The Space We Hold
Daniel Tucker Gallery,
Ah Haa School for the Arts
Over the past year, I have spent time reflecting on the roles of women in modern society. More than anything, this internal dialogue has raised many questions, the most intriguing being, do women hold the same space in the world as men? Space can mean hearing men speaking more than women at meetings, knowing that they make more money in the same roles at work, and seeing more men in positions of power. But I wanted to focus on the space that I could see in my day-to-day life. And what I see is that men are taking up more physical space in the world than women.
To create this work, I asked several strong women friends to collaborate with me by modeling. As they posed for me, or sent photos of themselves, I began to see more than their posture, I saw their facial expressions. When they shrank and hid as if trying to stay out of a man’s way, they looked scared, weak, unsure. When they struck a “manspreading” pose, they looked strong, confident, bold. Seeing these notable changes in the way the women were reacting to their own posture was incredible. Just imagine if they spent more of their day feeling as strong, confident, and bold as they did when they mimicked the way that so many men sit.
As I began to share the illustrations featured in this series, I was amazed by women’s responses. Almost everyone had a story to tell about how they often felt “smaller” than men, not just physically, but socially, professionally, politically. As you walk around the gallery today, I encourage you to speak with the people around you and continue this conversation about the space that women hold in our world.
"Female power transcends what are thought of as “woman’s issues”. Female power involves women taking part in the conversation either in the public arena or the dinner table, and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men. It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind. It means women not having to worry that they will be considered “unfeminine” if they speak up. It means women really coming out to play and getting support for their playing from men as well as women.
Until this is accomplished, political, economic and reproductive freedom will still not be enough. We will not be free until we can speak our minds and our hearts without having to worry that men will crucify us, women will crucify us, the press will crucify us, or our children will be ashamed… Women are still in emotional bondage as long as we feel we have to make a choice between being heard and being loved.”