For as long as a dream lives inside you, there is a plan for its time in space.
“Why do you paint women?” This is the question I am most often asked. I used to think it was a boring question, but not anymore.
My old answer to why I paint women was, “Because I am a woman.” My new answer is, “I paint women because the entirety of my life experience has been as a woman, and I am expressing what that feels like since I think it’s a very important thing for people to know”.
Those two answers are so different. The first answer doesn’t demonstrate any understanding and is really only a fact (based on current notions of gender). The second answer is that of someone who has considered where she stands in a larger social context and has consciously experienced the highest and lowest limits of what her gender embodies. She also realizes the value of her life experience. I have to wonder why I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, answer the second way from the beginning. Perhaps it’s simply that I’ve grown as a person and I’ve gained confidence in voicing my opinion, as well as, an educated vocabulary with which to support it.
I no longer dread being questioned about why I paint women, because I now realize that it is an important question, which I have the ability to answer. If you’ve read my blog, you know what I have to say already. To those who have yet to know my answer, I hope that I can have an open, meaningful dialogue with you one day.
Have you seen her TED talk on creativity? It’s really wonderful and humbling http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html
Even if they are never verbalized, the rules of bodily conduct for females become clear early on: when school administrators reprimand you for the inch of midriff that shows when you lift your hands straight in the air or youth group leaders tell you that the sight of your unintentional cleavage is what causes godly young men to fall, you learn that your body is dangerous and shameful and that it’s your responsibility to cloister it in a way that is acceptable to everyone else. You learn that your body is a topic of public debate that everyone is entitled to weigh in on, from a male classmate telling you that those jeans make your ass look huge to the male-dominated United States Congress dictating the parameters that rape must fall within to be considered legitimate. To be a woman, and to live life in a woman’s body, is to be held to a set of comically paradoxical standards that make you constantly second-guess yourself and jump through a million hoops in pursuit of an impossible perfection.” —Stop Catcalling Me | Thought Catalog (via poseidenne)