Possibly the sickest feminist art blog you've ever read. Possibly.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Yet more even older stuff...

 So, again, old photos- I took these at Pukkelpop '09 in Belgium, a festival I used to go to every year.  These are pretty much the only photos I've ever taken at festivals; partly out of never taking my camera in case it gets nicked and also just not being bothered (which is the main reason I'm not much of a photographer)

 However, I still think these came out pretty well considering I took them on my phone camera ( I know "a poor workman always blames his tools" and all that, but honestly, everyone else who has a Samsung G600; or I think that's t anyway, also says it's pretty lame in most ways. Also the light conditions were, for the most part, balls as it was really overcast (as you can see from above) or in fact, nighttime. 

Still, I kind of like them. Sometimes the most garbage cameras take awesome pictures- and if they don't, well you can just blame your tools!

Last Year's Biz

These are just a few wee sketches I liked and didn't want to get lost in the mists of time

Sure, I did these a while ago, and it probably shows but I still think they're a pretty good representation of my style. They're mainly in red or black ink and nib, apart from the last two which are a 5B  pencil. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Maura Kelly: representing general opinion or just shooting herself in the foot?

Not being someone who regularly visits the Marie-Claire magazine website, I was first alerted to the (extremely) controversial article by Maura Kelly (all links at the bottom)  by an article on Feministe  and my first reaction was honest disbelief. I mean, can a magazine as huge as Marie-Claire really risk publishing an article like that? Even as part of a little sister blog to its webpage? 

 On reading it, I was then amazed at just how offensive it was; not to mention nonsensical. Describing fat or obese (but not 'plump') people as 'gross' can hardly fit the super-PC standards that Marie-Claire tries (not necessarily successfully) to promote. It seems that Kelly's article is a response to complaints about people having 'fat sex' on TV. I mean honestly, it makes no difference to me what the size of the actor/actress is- Michelle Pfeiffer to Michelle McManus; I still don't want to see them getting jiggy! (Or jiggly I guess to make a bad pun) I'm not even going to start on the 'Pornification of our everyday lives' rant; but just so you know, it's there in the wings. 

But really, as it is you can't switch on the TV without seeing someone shagging: so why confine it to the skinnies? As Kelly complains about such a large proportion of society being obese- should the TV not be an accurate representation of real life? Or is it better for everyone if we just pretend that fat people don't feel sexual impulse and promote the idea that we can only be attracted to the beautiful, perfect model stereotypes that Marie-Claire tells us we can? If the TV is going to be full of sex, it may as well be full of everyone having sex. 

What if I said I found skinny people having sex revolting? The grating of barely-covered bone on gristle; brushing ribs with your loved one and feeling their protruding hips grinding against your pelvis as you dry-hump their knobbly-kneed thighs? 

Oooooh baby.



Friday, 1 October 2010

Technologically Advanced, my ass ( literally! -kind of)


 Here it is, bastard or saint. The Pill, with two capital letters. Statistics say that when you were in High School half the girls were taking it, but should we really be so accepting of the contraceptive methods made available to us as women? 
 Because I live in the UK, and know very little about the availability of various sorts of contraceptives in other places, I'm going to discuss the situation in the UK. However, if anyone knows anything  about anywhere else, I'd be really interested to know. So let's start off with the basic; condoms. 

What guys and gals tend to carry in their wallet just in case a good time rolls round the corner, (though don't because the tightness of the wallet rubs holes in it). I personally can't use them, because I find them unbearably painful- especially the patterned ones; and until relatively recently, I thought I was alone in this, however as soon as I type 'condoms' into my google search engine, I get 'condoms hurt me', 'condoms hurt my girlfriend', 'condoms hurt', 'why do condoms hurt?', 'should condoms hurt', etc. etc. you get the picture. It's gotten to the point where I've just about given up on penetrative sex if I know I have to use a condom.

  As it is, I know that I'm not at risk of getting any STDs just now so I have other methods available that aren't barrier. So what are they?

The pill made women free in the 20th century, but is it doing it's job in the 21st? Anyone I've talked to about it, and bear in mind from the start that most of these girls have actually tried several different types of pill and still had the same weight gain, zits (everywhere), sore, and in some cases, impossibly huge breasts, moodiness, we all know the story. There seems to be no one I know who's had a good experience with the pill, in any form. Personally, I found that for the first few years that I took it, it was no bother whatsoever; it actually made me more sane around my period and made them less heavy and less painful.

 However, in past few months, my experience was totally different: I felt like a hug, groaning ball of hormones the whole time, just ready to burst and spew blood and angst everywhere. My weight ballooned, or I felt it did- to the point where I felt like I would be lucky to fit into a UK size 18, when I'm normally an 8-10. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I was so convinced that just to open my jeans drawer would set me off seeing all those clothes I thought I could never wear again (despite feeling calmer now, I'm still sticking to leggings and baggy t-shirts) that is if I wasn't crying anyway, because a trip out to Tescos (about 2 minutes walk away) would mean I was crying on the way home after seeing all the people thinner than me. It got to the point that, even after seeing the state it got me in, my boyfriend offered to investigate finding something he could take.

 So then I came off the pill and Ta-Da! Back to normal. Or normal-ish, anyway. I really want to avoid anything that fucks with my hormones now because, as they go, the Pill is shown to be one of the most 'lite' methods of hormonal contraception.

 I suppose the other options people go with are things like the patch, the implant, the coil and variations on the coil. I can't think of any others just now. But honestly, just reading all their descriptions on the NHS website (I was on there because I thought I'd missed something, I thought thered had to be something that didn't have a list of side-effects) was scary, and they're trying to promote the use of contraceptives by young people!

 Side effects of these alternative methods included stuff like, very heavy and permanently irregular or in some cases constant bleeding, loss of period altogether (which in any other circumstance would be pretty convenient, albeit a little worrying), mood swings like never before, skin irritation, much increased period pains, pelvic infections, IT CAN GET CAUGHT IN YOUR INTERNAL TISSUE (I think this is a pretty big one, hence caps) or blood clots. Also, ALL of them reduce your desire to have sex.

 I'm sorry, but has no female scientist (because they do exist, even if they are rare) ever said, "Why are you guys fucking around in space when I can't fuck around on my own planet?" Sure, there are plenty of contraceptive options, as I'm sure most of us have heard sex-ed teachers tell us at some point or other; but  do any of them work? I find it totally unjust that there is no form of contraception that just lets me get on with my life, instead of stressing out because I'm having a massive indefinite period, or not having a period at all or I'm so moody and emotional I can't think straight.

 The most irritating thing is that a pill was developed for men to take, they just don't market it. Do you want to know why? The big, awful drawbacks are.......

Because it "can cause mood swings and loss of sexual desire"and "men don't handle side-effects well".

I think I'll leave it there. 

If you think any of my information's wrong or want to share any of your own experiences then go right ahead and comment :)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Is the UK Anti-craft?

Before I begin, I'd like to make it clear that this is not really a structured and possibly not even coherent entry. It's really just a rant. 

I've always been interested in craft to a certain extent. When I was little I sewed and attempted to knit stuff for my dolls' house, made little ornaments for my gran; as a teenger I made a lot of clothes for myself and made my own jewellery, and now, as an adult (I like to think) I make (still my own clothes), but also, my at, things for my home and other useful-ish stuff. The interest has nothing to do with my mother; or anyone else I came into contact with as a child, it was never a bonding activity handed down for generations: I just liked doing it , and still do. 

 This kind of follows up my last post, in again complaining about the art world's dismissal of craft as an activity but it's not even just that. Crafting etc. is possibly seen as the least cool thing ever here in the UK, and to a certain extent, Europe; whereas judging by the quantity of information on crafting, craft groups, craft lessons, craft materials etc. etc. almost ALL posted from the States, it must be either something thats never died, over having a huge revival. 

 Personally, I think it has to be beneficial to younger people; to make something yourself that's totally unique in a social climate that centres around mass-production and disposable purchases I think would make people start to truly appreciate the value of objects again. 

Not that I'm suggesting an excessive turn-around; going back to log cabins and making everything from scratch... I just think that there are better things to do with your hands than type into Facebook every time you go to the bathroom in a day. 

Friday, 20 August 2010

Craft v. Feminism?

As you can see, it's cross-stitch day. I've been reading Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique"and was thinking about 'housewife's fatigue', about how feelings of love for family but also frustration with lack of opportunity and mental exercise could oppose each other. 
 What is thought (and I agree with) is that the dissatisfaction with life felt by the housewife of the 1950s was a result of well-educated women being cooped up and restrained from exercising their true mental capacity in anything more taxing than organising the sock drawer. Of course the reaction of the misogynistic society of the time was to claim that women were experiencing unhappiness because they should never have been educated in the first place. Hence, I wanted to use the husband not only as the loving and (not necessarily sexist) other half, but also as a metaphor for a society that was paternalistic to the point of suffocation. 

  Another thing that got me thinking was an article I read the other day (linked at bottom of the page in red) that quotes Gisele Ecker in saying;  "What has been imposed on women through oppressive social conditions or prejudice should not be made part of our definition of woman’s art and thus be further perpetuated" (Feminist Aesthetics 16). She does go on to say that part of the reason she feels this way is because many women of less-priveleged countries are still forced to carry out tasks of this nature for meagre pay. However, I think that this is too much of a condemnation of an activity that thousands (maybe millions?) of modern-day, free women choose to participate in: many find that it is a link; valuable albeit tenuous,  to their female predecessors or just a fun way to make something that is not only attractive but also has a use. 

  The argument that 'art' is about ideas, whereas 'craft' is about practicality is no longer valid when we consider what the 'contemporary art' bracket includes. Take as an example, Anna Barriball's 'Black Wardrobe', exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery; a bureau wrapped entirely in black tape. The concept of this piece is not the idea, or the skill involved in it's creation but just pure, mind-nimbing labour. If we can classify this piece as 'art', why should anything that falls under the 'craft' bracket be excluded? 
   The fact that craft is still treated as something that can be done by anyone and that requires no particular talent leads me to believe that it is discounted, not because it was once a household chore, but because men as a whole have never shown any interest in doing it (I hate to generalise in this way, and genuinely, if anyone knows any man who knits; (and admits) I'd like to know!)
 Compare it to cooking for example, once a household chore, now an art form; and the number of internationally renowned male chefs is substantially larger than the female. 

   I think that it's a huge pity that women are still trivialising the hard work of other women; and that anything women can share together should be embraced. 

On a more practical note, the cross-stitch isn't great. Is there any way to cross-stitch diagonal lines without just doing a straight line of stitch? I tried to do diagonal crosses on the 'Y', but it's obvious how well that went.