When my daughter was fourteen I started “The Fulsome Game” (see photo below), inspired by the comparison (or should I say the shocking similarity) between three different game boards from 1966, 1967 and 1995. Adding to the culture shock for this women’s lib mother/artist were the magazines marketed to young girls filled with underwear, make-up, nail polish and articles about “how to look good” or “what do boys want in girls.”
Our culture sells this fulsome game of excessive advertising, consciously and subconsciously selling an incessant message that limits females to stereotypical roles that superficially focus on appearance instead of substance.
When will women be unshackled from the limitations of these formulaic and limited roles?
Roll the dice…
Well, I couldn't believe what I found in a recent issue of Elle Magazine discovered at the gym. What I thought was going to be entertainment turned into concern when I noticed this image below
handcuffs as jewelry!
I (reluctantly) borrowed the magazine and scanned the page for your viewing.
Sure you can say, "don't buy it".... but I am objecting to the message.
In case you think that the one pair of handcuffs was an anomaly here is an entire page of hand cuffs as fashion accessory from the same magazine.
Interesting that the handcuffs are shown with very high heels on both pages of fashion images. The high heels give the appearance of longer legs, but at the extreme they incumber womens' ability to walk. The extreme high heels themselves are like ankle shackles. Handcuffs as jewelry??! Bondage as metaphor?!! An amazing combination of shackled hands and ankles.
I want to be as fashionable and attractive as most other women....but why is it that "fashion" thinks it is attractive to wear items of subjugation and pain (handcuffs and extremely high heels)?
MORE BACKGROUND BELOW ABOUT MY COLLECTION OF GENDER specific games that inspire my past artwork (some highlighting handcuffs).
Come to my studio to see the extensive collection of toys.
As mentioned at the beginning, "The Fulsome Game" was inspired by three vintage game boards that I collected in my feminist study of our material culture.
It offered six possible careers to young girls playing the game: ballerina, model, actress, flight attendant, nurse, and school teacher.
Game cards in the box make a range of comments, some positive and many negative, for example
“YOU ARE A QUICK THINKER. Good for: Airline Hostess and Nurse”
“YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT. Bad for: Airline Hostess, Ballet Dancer and Model."
"YOU ARE PRETTY. Good for: Model and Actress."
"YOUR MAKE-UP IS TOO SLOPPY. Bad for: Airline Hostess and Mode."l
"YOU ARE A SLOW THINKER. Bad for: Airline Hostess and Nurse.Another game board."
Continuing with more revelations from my collection of gender specific toys:
The game board had spaces with statements like:
"YOU NEED A HAIRDO FOR THE PROM, GO BACK TO THE BEAUTY PARLOR” and “YOUR HEM IS DOWN! WAIT 1 TURN TO FIX IT!"
Roll the dice, advance thirty years! In 1997 my eight-year-old daughter was given a Barbie game called, “’ We Girls Can Do Anything’ Game, Travel the Path that Leads to the Career of Your Dreams” © 1996.
After all of these years the career options had improved only slightly (didn’t the feminist movement have any impact)? Now, the career options are: ballerina, fashion designer, actress, musician, pilot, and doctor, but every character is dressed in Barbie pink including the pilot and doctor.
I could not hold myself back from this commentary in the piece "The Fulsome Game" .
Here is a really interesting video that adds some further perspective. Read the comments. What do you have to say?