Thursday, September 22, 2016

I don't know if I understand this

My head hurts

Bear with me. I'm trying to hash this out in my own mind.

There is a continuing trickle of women (some well known, others less so) posting naked or near naked pictures of themselves online. It's not the nudity that bothers me. If you want to display your assets to the world, that's your business. What I have difficulty parsing is how this is "empowering".

Hiliaria Baldwin shares underwear selfie

Kim Kardashian naked selfie

It seems to taken as gospel that if you are comfortable with yourself, then you are okay with standing naked (or nearly so) in front of the world. That's why I keep seeing variations on the "less than a perfect size two wears bikini to the beach!" non-story.

Woman wears bikini to the beach for the first time ever
Woman buys first bikini at 31

I was under the impression that feminism was about women being seen as more than their bodies. That women could and should be appreciated for their talents and abilities. But apparently, even women who can compete on an Olympic level are not sufficiently liberated if they aren't willing to pose naked.

Amanda Bingson - 200 lbs and kicking ass

I'm not saying that women shouldn't wear, or not wear, whatever they like. And I realize that it's simple biological truth that people (men and women) like looking at naked women. Otherwise there would be no market for bikini pics. But why should displaying my naked body be a requirement for being a confident woman? 

Kim Kardashian "I am empowered by my body"

I don't understand how these pictures are supposed to "empower" anybody except Kim Kardashian, and she's empowered because she gets paid serious money for appearing in public nearly nude.  And it did not escape my notice that when her stepmother, Caitlyn Jenner appeared in Vanity Fair, she did it in underwear. If one is coming out as a woman, celebrating becoming a woman, why does that involve appearing in public wearing an outfit that belongs in the bedroom? Is that not equating women with their sexuality, which is something feminism has been fighting for decades?

Call me Caitlyn

If I like a more covered up look, does that make me less empowered? Does a preference for skirts long enough to sit down in mean I am not confident in my abilities? Am I giving in to the patriarchy and body shaming if I'd rather wear a tank suit, or long sleeves?

To quote Bloom County: "I am full blown, gonzo, confused."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is one of those holidays that I forget about until it's too late. I typically go to the movies or clean the house. And this labor day I swept and vacuumed, washed and dried, folded and dusted, and generally did all the chores I've been putting off doing. So it's been a very productive weekend.
But don't feel sorry for me. Last July, long before I remembered about Labor Day, I booked a Houston Street Art Tour with Destination English. It was fascinating.  I knew there were quite a few murals popping up around town, but since I now live in the suburbs, I've only caught the occasional glimpse of them. The tour was lead by two Houston women who, like many of us who live here, got irritated by people telling them "but there's nothing in Houston but freeways and office buildings."  So they've started leading tours of Houston's cultural offerings.
I took about a hundred pictures, experimenting with a different lens (my regular lens is in the shop).  In addition to having fun taking pictures, I picked up some new lingo:
  • "slaps" are art stickers (I have one from the tour - it says "Don't harsh my mellow")
  • "blowies" are those really round letters that look like they've been inflated
We also got to speak with Mr. D (Sebastian Boileau) of Eyeful Art Murals and Custom Designs, who painted many of the murals we saw.  He is from Paris, and bounced around from California to Dallas before settling in Houston. He spoke about the "Biscuit Paint Wall" (he's surprised it's as popular as it is) some of the process behind "Mars" and asked us why we all decided to spend our Saturday looking at murals. 

And did you know Houston has a museum dedicated to street art? The Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas (The GASAM Texas).  They are still settling on a building location, but they do have a temporary spot and they have their own artist-led tours. Check them out.

I won't bore you with all 100 photos, but here's a selection.

This was one of a series of murals commissioned by the Houston Zoo to advertise its new ape enclosure.
The largest mural in Houston  (notice God is holding Mr. D's logo?) - 2850 Fannin 

One side of the Mars building - Leeland and Caroline (three sides of the building are painted) I know, the power cables are in the way, but what can you do?

HueFest 2015 logo - Leeland and St. Emanuel. I'm kind of irritated by the sunspot on his hat. I'll have to go back at another time and retake it.

Some slaps (on the right)

across the street from the Huefest 2015 site - It's a tattoo parlor

I love the cartoonish style this guy has

Going from left to right I think it's: Maya Angelou, Princess Diana, Selena, Frida Kahlo and Cleopatra.

Don't you just love the way the artist has integrated the building into the mural? - also at the HueFest site