Ugly

I want the freedom to be ugly.

Social expectation, misogynistic bosses and generations of mothers echo in my mind.

From my mother – brush your hair, clean your shoes, dress properly or what will the various men in your life think of you?

From Men – Look pretty or I won’t give you the time of day. Wear high heels, be charming to me and laugh coquettishly at my stupid sexist jokes or I will simply cease to see you.

From Society – Look pretty, dress pretty, buy more, make yourself up – it doesn’t matter who you are, provided that you’re trendy.

I look at women my age and how trapped we are in trend, conformity and social expectation. Consumerism meets patriarchal advertising campaigns and we think we are making individual decisions about how we present ourselves to the world, when in fact we are playing a game – falling into a scheme – often to our financial ruin.

How do I push past pretty? How can I step over into the sublime with my work? I feel like i skim the surface of pretty and hardly reach into the grotesque which is often the most beautiful to me. As a woman, how do i reach ugly, without my instinct to beautify it? How do you reach into crazy when I have built a world around crazy – I have corseted its miscreant strands and pasted down its wildness with a thick layer of beeswax. That step is difficult. It’s terrifying.

But my work is too safe. It’s like there’s 2 artists inside of me. The one who is instinctual and terrifying and then her sister who follows close behind neatening edges and mopping up muddy footprints. How do I get miss bliss to take a hike for a little while so i can get some work done?


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