimed her weapon perfectly, and I have no doubt that she will shoot…but only if she has to.
That leads to another interesting thought. I believe that she knows who her attacker is but is not afraid or even surprised. It seems all to true that women are far more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger. Again, this victimization may not always be murderous, but could be the little stereotypes that women are confronted with everyday by people who they know and love.
She also seems so pure and innocent. The stereotype of blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin are token characteristics of innocence and she manages to pull them off while bleeding and holding a loaded gun. In today’s society where women are pressured to become sexual at younger and younger ages, it seems like women struggle to maintain these characteristics and in a figurative sense, they must fight for them.
Finally, I must say she looks good doing it….not the most progressive sentiment, but it’s true and I think it does draw me to her. Then again, why can’t good looking women also be powerful or perhaps dangerous?

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