on my recent trip to new york, tania pointed me towards an exhibit at the brooklyn museum entitled "global feminisms" and i was excited and eager to go. i love museums and i miss engaging discussions about topics that are relevant to me and my experience.
the majority of the pieces were violent or about violence inflicted upon women. there were many dark corners where videos and other technological displays were set up. i found it disturbing and overwhelming. some of the videos were clearly over 20 minutes. i believe there was one that was an hour long. i felt that much of the art and media was disconnected and unappealing.
i don't assume that feminists topics, including global feminism, will be without violence. neither do i assume that they will be lovely displays of flowers and women of all races and geographic locations holding hands. all i ask is for something in the middle.
by viewing the pieces where pig skin and barbed wire wrapped around a woman's face, i felt re-victimized. i understand that at times the purpose of art is to work through your own experiences and can be very therapeutic. kristin and i worked on an art show (mostly kristin though!) where that was the purpose. there was a certain sensitivity the artist had to the audience, as the viewers may have been through similar trauma. i feel that sensitivity was completely lacking in this exhibit.
my conclusion about the experience was that global/third world feminism cannot become a platform to educate others. my problem with many -isms is that too often the focus shifts from educating and empowering ourselves to simply educating others. to re-iterate time and time again that violence happens, that rights are needed, and that anger is present is exhausting.
i want another perspective. i want a middle ground between understanding and beauty that doesn't exclude violence or discussion, but doesn't center around it.
we are constantly absorbing images and messages around us. we are here. we are listening. i believe it is time to create what hasn't been created. to question what hasn't been answered.
i want art and beauty. i want it for us. i want it by us. let's talk to each other. let's work on becoming stronger, better, smarter. together.
i want to stop pandering to them.
and start living and learning for us.