22 Aug The Issues of Womanhood as Told with Everyday Objects

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JUAN SAYS: “3cm,” or Yung Cheng Lin in real life is a Taiwanese photographer. In this series, she explores the different issues of womanhood – from her sexuality, to the changes in her body, to the expectations of society towards women. The photographer uses everyday objects to convey the message. This series has been successful in making us think and re-think about who we are as women.

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Indeed, looking at these photos, we have seen that through the short span of our lives, we have managed to stand up to the “tests” of being a woman. We have time and again changed our stand on what it is to be us. However gruesome these photos may show or make us feel of where we all came from, this also serves as a reminder that whatever we have been through, personally or collectively as women, it shouldn’t hinder us from being who we are and what we are made to do.

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The struggle with society is not exclusive to women. While we feel the pressures of looking a certain way, thinking a certain way, and being a certain way to fit the mold that society has imposed upon us, men too have their struggles. Men too suffer from image problems.

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And while we, biological women, struggle with our own self- image, self worth, and place in the society and our places in our respective relationships, we are now bombarded with new concepts (that we all have to swallow unless we would like to be called bigots) of transsexual women who, in a nutshell, are women trapped in men’s bodies. Parang sandali lang, isa-isa. Mahina ang kalaban!

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Truth be told, women are still coping with their own issues – that of childbirth, menopause, being stick thin, flabs, juggling motherhood and career, etc. Women are still trying the balancing act of being a good wife, a mother and a career person or boss, so as not to miss out on all the roles that she plays.

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Betty Warren: [Betty’s Third Editorial Voice Over] Wellesley girls who are married have become quite adept at balancing their obligations. One hears such comments as, “I’m able to baste the chicken with one hand and outline the paper with the other.” While our mothers were called to the workforce for lady liberty it is our duty, nay, obligation to reclaim our place in the home bearing the children that will carry our traditions into the future. One must pause to consider why; Ms. Katherine Watson, instructor in the art history department, has decided to declare war on the holy sacrament of marriage. Her subversive and political teachings encourage our Wellesley girls to reject the roles they were born to fill.

Katherine Watson: Slide – Contemporary art…

Connie Baker: No, that’s just an advertisement…

Katherine Watson: Quiet. Today you just listen. What will future scholars see when they study us, a portrait of women today? There you are ladies: the perfect likeness of a Wellesley graduate, Magna Cum Laude, doing exactly what she was trained to do. Slide – a Rhodes Scholar, I wonder if she recites Chaucer while she presses her husband’s shirts. Slide – hehe, now you physics majors can calculate the mass and volume of every meatloaf you make. Slide – A girdle to set you free. What does that mean? What does that mean? What does it mean? I give up, you win. The smartest women in the country, I didn’t realize that by demanding excellence I would be challenging… what did it say?

[Walks over to a student and picks up her copy of the editorial]

Katherine Watson: What did it say? Um… the roles you were born to fill. Is that right?

[Looks up at Betty]

Katherine Watson: The roles you were born to fill? It’s, uh, it’s my mistake.

[Katerine drops the student’s paper back onto her desk]

Katherine Watson: Class dismissed.

[Katherine walks out of the classroom]

 

06

In a recent article in Glamour, which have been taken down due to the outrage of some women, entitled “13 Little Things That Can Make a Man Fall Hard for You” an the recent music video of Taylor Swift “Bad Blood,” we can see the angst of women towards the men. True that we hail feminism and we have been grateful for the rise of it thereby giving most women equal rights (we are saying rights, not privileges), with men; what we have sense is that feminism has gone an awry turn.

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While it is true that we have gone a long way from just being “servants” to our “masters; and while we, along with our parents, believe that they didn’t bring us to this world, send us to good schools, just to be somebody else’s yaya; we have started to question our selves, what is so wrong with service? What is so wrong with cooking for the person you love? What is so wrong in taking care of him when he is sick? And what is so wrong with keeping him interested in the relationship by doing additional things that you like and you know he will appreciate as well. What on earth is so wrong with that?

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Feminism has been so loud that it often times downs out the voice of men, of being a couple, of being in a sturdy and long lasting relationship called marriage. Let us make this clear, women shouldn’t wage war against men, for the simple reason that the men are not our enemies. If anything, they should be our allies. Have we been so hurt, so damaged that we have forgotten that the magic of the male-female relationship lies in our differences, the opposite poles, and journey towards exploration of how to meet half way.

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Katherine Watson: There are seven law schools within 45 minutes of Philadelphia. You can study and get dinner on the table by 5:00.

Joan Brandwyn: It’s too late.

Katherine Watson: No, some of them accept late admissions! Now, I was upset at first, I can tell you that. When Tommy came to me at the dance and told me he was accepted to Penn, I thought, ‘Oh God, her fate is sealed! She’s worked so hard, how can she throw it all away?’ But then I realized you won’t have to! You can bake your cake and eat it too! It’s just wonderful!

Joan Brandwyn: We’re married. We eloped over the weekend. Turned out he was petrified of a bit ceremony, so we did a sort of spur-of-the-moment thing. Very romantic.

[Katherine is stunned]

Joan Brandwyn: It was my choice, not to go. He would have supported it.

Katherine Watson: But you don’t have to choose!

Joan Brandwyn: No, I have to. I want a home, I want a family! That’s not something I’ll sacrifice.

Katherine Watson: No one’s asking you to sacrifice that, Joan. I just want you to understand that you can do both.

Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I’ll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?

Katherine Watson: Yes, I’m afraid that you will.

Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I’d regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I’m doing and it doesn’t make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.

Katherine Watson: I didn’t say that.

Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don’t. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.

 

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This series of photographs should serve as reminder for both men and women that each gender has their own issues, their own journeys, and what better way to walk “in the woods” than be with someone whom you can banter with, get to know yourself with, and love with everything you’ve got, at the same time. In the end of it all, and in everything we do, it has to be our own choice. And our choices shouldn’t make us feel less of our selves than what others project us to be.

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