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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Womens Rights Officer

Women have been closely tied to the arts since the arts were any good. The nine muses were some beautiful, intelligent, and—from what I can tell from their name—very inspiring women. But, of course, many of the artists were men. In the patriarchal society there was no tolerance for women to create, except tapestries and children. While times have changed since Exekias, women artists have still had a rough time.

In the 70s, Suzanne Santoro produced vaginal imagery, which was declared pornographic. It’s interesting how sexualised the female body has become. You’ve probably heard the ‘scandal’ over Andrej Pejic. The androgynous model who has successfully modelled female and male clothing was placed on the cover of a magazine with his hair in curlers, taking off his shirt. The cover was censored. Just give people a hint that there may be a glimpse of a female nipple and people freak out.

But, I guess I’m biased towards artists because I study English. I have to say, I’m a big fan of Janet Frame and Sue Monk Kidd. They push the boundaries. Check out The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, or anything by Edith Sitwell. You may be intrigued. And, until relatively recently, it was deemed unsuitable for a woman to write poems or novels, and so they used a pen name. J.K. Rowling isn’t just J.K. Rowling because Joanne Kathleen is a mouthful, but because she was advised to abbreviate it so it could be gender neutral. It was feared that young boys would cast aside a book written by a woman, of all things.

The world is still progressing! You can look forward to Women’s Fest coming up the second week back after the break (12—16 September), and there will be lots of free and women-oriented funness for all to enjoy. You can even try your hand at our stencilling workshop! So much fun! *

Necia Johnston
womens.officer@vuwsa.org.nz

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