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I had some exciting e-mails today…three of them…one for each quilt that I entered into the Canadian Quilters Association!

Artist Statement:

UNSEEN

Left to right text on the bars:

1. The unexamined lives of women means that the structures that inform her life remain invisible.

2.  Struggling in her despair she feels vulnerable and isolated.  Women suffer more depression.

3.  In 1792 a book called “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” by Mary Wollstonecraft began this movement.

4.  If you focus myopically at just one wire in the cage you cannot see the other wires.

5.  Is the blatant sexualization liberation or does it perpetuate the idea of being subservient?

6.  She hides under the stairs hoping to hide the evidence of his wrath.  The war on women continues.

7. Children are magical, exhausting, brilliant, frustrating, radiant, embarrassing, joyful, messy and loud.

8.  Caring for the young, sick, elderly and disabled is unvalued, under recognized and under serviced.

9.  Before she was to be submissively at home now she is to be submissively working full time.  Curious!?!

10.  She’s told repeatedly all she has to do is eat less and move more.  She is such a failure when her weight returns.

11.  All alone she finds herself invisible, isolated and impoverished.  She has outlived her money.  Sad!

12.  Women have fought hard for the right to have access to safe choices.  It’s under huge assault.

13.  Is narcissism on the rise?  Maybe not but lower empathy is.  That is even more worrisome.

In the early 1980’s Marilyn Frye wrote an essay where she used the analogy to explain the issues that women were dealing with at the time.  She wrote that if you only focused in on one wire of a birdcage you would not understand why the bird is unable to fly away.  We know through the history of women working for rights that women have ended up focusing on one topic; as in the right to vote, the right to education, the right to control ones own body and the right to choose to work outside of the home.

Each of these rights were hard won battles, some taking many decades to accomplish but did not each in themselves completely changed women’s lives in our society.  Each right does build towards that eventual day, but the amount of energy expended has been great to earn these changes.  Work needs to continue as vigilance is definitely required.  But now women work full time, still do the majority of household chores, still are the major child-rearers, add into this the pressure to have clean houses, healthy meals, fabulous birthday parties, and being the taxi to all their childrens sport and other events.  The pressure on women has increased to unmanageable proportions!

This movement really began 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a book called “The Vindication of the Rights of Woman”. She was inspired by the ideas coming out of revolutionary France and she was the first to really name some of the issues that were informing women’s lives at the time.  It is the book that future women would read around the world that inspired them to want to make changes that would ultimately be for the betterment of our society.

When I read this descriptive analogy I immediately saw women in a birdcage, though I have to admit that this could also be any of the “visible” minorities in our country.  It was 2001 and I did not have the skills to even begin to do more than do a sketch and put it away.  Nine years later I could bring out that sketch and begin to create the piece that would ultimately be called “Unseen”.

I wanted the women to be isolated but still somewhat connected.  We still have so many issues that continue to plague women in our society, sadly some of the same issues that Mary Wollstonecraft named over two hundred years ago.

The rates of depression are much higher for women, especially women with children.  We still categorize women as good girls or as sluts. Though there seems to be a real “slutification” of young women happening in how they dress right now, and in how they are expected to behave.  I would be curious as to how “freeing” this new model is or if it turns out to be a different way to get the same result.

There is an increasing rolling back of women’s rights to control their bodies, which may now be arriving in Canada due to the new majority Conservative (Reform Party) government that was just elected.

A few years ago Linda Hirshman wrote a book called “Get to work”…now women must be submissive and work fulltime…curious isn’t it. Though she does have a point that women may find that their financial lives will be affected later because of their lack of involvement in the market.  Which has lead to the problem that older women struggle with, she can be invisible, very poor, and now lives much longer.  The older women who were at home caring for family and then only husbands are really undervalued now. Children change lives when they join families but the change is often greatest in a woman’s life. We verbally say that children are important but sadly our actions don’t match at all.  There is little support in our society for children’s care; we diminish those people who choose to be childcare workers by severely under paying them.  What sometimes can seem to be more important are the large house, the vehicles, and other physical evidence of our monetary placement in the world.

I am having problems getting the other two images on the blog tonight.  Weird.   I will try to put the other ones up tomorrow.

See you tomorrow…if I can get the images up and if not…on Monday!  Have a good weekend.

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