Yup, I'm still going with Drumpf over Trump.
It is pretty hard to even begin to grasp the events of this past with dealing with our wonderful presidential nominee Donald Drumpf. These past two years I have been dealing specifically with problems of rape culture, with sexual assault, sexual violence, violence directed at women, and over the past two years I have witnessed some pretty wonderful things start to happen that make moves towards equality and simple recognition of the horrors that woman, on a daily basis have to face, over and over and over again. I was almost worried at one point that the work I have been doing was not even really going to matter because of how many people were talking about these issues that are so incredibly important. Naive, I know, but I saw change and I looked at it with admiration and relief. Part of me was doing this knowing that the things that were happening, while great, were far from enough. But when you spend most of your day, every single day, focusing on articles, news stories, personal testimonies, of all of the atrocious things that have happened to people that year, that month, that week, even that very day, you tend to grasp onto any moment of hope that you can. At least that is how I handled it, in a feeble attempt to keep my sanity as I waded through all of this shit.
But then you have weeks like this last one. Oh boy. I have been pretty good at denial. You don't stay sick for 15 years without being really good a denial. But there are moments where no matter how naive you want to be, no matter how much you have practiced it for whatever reason, that you simply cannot and should not deny the insanity that is playing out before you. Drumpf, on a recording from years ago, in what he has now called "locker talk" talked and laughed about he violated and assaulted women, and how much fun he was having while doing it. He boasted that he can do whatever he wants to women, whenever he wants to, and there is nothing that they can do about it, because he is a star, obviously they want it, he would know. Not only did he relish in his rapist ways, but others laughed along with him. Laughed. At stories of women being assault, being violated, being attacked. Laughed.
Now, lets just pretend (because we can all be certain that this actually has happened), that he really didn't actually do these heinous things that he was claiming to do on this tape. There are still so many things wrong going on within it. Billy Bush, the man laughing while all of this was being said, did not know that Drumpf was not telling the truth. He genuinely believed that this is what was happening, that this is what Drumpf was doing. And he laughed. He laughed at the idea of women being groped, being kissed, being pinned against walls against their will. He laughed. He laughed at the idea of women being humiliated, at women not having any control of what happened to them or their bodies. He laughed at it all.
The other disgusting quality to this video. Sure, he says he didn't do it. But what he did think was a good idea, was to "make up" these stories and to brag and boast about doing so. He thought, hey, this is a good thing to tell people about, they are going to love it, they are going to love me for it. He thought that saying these things would get him respect and credit. He thought that doing these things would give other guys he was telling it a laugh and give them a good time. That they could just all sit around and boast about all the horrible things they have done to women and how awesome it has made them. And he was right.
He was right. He told these stories, real or false, and people laughed with him, laughed with him and at the women. Laughed at the women, real or imagined, that suffered through this attack, through this assault. They listened to women being violated, and humiliated and assaulted and they laughed at it all. They probably wished they could do the same damn thing. That is rape culture. That is rape culture enforced by a man who could be the next president of the god damn united states. How fucked up is that?
I remember when Donald Drumpf first started his campaign, and I remember how funny it was that he thought he could say these things and that people would actually want him as a leader, as a role model, as a way to define our country. I laughed at that. Had I known what I know now, of how far he would get, I would have never laughed. I am ashamed to be a part of a country where a man with so much hate, and misogyny, with racist, ignorant and idiotic quality could get as far as he has with this election. Which brings about another horrible characteristic of this atrocious video. People will hear this recording, they will know what it means, what he is saying, and they won't care. Hell, many will love him all the more for it. They loved him when he called all Mexicans rapists, they loved him when he said he wanted to ban all Muslims, and they will love him for saying that he can do whatever the hell he wants to the women around him. And they will think they can do the same damn thing. They will think they can grope, and kiss, and rape women. They already think they can murder innocent people simply because of their race or religion, it's already happening, what is the harm with "20 minutes of action" as some people like to call it.
It is weeks like this, where I just sit back in utter disbelief that there are really people out there like this. That there really are people that think these things are ok. That there are people who revel in doing these things. I cannot begin to fathom how people believe these things, let alone act on them. How can they feel so entitled to do whatever the hell the want, others be damned, and then go and boast and brag and gloat about it all. Puff out their mainly chests and tell their mainly stories and mainly jokes.
But remember, it is all just locker talk now. It is all just in good fun, no need to be so damn sensitive to it all.
So I started something new, could be considered kind of weird. I am not really sure where I am going with it yet. But here they are, in all their glory. I have been working with women in our society and the experiences that they (we) go through as a collective and as an individual. Some of the conversations that keep reappearing is this idea of their (our) experiences and how society (men, primarily) control the conversations in a way that their (our) experiences, struggles, injustices, violence is erased. My work is creating an atmosphere where they are erased, as they are in society, and through the duration of the course of exhibit, I will be bringing these concepts to the forefront. Un-erasing them.. Is there a word for that?
Anyway, these are my sketches for it. NOTE. Sketches. Not finales. Sketches.
And as with sketches, feedback is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
So I have started doing something that I wish I would have never started, I have started to read the comments that go along with all of the horrible, sexist, misogynistic articles that I look at on a day to day basis to assist in my research. For example, I just finished watching a video of a girl ranting about how she was sent home from school because it was 90 + degrees outside and her school doesn't have air conditioning so she decided to wear a (respectful, whatever that means in this context) strapless dress. If anything it hid her shape more than many other things that people wear, (granted this is getting into a whole other debate that I probably shouldn't divert myself into at this moment, I am really good at getting off topic with rants), but it did show her shoulders. GASP! Shoulders, I know, what the hell was she thinking showing off those things for other people to see. She might as well be walking around completely naked. So, of course, being our society that it is and the hyper-sexualization of women's bodies, the male teacher, the adult in the room mind you, who is finding this pubescent girls body to distracting for him, (because that shouldn't be the conversation here at all, an adult who is finding this young girls body too sexual that he had to send her away so that he, and the other males in the class would no longer be distracted by her bare shoulders) sent her to the office where she was given two options, either put a shirt on or get suspended.
Obviously she was upset by the whole ordeal and took to social media to point out the stupidity of it all, and me being the (somewhat) optimistic person that I am decided to read the comments that went along with the article. I have had some particularly bad articles the past couple of days and wanted something a little uplifting to go along with this rather vexing article. I for some reason assumed that there would be people there supporting her and ranting about how crapy the world can be. I think I was just hoping for something better than the crap that I know is everywhere. Needless to say that I was unpleasantly surprised with even the very first post on the subject. And every single comment after it. Of the over 100 comments that I read about only a small handful were in support of her. The rest however were calling her an entitled bitch, that she needs to get her dumb ass back in school to learn, that this school isn't even the real world and she isn't going to make it when she gets out there, that she isn't oppressed, that real oppression isn't something that she will ever know, that women aren't oppressed and that it is just a bunch of horse shit. I could go on and on and on and on and fucking on about the shit they were saying. And me being the sucker for punishment that I am just kept reading and reading and reading. Losing more hope for humanity with every single post.
Do these "adults" not realize that everything they are saying is about a young girl, that she is just a kid, and that yes, some of the things that she said were used in the wrong ways, but overall her argument was strong. But all they saw was some young girl yelling at a phone and posting it online. Obviously she could not have anything of value to say or discussions to add. Those assumptions, those moments of instant judgements placed on people, those people assuming that she has no value because of her age or sex, are the ones perpetuating everything that she was fighting against, that I fight against on a daily basis. Hell, on a freaking hourly basis at this moment in time. And what was even worse was the amount of women commenting on it saying all of this vile things about this girl because she felt like she deserved better than what she had been given.
I read something this week that has been resonating with me for awhile now, "Hierarchies 'work' at least in part because they create vested interests in the status quo. Those at the higher levels can 'buy off' those at the lower levels by offering them power over those still lower." The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union by Heidi Hartmann. While this comment was talking about how that men, while not all equal when factors of race, class and sexuality are factored in, they are always seen higher than women. And that this balanced of men in power is maintained because at least even the lowest level of men still have power over females, which give them incentive to keep patriarchy alive and kicking. But what I find even more damaging than men using their positions of power over women, is that this works with women as well. Women have just as many hierarchies playing into these sad dramas that play out. That women out there will degrade others when they can because it keeps those other women in their place and keeps those women on top of them where they are. Yes, they have some crappy spots, but they are better off than a lot of others, therefor some things that are wrong are just fine. If we started to address these problems that women face that all of the sudden this balances of power would start to shift, and who knows where everyone would end up. People hate the idea of losing power.
I have power over other women. I am white, that gives me a lot of power. And that power is something that I struggle with every single day of my life. Do I use my position in order to press further issues that I think are important? Do I try to speak for others who are not being heard? How insensitive does that sound, because I think quite a bit. I hate it, absolutely HATE it when women say so many things that make complete sense but no one in mass culture will take it as anything other than ramblings of crazy people until a man decides to repeat it. Than he is hailed as this progressive saint that all people should aspire to be. It is infuriating. And I would be doing the same exact thing if I wanted to push the movements of women of color or speak for the lgbtq community. On the other hand, by not saying anything I am not doing anything to change how things are and am helping the status quo stay right where it is, in my favor. But if I do try to speak on them I know, no matter how much research I do and how much I try to be as educated as possible, I will never fully understand their difficulties. Their lives are not my own, and while I can say I can imagine what it is like, I really truly have no clue. And no matter how I look at it, helping those who are considered lower in this fucked up hierarchy of people than me, will always be in my own self interested. Even though I am doing it because I genuinely think that we are all people and these stupid things we use to classify people are absolutely horse shit, I get self gratification out of it. Look at me, I am so progressive and inclusive, I fight for all those "lower" people.
I don't really know where I am going with this. Welcome to a glimpse of my mind people, where no one can win. The world can really suck some times. I guess I will leave you wonderful people here, with no conclusions or happy endings. I am going to go find videos of kittens and puppies being kittens and puppies. Then I am going to go back to those horrible things that fill up the internet.
Hello all of you people out in the inter-webs, (aka all the people I'm friends with on Facebook who have been suckered into reading this). This is just a little introduction of myself and what you can expect to find here in the future. For those of you who do not know, I am a photographer based in Milwaukee WI, where I have lived for the last (holy crap its been) 9 years. I graduated from The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2013 with my BFA. My thesis focused on a personal illness taken from a photo documentary style, (it's on my website, you know you want to go check it out), titled "Your Nurse Today Is...". From there, wanting to continue my education, (and being unable to pay off the incredibly high loans I accrued while there) I decided to enroll at UW-Milwaukee, first for Journalism but in the end applying for, and being accepted into the MFA program. I am currently about to start my final year in the program (yikes), preparing for the classes I'm going to be taking as well as the class I will be teaching (double yikes!). Yup, I will be molding the minds of 18 young photo enthusiast (and a bunch of other people that probably thought that taking a film photography class would be an easy way to get their art credits taken care of, not realizing how much money and time they will be putting into it), for the fall semester. But really, all kidding aside, I am both incredibly excited and extremely terrified of being able to teach something that I really love to a group of students. My main professor wanted to ease my nerves by assuring me that he would sit in for my first few classes to judge my performance, but that I shouldn't worry because he will wait until after the class is over to correct everything I did wrong so to not under mind my authority in front of my pupils... REALLY put me at ease, let me tell you. Besides learning how to teach students by trial and error I will be working on my final thesis as well as a really long paper where I get to sound really smart to all my friends I will make read it (aka, you Rob, just another perk of dating me, I can actually make you read it. Everyone else, you're safe. Be glad, it's going to be really long). My final work, as with much that I have been working with the last two years, is about our wonderful patriarchal society and what it is like to live in it, mostly as a female, but looking at aspects for males, queers, transgender and non binary individuals. Most of my research has been from watching news (mostly Fox), reading articles, finding quotes from public figures, etc. It was as much fun as it sounds, makes me super cheery. But again, all kidding aside, I am really proud of some of the things I have come to do. I am making art that is saying something that I am incredibly passionate about, and have the opportunity to share that with others. I will get into more about what I am doing in later posts, (yup, leaving you with a cliff hanger like that, you are just going to have to come back and find out more now). Which is much of what this blog will involve: sharing where I am at, problems I am debating, rants on the latest shitty thing I have discovered, and every now and then, (for my sanity and those of you who will follow it somewhat regularly), fun photo walks that I take, or side projects that I am working on. Lastly, in case you couldn't figure out by my current focus in projects, I am a huge feminist, or as Maisie Williams (a fucking fantastic actress in an amazing series) put it, a normal person, not a sexist. Have a good day!
Wisconsin native, born and raised. Cheesehead and Packers lover at heart. I am finishing my last year in the MFA program at UW-Miwaukee, some of what you will find on here. A place to sketch out ideas and thoughts and a place to put my mind at ease, or turmoil, depending on the subject matter.