So this is what trust looks like.
Funny, my first thought was “So this is what the patriarchy looks like.”
Yup. This is how women are supposed to trust men. With their lives.
Woman : “Hey, can we just… Drop the bow?”
Man : “WHY DON’T YOU TRUST ME I’M NOT A VIOLENT GUY, YOU ARE INSULTING ME THINKING I WILL HURT YOU!!!”
Woman : “No it’s just… Well I’m afraid.”
Man : “But why? Look at me, I’m not afraid. And we’re equal, look, we pull the bow together.”
Woman : “I think we’re not equal, you can kill me with the arrow and I can’t.”
Man : “What? So you would like to be able to kill me? You’re so agressive!”
Woman : “That’s not what I mean, we were talking about equality : you can hurt me, I can’t.”
Man : “Of course you can. You can hit me with the bow if you want.”
Woman : “That’s not the same thing, it will never kill you.”
Man : “Oh, you always complaining, stop victimising yourself! Do I talk about the difficulty of holding the arrow? Of the responsibility it gives to me?”
Every debates about gender equality, ladies and gentleman.
This is the first time something I’ve reblogged with a comment has come back around to me after having a bunch added to it.
I think it’s fantastic that my little thought was expanded upon so fully. I was also thinking, as I reblogged initially, how we often forget that all members of society are complicit in sexism. Most women happily hold the bow while the arrow points straight at their chests. If they did not, the tension and the danger would vanish…but so would the bonds between them and everything they’ve ever known. The structure of their universe would dissolve. Questioning culture is a very difficult thing to do.
However, GDI it tumblr. You’re always whining about sourcing fanart, like it’s the most precious resource in the world, and then when it comes to fine art that might have some additional context to add to the conversation, it just vanishes.
This is Rest Energy, 1980, Marina Abramovic. The piece lasts 4 minutes and 10 seconds, and during it the performers, Abramovic and Ulay (her then-partner) wore microphones so that they could hear their own heartbeats. They had performed together for about four years by then, in all kinds of incredibly intimate ways (sitting with their hair tied together for 16 hours and then inviting the public in for the last hour to witness their exhaustion, standing across from each other naked in a doorframe forcing the audience to walk through their bodies.) Their relationship was tumultuous and when they decided to part, they walked the Great Wall, each starting at one end, saying their goodbyes when they met in the middle and then never again.
(I mean okay they saw each other briefly in her documentary in the last year which does take a little of the bite out but it was such a gorgeous moment.)
Of course the work is about power. The power that one person holds over another, the fear that trust brings. Of course she’s the one holding the bow- but it was also her piece, her work. Ulay is a footnote in her story, and she’s the icon remembered for surrendering herself up. It’s way more complicated than just “this is patriarchy,” because this is an image a woman made. It speaks to her history, her experiences, her personal complicated relationship. Dismissing it as a visual symbol for just one thing is limiting.
That’s really fascinating background on the image, and really terrific to know.
And I certainly don’t think that one woman (I think? not checking right now) looking at the work of another woman and saying, “This reminds me of my feelings about and experiences with patriarchy, with the oppression I experience daily,” diminishes it in any way. It’s connecting to it, which is one of the goals of art, to be something those who experience it can connect with.