I have just finished reading Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent Of Man’, which really shocked me to just how unprogressive our society can still be surrounding issues of gender. We still hark back with notions of nostalgia to the ‘good old days’ which, well, really didn’t cater for every unique individual or even gender equality. I found it horrifying to read this book that reveals how our society is still in estranged ways that promote negative ideals of masculinity.
However, the whole subject of masculinity is far too vast and complex to tackle in one two week project, and therefore I have decided on one particular aspect that I believe makes clear this current issue of gender.
“Clothes are a way of exerting some control on the sort of attention we desire… Boys rarely receive praise for how they look… they learn that they are the ones doing the looking.”
“John Henley, The Guardian: ‘June 1918, America’s most authoritative women’s magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, had a few wise words of advice for fretting mothers. “There has been a great diversity of debate on the subject,” it wrote, “but generally accepted rule is pink for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”
The two latter statements stuck with me, and just made total sense!
So, in consideration of these two observations, I would like to make a work that tackles and confronts our current engrained misconceptions of gender – or even put the question to the viewers that makes us debate our views on gender, on masculinity and femininity.