Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Tacita Dean

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Tacita Dean

Women’s News: Can You Choose to Love Your Body? Margaret Cho Did.

Women’s News: Can You Choose to Love Your Body? Margaret Cho Did.

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: Why Have Women’s Health Issues Become a Leading Issue in This Election?

Women’s Health: Why Have Women’s Health Issues Become a Leading Issue in This Election?

Women’s Health: Why Have Women’s Health Issues Become a Leading Issue in This Election?

Casey Papuga

Senior, Stonehill College

As a young woman living in America I support the protection of women’s bodies and the coverage of birth control under healthcare; but why exactly is women’s health one of the leading issues in this 2012 election? Does anyone truly believe that if Romney/Ryan win the presidential election one of their first moves in the Oval Office is going to be addressing the controversial topic of women’s health? If they did, would the bills even make it past legislation?

We are a nation with a massive economic deficit, people still facing unemployment and are currently at war — I would hope this issue would not be at the top of their agenda. The amount of press and attention given to the woman question right now is somewhat boggling when the main spotlight should be on what exactly each candidate is going to give our nation in regards to bigger issues such as the economy, foreign affairs, and the environment. Do not get me wrong, gender equality is a very important issue. I advocate for women’s rights around the world, where many women face oppression and denial of basic rights; that is not the same as the women’s health issues of abortion and birth control that are being showcased as prominent issues in this coming election. The American women’s issues as a problem within gender equality in comparison to the rest of the women around the world — who are being sold into sex trafficking and are unable to seek legal refuge from abusive husbands — is somewhat inane.

The Center for American Women and Politics claims that women seem to either match men in voter turnout or exceed them. The reason women’s issues are becoming such a big debate in this election is not because it is one of the most important issues, but rather because the candidates are trying to grab the attention of the gender that votes more. What better way to get women to vote in your favor than to bring the issue specific to them into the spotlight and speak to them, not simply because they are an American citizen, but also because they are a woman, compelling them to vote a specific way simply because of their gender. I would like to see this election take a turn away from that issue and address things that affect the direction of our nation as a whole, rather than distracting voters with stark controversial topics. Trying to scare women into believing that by voting one way may take away their right over their bodies is ridiculous. There is so much resistance to ideas such as banning abortion and birth control under health care that bills instituting them would be very hard to get passed.

Affording birth control and health care in general, is a problem, a problem directly related to the poor economy and unemployment. Fixing the economy would essentially lead to the resolution of women struggling to afford birth control and health care. Candidates for this upcoming presidential election need to truly focus on the issues, the issues that matter to the nation as a whole and it’s role within the greater world.

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A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Can You Choose to Love Your Body? Margaret Cho Did.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Freelance Writer

In my few talks with comedian Margaret Cho, she’s said things that have resonated so deeply, I hang up the phone feeling ridiculously inspired.

During our chat last week for an article on eating disorders, she eloquently expressed something I’d been feeling but hadn’t been brave enough to articulate. “I think now I’m at the point where I’m just sick of feeling negative and feeling this way about my body,” she said. “So I’ve just shifted my thinking to, ‘this becomes boring to always want to be thin.'”

I’d been feeling pretty bored with habitual body bashing myself, but I didn’t see a way out of it. Wasn’t self-deprecation just one of those unavoidable pitfalls of being a female human, like cramps or mascara-induced eye injuries?

“I was just immediately programmed to think the way my mother did and her family did. Now I have a choice,” Margaret continued. “I have a total choice now whether I want to buy into something that never worked for them and never worked for me or just forget it and move on to other things.”

And with that simple statement, Margaret Cho went a long way toward deprogramming my automatic tendency toward self-deprecation. She showed me that the anti-me autopilot switch could be flipped.

I was an absurdly overconfident child. That is, according to my mom’s recollection and to faded photos of a self-assured, sequin-sporting child of the early nineties. I’m well aware of the age-inappropriate Madonna lip synching routines I insistently performed for party guests. And I don’t remember modesty ever being an issue while unabashedly bragging to strangers about my straight-A-laden report cards. But my mom’s absolute favorite mortifying memory is of a chubby-cheeked, unfortunately self-styled four-year-old arrogantly admiring her reflection and definitively declaring to the mirror, “I’m so cute!”

While the dignified adult I pretend to be wishes she’d have kept that revelation under wraps, I can’t help but call upon that pre-adolescent version of myself to ask a couple of really pressing questions: When do we turn against ourselves? And when we do learn to engage in chronic, negative self-talk, are those really our voices we’re using to spew hateful, critical words? Or are someone else’s messages overpowering what we actually think, see, and believe?

Like most adolescents, I immediately buried any discernable shred of self-assurance deep beneath an armor of teen angst and awkwardness. Seemingly overnight I morphed from a cocky kid on the playground to a sullen, self-loathing pubescent nightmare.

But surrendering to what I believe to be a tragic trend in female self-esteem, I carried those adolescent anxieties about appearance and achievement into adulthood. It was completely natural to criticize every perceived flaw and automatically negate any incoming compliments. Every day was an exercise in ruthless comparison to friends and strangers, and every night a reflection on how and why I’d never measure up.

And then suddenly, that smug four-year-old refused to stay silent. I started to catch myself questioning every self-sabotaging thought. All those mechanical reactions toward my reflection of disgust and disdain suddenly seemed exhausting and, well, boring. Most importantly, those formerly instinctual, involuntary responses didn’t feel authentic or accurate. I realized it wasn’t my voice or my judgment at play in those moments of cruel criticism. I’d just become so accustomed to engaging in self-flagellation, it never occurred to me to question whether I believed I deserved it.

HuffPost Women shared a picture on Facebook the other day of a great t-shirt that reads, “YOUR BODY IS NOT WRONG / SOCIETY IS.” Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization about “society,” but it’s a novel idea, isn’t it? Imagine if we all got fed up, took a note from women like Margaret, and realized once and for all that we have a choice about how to feel in our bodies. I think I might choose to stop being bored and start feeling okay.

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Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean (born CanterburyKent, 1965) is an English visual artist who works primarily in film. She is one of the Young British Artists, and was a nominee for the Turner Prize in 1998. She lives and works in Berlin.

Tacita Dean was born in Canterbury, in Kent. While she was growing up, her family lived next door to the legendary countertenor Alfred Deller and his family (including Mark Deller, who sang at her father’s funeral). Her brother is architect Ptolemy Dean. Her grandfather was actor Basil Dean.

Dean was educated at Kent College, Canterbury. She studied at Falmouth School of Art, graduating in 1988. From 1990–2, Dean studied for a Masters degree at the Slade School of Fine Art. Dean held her first solo exhibition, The Martyrdom of St Agatha and Other Stories, at Galerija Skuc, MariborSlovenia.

In 1995, she was included in General Release: Young British Artists held at the XLVI Venice Biennale. She is one of the “key names”,  along with Jake and Dinos ChapmanGary HumeSam Taylor-WoodFiona Banner and Douglas Gordon, of the Young British Artists (YBAs). Her work actually had little in common with the prominent YBAs, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

In 1997, Dean moved to London. That same year she began to exhibit splices of magnetic tape cut the length required to document the duration of the sound indicated, such as a raven’s cry. In 2001 she was given a solo show at Tate Britain.

acita Dean is best known for her work in 16mm film, although she utilises a variety of media including drawing, photography and sound. Her films often employ long takes and steady camera angles to create a contemplative atmosphere. Her anamorphic films are shot by cinematographers John Adderley and Jamie Cairney. Her sound recordist is Steve Felton. She has also published several pieces of her own writing, which she refers to as ‘asides,’ which complement her visual work. Since the mid-1990s her films have not included commentary, but are instead accompanied by often understated optical sound tracks.

Especially during the 1990s, the sea was a persistent theme in Dean’s work. Perhaps most famously, she explored the tragic maritime misadventures of Donald Crowhurst, an amateur English sailor whose ambition to enter a race to solo circumnavigate the globe ended in deception, existential crisis and, eventually, tragedy. Dean has made a number of films and blackboard drawings relating to the Crowhurst story, exploiting the metaphorical richness of such motifs as the ocean, lighthouses and shipwrecks. Re-turning to her attraction with the sea, Amadeus (swell consopio) was made for the Folkestone Triennial (three year art show) in 2008.

In 1997 Dean made an audio work based on her futile effort to find the submerged artwork Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson in the Great Salt Lake of Utah. Sound Mirrors(1999) takes its name from the tracking devices built during the 1920s and 1930s and planted in the Kent countryside to detect incoming German aircraft.

In 2000 Dean was awarded a one-year German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship to Berlin, where she moved that year with her partner, artist Mathew Hale.  She devoted attention to the architecture and cultural history of Germany, making films of such iconic structure as the Palast der RepublikFernsehturm, is a 44-minute film set in the revolving cafe of the East Berlin television tower, completed in 1969 on Alexanderplatz. Other projects have concerned important figures in post-war German cultural history, such as W.G. Sebald and Joseph Beuys.

Recent films capture important artists and thinkers of the last fifty years and feature Mario MerzMerce CunninghamLeo SteinbergJulie MehretuClaes Oldenburg, and Cy Twombly. For example, Craneway Event (2008) is a film about Cunningham working on something with his dancers over three afternoons on site.

In 2006, Dean shot Kodak, a movie in a Kodak factory in eastern France — the last one in Europe to produce 16-mm film stock. A few weeks after she visited, it closed for good.

zech Photos (1991-2002) is a series of over 326 unedited photographs presented in a box for intimate engagement. The black and white photographs show a city in the moments before radical change, already somehow out of date the second they were taken.  Washington Cathedral (2002) is a series of more than 130 found postcards from the first half of the last century showing various imagined versions of the cathedral in Washington, DC before it was completed. Palindrome is a newspaper project celebrating the palindromic date 20.02 2002, which was inspired by numbers painted by Marcel Broodthaers‘s on a beam in his studio. In 2005, Dean began work on a series of found postcards featuring trees, which she transformed by painting out all the background detail with white gouache.

Dean has undertaken commissions for London’s defunct Millennium Dome, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and for CorkIreland, as part of that city’s European City of Culture celebrations. She has also completed residencies at the Sundance Institute, the Wexner Center for the ArtsColumbusU.S., and the Deutscher Akademischer AustauschdienstBerlin.

2006 saw the most comprehensive retrospective of her work to date, ‘Analogue’, held at Schaulager Basel.

In 2009, the Nicola Trussardi Foundation has presented Still Life, Tacita Dean’s first major solo exhibition in Italy, on the first floor (piano nobile) of Palazzo Dugnani, a historic building in the centre of Milan. The exhibition has presented a selection of fourteen works, including the world premiere of two films commissioned and produced by the Nicola Trussardi FoundationStill Life and Day for Night, filmed in the Bolognese studio of painter Giorgio Morandi.

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