Sunday, December 13, 2009

women making art [or not]

Because so many thought Eva Hesse was just "Tom's wife".

Because so many thought Esther Broner was just "Bob's wife".

Because Sister Butterfly felt the impact of LDS women who can only introduce themselves by their husband's and children's accomplishments and Mraynes discussed the issues of wives giving up their own ambitions to support their husbands.

Because I just spent two hours cleaning the kitchen, and holiday preparations have kept me from my work for almost a whole month. Which isn't the same thing as being identified as merely DH's wife, but seems to fit as I currently feel my identity being absorbed by housework. And it also triggers all my own insecurities about even claiming I have "my work" (who the hell do I think I am?)

(Perhaps also exacerbated by an approaching birthday and a sense of having accomplished not much.)

So I'm just feeling kinda lousy lately. But it might also just be the weather.

i hates housekeeping


mraynes said...


C. L. Hanson said...

Ha, great picture!!!

flygirl said...

Love the picture. The picture is art.

The Numismatist said...

Wow, wasn't expecting that when I scrolled down! Fabulous!

Chandelle said...

I love that picture. You should put it in your etsy shop.

I don't have so much cog-dis about Jeremy's work vs. mine, but rather growing dissonance about how our society values work in general. Meaning that if we don't get paid for it, it DOESN'T have value. Which is kind of a lot of bullshit, I'm realizing, because most of the work that has market value is not really valuable in terms of advancing human potential, whereas most work for which there isn't a market value is truly important for making us better people. So obviously our priorities as a civilization are pretty skewed.

I'm not sure that's related to what you said, but, ah...yep.

Glad to see you writing.

xJane said...

Awesome, awesome picture! My sisters' self-definition by "their accomplishments" means "their children" and this drives me crazy. I recently was talking to one of my friends and expressed the desire that my mother accept my decision to pursue a career as an accomplishment (rather than a deficiency for not focusing on my fertility). Everyone decides their own values, I suppose, although I still feel dismayed when women choose to define themselves by their children. I'm reminded of the cartoon you sent to me so long ago where the woman, after self-identifying as lesbian and then as bi finally said (I'm paraphrasing), "Fuck it! I want to be defined by my art, not who I sleep with!!" I, too, do not wish to be defined by who I sleep with (whether that's "het" or "wife of") but by my accomplishments.

I don't mean to diminish the role of the mother or its difficulty. I am grateful to my mother for raising me. I am also grateful to her for having a career as well.

Chandelle said...

I think one of the things that worries me most about women defining themselves by their children is the expectations that saddle those children. If your mother defines herself by you, "you" are also clearly defined - by your mother. And if you fail, according to the expectations of your mother, then your mother perceives herself as a failure. Which can destroy the relationship and a mother's sense of self. I've seen this happen between my partner and his mother. She's defined herself by her six children, especially her first-born golden son. That's not healthy for anyone involved. Too many expectations on all sides when nobody can stand on their own simply with others' support.

Brooke said...


Love you, girl!