Here are some of my favourite images from an artist I just discovered, Carol Rossetti.
I like their simple, billboard style simplicity. Each image starts with a situation that we judge regularly in society.
As a woman, I feel that my body is judged constantly, both casually and overtly.
I’ve read that a key element to the patriarchal society in which we live is that it sexually controls women, as they are the means of reproduction. Control women, and you control the number of workers and soldiers in your population. This control is essential in a society that is based on the division of property. A woman who enjoys sex is dangerous; how does a man know if the child is biologically his and “worth” spending resources on? She must be controlled.
One way in which the modern patriarchy controls women is via the beauty industry. Women are convinced from an early age that they need beauty products, as their main societal value is what men think of them, based on their appearance.
Her are some images related to certain aspects of that:
On days when I don’t wear make up, my face feels naked, and people tend to treat me differently. Is this my imagination, or is this real?
As someone who has experimented widely with their appearance, I know that people are more or less responsive/friendly towards me based on whether I am wearing make-up to accentuate certain features of my face.
Men are not subject to this pressure. A man may be treated differently if he is wearing jeans or a suit, but clothing aside, all they have to do is clean themselves and eat healthily, whereas women are pressured into spending over an hour per day on temporary treatments, like painting their faces and styling their long hair. This impedes women from exercise to a certain extent. A woman going swimming needs to budget a lot more time to “fix herself up” afterwards than a man.
As a teenager, I became interested in breast augmentation. I read certain young women’s magazines that brainwashed me into thinking that my body existed for a man’s appraisal and that if it was found wanting I might become a social outcast. I have no problem with women or men that choose to have plastic surgery. That is their choice. But I find it hard to listen to men casually evaluating women’s bodies.
I’m from an area where tans are highly prized as status symbols, meaning that you have time to go to the beach and money to go on holiday. However, I have very pale skin that doesn’t really turn brown at all. I spent a lot of time and money on fake tans while in university, trying to avoid being publically ridiculed for my pale legs (like on a hot summers day when I was wearing a skirt). Doing sport became unthinkable to me.
I would love love LOVE for this artist to release a series for men. “People call Derek a cissy for the types of movies he likes. Derek: your choices are nobody else’s business”. When I talk about the patriarchal order, men often switch off, thinking they are being attacked in some way. If I’m honest, sometimes I resent men for being seemingly wilfully unaware/ignorant of the problems women face just for being women. I feel like everyone else is asleep in the matrix and I am one of the few who are awake. For every benefit men get from the patriarchy, they also lose. They are also not allowed to freely express themselves.
I question whether I am a feminist. If feminism is about gender equality, where are the people standing up for men’s rights to parent their children after a divorce? Why is the argument so polarised, with a growing anti-feminist movement online? It’s almost like equality means some people will lose something so they get angry and try to keep things the way that they are.