I need a ‘the world is your oyster’ guide/menu?

I’m just letting the universe*** know that I don’t know what I want to do with my life over the summer, aka the whole 4 months currently hanging aimless between the comfort of two grounding school semesters.

Some current options are pretty obvious things like, go home for a bit, stay in Montreal and work, sleep all day, drink all night, lay around in parks wearing short shorts and feeling all young-like in the sun, ect. Many of those things may/hopefully happen, but nothing has that ‘yes this totally feels right’ feeling yet.

And! it’s a little early but, I’m also looking for a new home in Montreal starting July (city wide annual moving day) – and I’d like to live with roommates! maybe in a loft? maybe with studio space? (and/or I’m also looking for studio space, ha) – preferably plateau/mile end.

***so please let me know of any life choices/ directions/ jobs/ internships/ homes/ workshops/ classes/ opportunities/ ideas/ places/ festivals/ roadtrips/ collaborators/ ect. that you feel would be fitting to (however it is you perceive) me – (I need a ‘the world is your oyster’ guide/menu?)

I really believe that the internet is serendipitous, so it’s worth a try!

A possibly (quite) controvertial essay I wrote on (the irony of) female sexuality (within the patriarchal system)

I’m mostly still in this head space of, “I’m allowed to be in school?” not to mention art school, and ‘sexuality studies’ school? in Montreal? and then add to that that sometimes I do really well on projects and stuff? This all still seems like someone might be playing some sort of prank on me, and if you are, like it’s not funny guys!

But since, contrary to instinct, it still all appears to be real, I’m just going with it.

I wrote this essay for my ‘Intro to Sexuality Research’ class, which I got a little bit obsessed with (read ‘totally obsessed’) and it was kind of super hard because I’m pretty sure the last time I wrote a research paper it was on ‘Flying Squirrels’ in like grade 8. So, I was really paranoid about everything, like I HATE SCARY PLAGIARISM LAWS and does anything I write make sense? Also because I felt like I should have picked a way simple-er topic and like I was basically trying to fit an entire thesis into around 3000 words. BUT! you know what? I got an A+ on it! So, chicken butt! Also because I started it with this sentence:

“I once had a therapist, who when I said I’d never really dated during high school, told me that this was highly unusual.”

Which I love, but I was paranoid about it being some sort of huge academic faux pas (which it probably is, but apparently taking the chance paid off). If you’d like to read the entire essay, (with all of my current most favorite quotes and all) you can see it here. I realize it’s in a strange format, but the prof said the outline should be: ‘intro to topic-3 questions-discussing 5 sources-conclusion’, so I just followed that. In case you don’t want to read the whole thing I’ve included the most important parts (with the most most important parts in bold, obviously):

—– “I once had a therapist, who when I said I’d never really dated during high school, told me that this was highly unusual. She explained that normally, girls who are stereotypically attractive are likely to subconsciously find themselves in long term relationships, particularly during adolescence, as a form of protection. Protection, one can assume, from taunting, teasing, sexual abuse and rumors that she’s a slut, because even in our contemporary society, as women we are still questioned and treated like a threat if our sexuality isn’t serving a man.

From before we even enter puberty, before we even have a concept for what sexuality is, we’re sexualized, we’re taught that we serve a sexual purpose, and it is so common place that it goes almost unquestioned. Yet, we’re not allowed to own that? To enjoy it, to understand it, to challenge it, or to take pride in it?
What we’re taught as women, as girls, as female adolescents; is that our sexuality is the most important factor in our lives and relationships, but that we should be nothing but ashamed of it. We’re taught that we shouldn’t flirt back, fight back, use sex to get what we want, or desire sex much at all. That we are only meant to be enjoyed, not enjoy, experienced but not experience, that our sexuality is nothing but for the desire of men. Women have the capacity to be incredibly sexual, but are taught otherwise. We’re just thrown blindly into this web of mens desires with very few resources for how to navigate within them.

Instead, we’re just paraded with these sparkly ideals of romance, monogamy and marriage, particularly during adolescence and early adulthood, while we’re establishing our sexualities and trying to build an understanding for our sexual selves and overall identities. If we do not understand what it means to be sexual beings, than how can we articulate our needs, our desires, or our rights? How can we say that women and men are equal when we’re taught to be fundamentally out of balance?

The institutions at the foundation of our contemporary society do not in any way want us to have this awareness, they never have. The Catholic church, for example, has placed fear of female sexuality and independent thought at the heart of their creation of humans existence. Eve did wrong by Adam, and we’re forever paying for the freedom allotted to such a careless and curious woman.” —— (the intro)

—– “The truth is that we do live in a patriarchal society, and so as a woman, isn’t the manipulation of that institution and male gaze for our own gain a feminist act in itself? Male industries have been using the female image as a tool in business probably for as long as there’s been money to be made. In her articles, White asks “Why not subvert the system and use it for your own gain, your own art? Why can’t that be a woman’s choice?”  and quotes feminist writer Chris Kraus on his interpretation of the nude self portraits by artist Hannah Wilke, “As if the only possible reason for a woman to publicly reveal herself could be self-therapeutic. As if the point was not to reveal the circumstances of one’s own objectification.”

As a female artist, I am particularly inspired and comforted by these sentiments, especially since a lot of what I’m interested in is performance and self portrait based. I find it personally helpful to think of myself and my work this way. Beauty, sexual appeal and femininity are clearly very powerful, in many ways. I have often wondered if beauty and esthetic appeal can be a resource in activism, since they have such an effective impact in attracting attention, and the Femen movement demonstrates this wonderfully. For women to own what it means to live in a world where our appearances are so highly discussed, valued and scrutinized, both negatively and in more admiring ways, seems essential in order to move foreword”—– (important personal chunk)

—– “For as long as modern society functions as it does, built on the bones of an agricultural idealism; obsessed with worth and possessions, equality between the sexes will be impossible because women will always have something men don’t but want desperately, the ability to control the ambiguous and endless possibilities of female sexuality. Our society as it stands would never function in a world where every women were sexually empowered and “equal” to men because our sexualities would no longer be a commodity, no longer so rare and taboo enough that they could be sold and bought at the rate they are, both as an object of desire for men, and as a goal to attain, by women themselves.

Without the manipulation of female sexuality that presently exists over all, women may act, expect from and treat their lives and choices very differently, and this is why it’s seen as incredibly dangerous, because it’s literally a danger to society as we know it. Therefore, the patriarch will do everything within it’s means to keep women scared, self conscious and compliant to men. We are taught to feel ashamed of our sexualities from childhood, in so many different ways, from schoolyard slut bashing to the fairy tales we’re read to from at night. We’re taught to doubt ourselves, and our instincts constantly, in pursuit of some sort of moral rightness and idealistic romance, all because of a centuries old fear. The irony, to me, seems to be that if women are able to recognize these societal factors, and examine themselves truthfully, they may just make a mockery of the patriarch by using this over emphasis on female sexuality to their own advantage.“—- (conclusion)

Ch-ch-changes – thoughts?

I’ve changed up my header and profile photos, as well as the colour of some text, on this blog & my twitter page and wondering what you think? Is the text too hard to read, or just the right amount of obnoxious neon? I like it but if it hurts to look at that’s a problem, ect.

Also, changed my twitter handle from @mad_d_black to a hopefully easier to remember play on my real name (which was already taken) /nicknames: @moodynightshade

Follow me!

(see what I did there)

Required (preferred) Readings.

Especially interesting exerts from ‘Am I Normal? The Questions of Sex’
– which I just read for my ‘Intro to Sexuality Research’ class…

Required (preferred) Readings. | This is (not) Romance..

Being Barbie

Tonight and tomorrow night I’m doing a performance with Fada Dance, for our year end show called ‘What’s in the Closet, What’s Under the Bed’, as a Barbie doll. In the piece each of us are a different broken toy, the other girls are: a robot, a soldier, a strawberry shortcake doll, a ballerina, a jester and a raggedy anne doll. As a part of our preparations we did a free writing as our toy, here’s a snip-bit from mine:

“I was created to be a role model, the ideal, beautiful, successful, a blank slate for imagination. As children, girls love me, but as they grow older, they begin to compare themselves to my plastic flesh. I was cast in a mold, I cannot control the way that I look, but I’m not trying to make anyone feel self conscious. Soon, I was labeled as a ‘bad influence’ on self perception and body image, and the girls who were once my best friends prefer me forgotten.”

I’m really interested in what it would feel like to literally be a Barbie. A large theme in our piece is that these toys have been left behind, no longer a part of children’s lives (like Toy Story). There’s a real nostalgic heartbreak in that reality manifested in any aspect of our lives, like when people or homes or toys that were once dear and close to us are no longer. But if we leave those people, homes or toys on a bitter, resentful note, than the pain becomes much deeper, and I feel like Barbie really gets hit hard with bitterness and resentment more than maybe any other childhood friend.

Barbie is caught between this idea of condratictory messages about beauty, and that is something that I can relate to. It’s something I feel is paralelled in the messages we send girls and women about their (our) own bodies, Barbie aside. We are told and taught and taunted, to be beautiful, cute and sexy, but still approachable, still relatable, still exsisting under this metaphoracle bar of attractiveness. The message is that we’ll never be enough, but we can still be too much.

In my opinion, Barbie gets too much blame, and what I believe is actually responsible, is the ever encouraged idea that women are meant to be like fantasy; the idea that the ideal woman looks like a mini nymph from your favorite fairy tale and that we need to look a certain way in order to receive the love that we deserve.

If we taught our children that women (and men) don’t have to have shiny hair and perfect skin, that we’re humans with mortal bodies that hold tension and experiences and love and grief, that we have fantasies for a reason, as a wonderful way to escape reality; then I don’t think we’d ever have to resent Barbie and her proportionately 18 inch waist, just like we don’t resent Mr. Potato Head because he can wear his feet on his head.

Can you still call it art?

Yes.
Poets write poetry.

But why shouldn’t a computer also.
Or at least, help to inspire and cultivate more poetry within poets.

If I’m a poet and I give said computer/program the tools that it needs to create spontaneous, beautiful and interesting poetry, what makes it any less valid than the words themselves I first wrote. Where is the line drawn between words jumbled until they just happen to arrange in a way which is beautiful and the way jumbled words spill from my own brain?

If our minds are the worlds most engenious computers than how can my mac book be any less than a kick-ass side-kick?

If the paintings I make by creating the proper conditions, choosing colours, canvas, tape, water and pressure, and then leaving the result up to chance, be considered art; then why not/would my words wrung through a melting pot, re-served to me in new forms and then re-aranged again by me, be themselves foolish, or laugh worthy?

How can you distribute worth to one series of words and not the other?
Especially if they’re equal or greater than, in substance.

When do words become poems and images become art?
Sound become music?
Moving become dancing?
Clothing become style?

If you stick a film camera on your cats collar,
and then let it roam freely, can you still call it art?

**Written in response to friends disregarding (and laughing at) a poetry project which is ironically still in the works.