Msnowe's Blog

Femi-Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on November 10, 2009

hammershoi_foto6

m.snowe is chock full o’ lady stuff to share from the past few days…

Ariel Levy writes on this in the New Yorker. (False memory syndrome is scary shit).

m.snowe got to see The Dinner Party, finally.

Thoughts on The Party?:

m.snowe liked the span of this piece. Never having seen pictures, only reading descriptions of the work, the concept was clearly different in practice than as msnowe envisioned. It was offset from all the other exhibits, and the lighting was intentionally low. If lucky enough, you received a small booklet to explain the “famous” lady table settings that you could flip through as you explored each section of  the piece. Admittedly, (shamefully,) msnowe needed the booklet in order to know about many of the ladies, especially those towards the beginning or middle of the walk around the exterior of the triangle. This fact, that msnowe’s own lady-knowledge was lacking, was upsetting, especially given her penchant for knowing these things. But also, how is it that one table could possibly contain most of the influential women in history? Because msnowe thought of all the ladies she’d like to see at this table before viewing it, and the exhibit wasn’t missing any of them. How can it be just one table? Even with a floor that scribbles on many other names as well? And how could msnowe not know all their stories? If there was such a table, and it was filled with 39 of the most important male figures throughout history, would it possible to not know every single, blessed one? Even just having the name ring a bell? The ignorance was at once excusable and completely unreasonable–rational yet enraging. We live in a world that  for most of its history has been unconcerned with female triumph (i.e. history is written by those in power).  What also bothered msnowe  (not as much, but still quite a bit) were the place settings themselves. Why does everything have to be vulvar petals and porcelain lips? I know Georgia O’Keeffe was an influence in this, but if there was a male dinner table of dominance (um, we already have plenty of those in real life anyways, one might add), would they need to have knives shaped like penises? Wouldn’t the men be celebrated by their accomplishments and not necessarily their bait and tackle? Don’t get msnowe wrong here, lady-hood should be celebrated, every bit including the genitalia–but isn’t defining a woman by her parts the antithesis to equality? Difference should be respected and accepted, not defining and segregating. If someone writes an amazing novel, or paints an amazing picture, they should be toasted for their talents, not their genitals (or skin color, or orientation, or age, etc.).  msnowe supposes that any piece of art which tips the scales away from phallic imagery is still doing some good. And msnowe also freely admits this piece belongs to another time, one where the celebration of all things female was a necessary reaction to a hostile world view. This was a revolution after all. Regardless of your artistic bent, it’s important not to forget that. Because as Levy explains in her New Yorker piece, the worst kind of feminism is one void of feminists.

Speaking of a lady-void, did you see this shiznit? Obviously, Publisher’s Weekly didn’t feel it necessary to invite any of the amazing lady writers to dinner.

Also, this is just catchy.

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2 Responses

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  1. fictionadvocate said, on November 10, 2009 at 10:18 am

    This essay by Joan Didion is a few decades old, but (perhaps for that reason) it sheds some light on things.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1972/07/30/books/didion-movement.html

  2. msnowe said, on November 10, 2009 at 10:42 am

    hmmm…intriguing. It does frame the expression of 1970’s feminists and their ideology, but I don’t really like Didion’s tone in this piece. I’d much rather slog through her personal essays and fiction.


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