The last few quilts I’ve made…OK, let’s be fucking truthful here…the last 50 quilts I’ve made have been about women in society. OK, maybe two or three of them weren’t, but mostly? Yeah. That’s where I land. I write what I know. I draw what I know. I create what I know. And what I know is that I’m a strong woman and that strong women get by in society, but it isn’t always pretty, especially if you’re the reflective type, the kind who is always analyzing this or that or how or why or wondering what the fuck THAT was all about. Talk about my clothes, mention my boobs, please look at my face, write me off because I’m old and female, oh wait…then there’s the whole medication thing and health thing and assuming you must this or that because you’re a GURL.
Sigh. It rubs me the wrong way; always has. You should go read this article…it’s about nerdy males and entitlement. Now don’t get me wrong…I love me a nerdy guy, even gave birth to one, so you know I don’t have an issue with the nerd, the geek, or even the dork. They are my people. Except, honestly, it doesn’t matter whether you are a buff, white, football player in Texas (can you say stereotype?) or a pale pasty white nerd with glasses in Silicon Valley, you have to admit that you have more privilege than a woman does. And if you can’t? Then you are a problem. I don’t care how fucking smart you are, how many feminist blogs you read, how you’re able to quote Gloria Steinem verbatim (whatever THAT might look like)…you don’t get it. You are part of the problem. If at any time in your life as an adult (I’ll give nerdy teens a break…give them time to read up some more) you have told a woman that her uterus is not under attack by the government, the Republicans, or her health insurance company, while your Viagra prescription is refilled with no hassle, you are part of the problem. If you don’t understand why we walk the streets at night with our keys between our fingers, swinging our eyes side to side, you are part of the problem. If you don’t get that so many comics and video games are just fucking over my daughter and her friends with their giant-ass boobies and killing the hos, you are part of the problem. Don’t whine at me about being friend-zoned, don’t fucking tell me it’s not about the boobs, don’t tell me I’m imagining the shit I’ve heard, seen, felt, and smelled since I was born. You Are Part of the Problem. Listen to me. If I’m saying it, it happens. You’re telling me over and over that I’m imagining it? You are the problem. You are the rapist, you are the harasser, you are a continuation of the problem. Get the fuck out of my world. And my daughter’s world. You don’t belong here. I’m sure there’s an island somewhere that you can live. Just get the fuck away from me.
Yeah. That’s angry. I hate the entitled telling me it’s not a problem when it is.
So when my art group brought up this exhibit idea of Women at War, I didn’t think of women toting guns into war zones, or of women living in war zones trying to protect their children (although that did pop into my head next, because of the population I teach). I went straight to the war I’ve lived my entire life. The one that begrudges me birth control, but won’t support babies that come out once I follow their rules. The one that makes it OK for a boss to talk about my body and my reproductive status (sure, that’s supposed to be illegal, but let’s be real…most women have experienced some level of sexual harassment at work no matter what). The one that makes it OK to attack me if I dress in a certain way, but also gives me shit for NOT dressing that way.
That’s where I drew from…the idea had been in my head for over a year, since I think that’s how long it had been since the show theme first was floated in our group. It had one venue, but that didn’t fly, and then we found another venue and the dates were solidified, and the image burst into my head. It had to be quick…I only had 6 weeks…and that’s how long it took, one day short of six weeks. I started November 18 with the drawing and finished Monday December 29th. As I wrote before, it’s named after the song War by Edwin Starr: “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”.
This is Absolutely Nothing, 35.5″ wide x 50″ high…
I haven’t priced it yet. I don’t even know if it got into the show yet. It doesn’t really matter if it did, because it needed to be made. It was yelling at me…
Yes. That’s a pile of naked men. And she’s standing on them. There’s ink on it too.
And it was good. She said.
And maybe the next quilt won’t be so angry. I don’t actually have a problem with some anger showing up in my quilts or extreme sadness or even happiness or annoyance or joy or whatever. This is not just anger though…it’s honest frustration that it’s not any better than it was when I was a kid, except that we talk about it more and then a bunch of entitled white boys whine about how they had it hard in middle school and why do girls want to read comics anyway, and they’re really not good at science. DUDE. We all had it hard at one point or another in middle or high school, or in college, or at some point in time. Write that shit off. Now take a deep breath and walk out into the real world and let me know about the women you know, the ones you really know: your mom, sister, daughter, wife, aunt, cousin, best friend, whomever. Listen to them and let me know if you really get it, if you can have empathy for their existence even if you’ve never given birth, never had a menstrual cycle that kicked your ass, never felt so nauseous during a work event that you wanted to crawl into bed, never had a man touch you when you didn’t ask for it and didn’t want it, never had a man or group of men comment on how you look, how you dress, or what they might do to you. Never felt someone looking at you and felt afraid. Because that’s what it’s like, and it’s not like that every day, and if you’re lucky, it’s rarely like that. But if you’re female, it will be like that. Because you were born with two X chromosomes and that’s it. That’s the shit I want to kick out of the ring.
Anyway. Deep breaths. Time for a meditative moment. Read a book, drink some tea, look at the men around me who aren’t like that (and some of them are, whether they want to be or not). Rejoice in the few.
I had about a three-day period of braindead, holy-fucktitude, can’t possibly make another big quilt EVER AGAIN…and then tonight…this afternoon…I want to make another. Please may I make another? OK. Seriously. I’m fucking nuts. I have so much grading to do. I have so much other stuff to do. I’m down to a little over a week of break left and then THREE LONG MONTHS until the next one (OK, there are three 3-day weekends in there). But…I have two birds to do ASAP, and I’m going to do my damnedest to get them mostly done in the next few days, and then I have the cancer donation quilt, and then I need to look at the upcoming deadlines for April and June and I think next fall and see what needs to happen, but I think I can make another big quilt before Spring Break. Can’t I? Sure I can. Because I am woman. Hear me roar.