Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Why I Hate Art By Women

There are probably a thousand and one discussions that can lead off from here, so forgive me if I miss your favourite. I might even get around to mangling it in a later post. In the meantime, here's Chairman Vile's Thought for the Day.

When Valerie Hagar discusses her audience for Naked in Alaska, she observes that it is often women who are most moved. It isn't so much that they share her experiences, but that the struggle she describes is more common than just being a lap-dancer in  a cold state. Questions of self-respect, the need to be admired, to make money and the freedom to express sexual confidence: Naked in Alaska explores these (and has 20-odd characters, all performed by Hagar).

 Intellectually, I could recognise the theme of liberation and redemption that ran through Naked in Alaska, but I struggled to feel it physically. Contrasting this with my experience of Polska at Dance Base, when I found myself grooving along to the extended twerking work-out to Sympathy for The Devil, I started to ask questions about how my nervous system responds to performance.

Despite growing up with a belief in gender equality (more that it is a Good Idea than actually happening), I realise that my nervous system, and the experiences that interpret it and each other, are not female.

The only way that I can get closer to female understanding is by watching art by women but... because I don't have the shared experiences, I won't experience the art through a female understanding and so... my masculine bias trumps it.

This isn't one of those 'I hate being a man' routines. I don't mind it.

Acknowledging that not all women will feel the same, all opinions are subjective, provisional and valid, I still think I am missing something.

Here's two solutions...

I ought to go to more art by women,and take a woman with me, and talk about it afterwards.

Only women ought to review work by women.

Anyone else fancy arguing this out?

Disclaimer: The vile arts does not hate art by women.The title was deliberately inflammatory in the hope someone would read it. 

1 comment :

  1. Surely if women only review art by women, that might encourage the whole mother-daughter dynamic some arts critics have in their relationship with performers? Also, wouldn't that cut the male part of the audience out of it? Even though the issues raised are relevant to women, doesn't mean anyone else who doesn't identify as female would not be able to watch the show, right? It should just be a case of male white cis-feminists shut up, and learn something from what you are watching,no ?