Monday, August 31, 2009

Ugh, It's Monday?

Saturday night, we went on a whirlwind artsy evening. We went to FIG so Jason could take a picture of a dessert for an article he is working on for (I believe) Charlie. The massively yummy looking lemon and blueberry concoction was offered to us for consumption after the photo shoot, but alas, we were on our way to Jestine's for supper and I did not want to ruin my appetite for what awaited me there. (Turned out to be crab cakes, swoon.)

We then went to an art show opening and a play.

I'll say a little something about the play first. PURE Theater always puts on a fantastic show. "The Year of Magical Thinking", a play by Joan Didion is their latest. Just go see it. It was awesome on so many levels that I can barely begin to describe how awesome it was. The subject matter (the playwright's husband and daughter died within a year) made me stuff half a box of tissues in my purse in anticipation of crying my eyes out. But I didn't need them. The dialogue is riveting but free of sentiment that allows for easy tears of empathy. It is sharp and crisp and real. Lucille Arrington Keller is the phenomenal actor who carried this one-woman play. I can't even begin to imagine the talent it takes to play such a part. But she was absolutely amazing. At times, I forgot that I was watching a play and fell completely under the spell of the words.

Just go see for yourself.

Now, the art show opening. It was at the Circular Congregational Church. (As was the above mentioned play) The theme of the art show was She Shall Be Called Woman and explored the role of women in religion.

All the art work was absolutely amazing, but as I was already a huge (no pun intended) fan of Fletcher Crossman, it was no surprise that his work for the show made me sit down (with my glass of sparkly wine inside the church with all my reformed-Southern Baptist hangups freaking out about it). Please go to Fletcher's website and look at the process of bringing this painting - The Apple Thief - to life.

It took me a few days to figure out all the emotions I felt during the time I had to just sit and stare at this enormous work of art. It is 15 feet by 12 feet in size, so the size of it alone has an impact. (Most of his work is on this scale, but I believe he told me that this was the largest he'd attempted). As I said, I just sat there and could not take my eyes off this painting, feeling all sorts of things that I couldn't properly identify at the moment.

Today I can say that it provoked in me a sense of anger and frustration. And a real sense of loss.

The depiction of a modern young woman in chains with the words "Apple Thief" over her head represented to me the pure waste that the world's leading religions cause with their teachings of women as less-than men.

That in today's world, women are still handicapped by a centuries old myth of the Garden of Eden that was probably no more than an attempt to discredit the matriarchal societies that predated the founding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Women still, even in this nation, start out with the fiction that we are less than men. From childhood, women are taught this. Still. In approaching 2010.

We, as a world community, are not using half the talent, half the intellect, half the energies of our community.

We are still chained, marked as thieves and the bringers of evil. For nothing more than to keep secure the power and privilege of men. And on the basis of nothing more than a myth.

And yes, things are better in some countries than others, but even here women are told from the pulpit, that the god they worship thinks they are second class citizens. Even though these women might be educated women with careers of their own, they still are told they are nothing more than handmaidens to their husbands.

And I can't even begin to address the plight of women in some Middle Eastern nations and the cost of their chains to the societies they live in. Every study done shows that an educated, empowered mother leads to the betterment of her children, her family, her community, therefore to her nation and the world.

But still, we as a world, believe a fable that keeps women from participating freely in their world. Even in our enlightened culture, women must first overcome the idea of themselves as less than.

For a myth. A made up fable.

Thor sez: This is why humans should worship cats. All we require is the ability to open cans of cat food. Male, female, that isn't important. Opposable thumbs, that's all that counts.


Pat said...

Hear, hear, Janet!!

(Or is it "here, here!"???)

Sharon said...

Brava, Janet. Brava.

The Sunday NY Times Magazine had an issue a couple of weeks ago about women. Some of it was heartbreaking and, yes, frustrating and infuriating--no, that's too weak a word. Enraging.
It was the 8/23 issue, I don't see it on the site yet, it'll be there by the weekend, I think.