Think about it: Whether you are a boy or a girl, have you ever been told at one time or another that “boys don’t act that way” or “girls don’t act like that”?
What were you trying to do at the time?
Sometimes we think we know exactly what a boy or girl is going to act like. These ideas are called gender stereotypes.
What is a stereotype? Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their race, nationality and sexual orientation, to name a few. They generalize, distort and misrepresent groups of people in ways that lead to discrimination and ignore the diversity within groups. Stereotypes are based on defining features like gender, race, location or even age! For example, one common stereotype is that “old people don’t like loud music”.
Ideas about gender follow us our entire lives. The artists in the gender section of Unresolved Circumstances focus on subjects that are gender specific to women, meaning that they are important to women’s lives.
What kind of issues do these artists talk about?
La lección de maquillaje. Lección # 1 / Make up Lesson. Lesson # 1, 1998
Video, 3 min
Courtesy of the artist
In Make-up Lesson, Priscilla Monge shows a man giving a woman a “makeover”. We anticipate her final look, until we realize that the “makeover” leaves her looking as if she has been beaten up. Domestic abuse is a huge problem all over the world. This video is Monge’s comment about violence against women and the gender stereotypes that make this type of abuse possible.
Think about it: Why would Priscilla Monge show a man putting make-up on a woman to talk about domestic violence? Why isn’t the woman putting make-up on herself?
Amalia Caputo (b. 1964, Venezuela) La casa de Hestia / Hestia’s House, 2009
Video, 3:12 min
Courtesy of the artist
Amalia Caputo, an artist from Venezuela, talks about domesticity, or issues about home life, in her video Hestia’s House. Hestia is the Greek goddess of the home and fireside. In ancient Greek mythology, she is always shown as a modest woman who looks after the fire and symbolizes home life. In this work, a woman drags around a large pink doll house wherever she goes. It is not chained to her, but she will not let it go.
Think about it: What is Amalia Caputo saying about women and their homes or the role they play at home? Who is Hestia in this video or whom does she represent?