I am realizing more and more how important it is to the development of my craft to create with women in the room. Not just the token love interest, but women empowered to speak up, critique, cry, yell, make a mess, make mistakes, and roll around on the floor unrestricted by the omnipresent male gaze. Not only does the male gaze strip her of her complexity, her stories, and her history, she is reduced to the sexual chemistry and domicity of herself to serve men telling men’s stories. Her silence in the room is not noted because she is inexperienced, agreeable, over sensitive, or cold.
It is still a radical act for women to support women creating work. It is still a radical act for man to invite women into their process as equals without first asking them to prove their value to serve the process or sleep with the director. It is still a radical act for women to create art and tell stories about and for women without trying to appeal to the masculinized universality. It is still a radical act for men to create and art and tell stories that celebrate femininity and give it room to breath without limitations or restrictions. It is still a radical act to pay women to create art and culture that reflects their wholeness, experiences, hopes, dreams, and losses instead of trying to reduce her to a singular voice for all women.
Most of my collaborators and close conspirators are men perhaps by default perhaps by fear. In part due to the internalized misogyny that still hinders my development of close relationships with women. In part because more often than not it is a man in a position to offer me a contract, critique my work, and add credibility to my voice. The women I work with are often self-depricating and humble, and work twice as hard to pull their weight as is asked of them. They are careful and gaurded about how they come across, what they are allowed to say, even the out spoken not wanting to directly call attention to their obviously unique position as a woman with a voice at the table. Understanding their bodies as a living sculpture, which angles and colors to work, how to present a pleasing figure on or off stage to land the part, promotion, gallery show. And often taking on the lions share of the work to care for and educate their peers as leaders in the movement. These are strong amazing women that I admire deeply so I want to see room for them to sprawl out and flourish without having to cater or apologize for taking up more than their fair share of space.
How do we tend this plot of earth we call life so that we have room to grow? What do I need to create the work I want to create with women I admire? When will women have a room of their own not tied up in masculinized industry gatekeepers and taste makers? Who are we bringing up as the next big thing and why?