author – activist – faculty – mom
Hey folks, it’s been a rough week for me as a woman artist, so I’m posting a women’s artist anthem I wrote several years back to encourage myself and others. Enjoy!
This is for all the artistic geniuses that are standing backstage in a tube top and tight jeans, pressing against the barricades, lip gloss shining, trying to get some male artist’s attention, hoping to get past security. This is for all the artistic geniuses who are daydreaming while assembling press packets for their artist husband/boyfriend/lover/boss. This is for all the muses, and the sounding boards, and the models who sit still, rigorously athletically stoically still so others can paint them. This is for all the novels that didn’t bring themselves to get written and the visual masterpieces that couldn’t bear to be painted. This is for all the girls who got the message early, often, and brutally that we are to be fans, groupies, guest stars, background dancers and backup singers. This is for every woman who ever thought she was too fat, too dark, too old, too young, too queer, too angry, and too broke to be an artist. This is for anyone who ever thought she didn’t have talent, and for anyone who ever thought it was about talent anyway. Good art is about work, and time and resources to do the work. This is also for all of us who are working artists. For all of us who rage and cry about how fucking hard it is to be a working woman artist and then dry our eyes and keep at it because we know that we are good enough and our art is good enough and our ideas are good enough, and our lives are that important. This is for those of us who work double/triple/quadruple shifts—artist and self-promoter/producer/publicist/secretary/manager/booking agent/bookkeeper plus a day job, plus parenting. This is for those of us who don’t have health insurance. This is for you, whatever your age, whatever your medium, whatever they said about you. This is for every woman who has been busy playing best supporting actress in the movie of her own life. Goodbye ingénue, goodbye cheerleader, goodbye good girl. Time for you to put on your best red tube top and shiniest lip gloss and throw yourself against the barricaide of your own internalized sexism, determined to break thorough. Time for you to be your own groupie, president of your own fan club, swooning in ecstasy every time you see yourself on stage. You need to put a bright shiny life sized color poster of yourself with an electric guitar on the wall above your bed, like a guardian angel, watching over you while you sleep, watching over you while you dream, watching over you while you dream visions of your own creativity, and rocking out all night long.
This piece was commissioned by and originally published in the women artists volume Venus Envy.