Artists

Alex Garant

Alex Garant is a female artist depicting surreal images of other women in oil portraits where facial features are multiplied and offset from one another. This distortion of eyes, noses, and mouths makes her realistic-looking subjects appear unfocused as their bodies are combined with geometric patterns and Art Nouveau-esque flourishes.

Besides the blurred-vision portraits, Garant has less dizzying works where women simply have an extra set of eyes. Noses, mouths, and other attributes remain the same. In some of these images, she’s fused graphic, decorative designs with their skin that are reminiscent of tattoos.

Garant finds inspiration in early ink printing, vintage pop surrealism, baroque tapestries, and retro kitsch. And although the portraits use traditional oil painting techniques, they feel contemporary and fresh.

I love how unsettling these are to look at! Aesthetic goals: make the audience uncomfortable

Research

Real Women

From Hanne Blank:

Real women do not have curves.   Real women do not look like just one thing.

Real women have curves, and not.   They are tall, and not.  They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not.  They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever.

Real women start their lives as baby girls.  And as baby boys.  And as babies of indeterminate biological sex whose bodies terrify their doctors and families into making all kinds of very sudden decisions.

Real women have big hands and small hands and long elegant fingers and short stubby fingers and manicures and broken nails with dirt under them.

Real women have armpit hair and leg hair and pubic hair and facial hair and chest hair and sexy moustaches and full, luxuriant beards.  Real women have none of these things, spontaneously or as the result of intentional change.  Real women are bald as eggs, by chance and by choice and by chemo.  Real women have hair so long they can sit on it.  Real women wear wigs and weaves and extensions and kufi and do-rags and hairnets and hijab and headscarves and hats and yarmulkes and textured rubber swim caps with the plastic flowers on the sides.

Real women wear high heels and skirts.  Or not.

Real women are feminine and smell good and they are masculine and smell good and they are androgynous and smell good, except when they don’t smell so good, but that can be changed if desired because real women change stuff when they want to.

Real women have ovaries.  Unless they don’t, and sometimes they don’t because they were born that way and sometimes they don’t because they had to have their ovaries removed.  Real women have uteruses, unless they don’t, see above.  Real women have vaginas and clitorises and XX sex chromosomes and high estrogen levels, they ovulate and menstruate and can get pregnant and have babies. Except sometimes not, for a rather spectacular array of reasons both spontaneous and induced.

Real women are fat.  And thin.  And both, and neither, and otherwise.  Doesn’t make them any less real.

There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla:

There is no wrong way to have a body.

I’m going to say it again because it’s important: There is no wrong way to have a body.

And if your moral compass points in any way, shape, or form to equality, you need to get this through your thick skull and stop with the “real women are like such-and-so” crap.

You are not the authority on what “real” human beings are, and who qualifies as “real” and on what basis.  All human beings are real.

Research

Redefining Realness

From Janet Mock:

People assume that I was in the closet because I didn’t disclose that I was assigned male at birth. What people are really asking is ‘Why didn’t you correct people when they perceived you as a real woman?’ Frankly, I’m not responsible for other people’s perceptions and what they consider real or fake. We must abolish the entitlement that deludes us into believing we have the right to make assumptions about people’s identities and project those assumptions onto their gender and bodies.

Articles

You Don’t Have To Be Pretty

From The Belle Jar:

We never say that all men deserve to feel beautiful. We never say that each man is beautiful in his own way. We don’t have huge campaigns aimed at young boys trying to convince them that they’re attractive, probably because we very rarely correlate a man’s worth with his appearance. The problem is that a woman’s value in this world is still very much attached to her appearance, and telling her that she should or deserves to feel beautiful does more to promote that than negate it. Telling women that they “deserve” to feel pretty plays right in to the idea that prettiness should be important to them. And having books and movies aimed at young women where every female protagonist turns out to be beautiful (whereas many of the antagonists are described in much less flattering terms) reinforces the message that beauty has some kind of morality attached to it, and that all heroines are somehow pretty.