I found some videos regarding my digital work “Maria” on my computer and uploaded them on YouTube. The first one is footage from the photo shoot with my muse Domenique in 2009 and in the second video I’m presenting the printed work in 2015.
It has been overcast and cold for days now. I am feeling a little grey as well. There is so much negative energy in the world and I’m really sensitive to it. I wish there was something positive I could add to the world, something beyond my art and my writing – I wish I could contribute more. I am not a political artist but it’s important for me to keep working with themes like female sexuality, trauma and humiliation in my paintings. It is not a good time for women, even though we have come a long way since the really bad times. We still have a lot of battles to win, especially when it comes to our bodies.
Because I’m dealing with female sexuality, fear and rage in my work, people often ask me if I consider myself to be a feminist – and they are often surprised when I tell them that I’m not. Then they want to know why. To me it’s simple; I am not a feminist because I believe in common sense, decency, equality and humanity. It should not be about gender and which side you’re on. As long as we are dividing ourselves like that – feminists vs sexists etc, there will never be any equality. Just like I don’t go around saying I am “immigrant friendly” to show that I am not a racist. To me it doesn’t make sense to label myself as this or that when I am using my mind and my heart as a compass. Then I don’t need it. It is only necessary if we use our insecurity, our ego, ignorance or fear as a compass. But then it is an indication that we are not connected to our core voice – or that we have lost it to some other belief as a compensation for the pain of not being able to connect with our inner voice. Those beliefs are often promoting our ego and sense of superiority or entitlement. That’s when the core belief becomes a ‘we against them’ thing. I think this is especially an experience for younger men who feel pressured to look away from their core – because it is the place of vulnerability and self-intimacy, things which are of low priority for boys and men – or perhaps even taboo.
It comes natural for me to believe that we are all equals as humans, something that goes beyond labels and ‘ism’s. Who cares about race, skin color or gender, it’s so superficial. I don’t like to talk about superficial matters. I have green eyes. I was born with blond hair. My skin is very fair. I have a pussy. None of these things will ever define me.
The real issue is about how we behave towards other people and how we perceive ourselves. If we are good, bad, indifferent, ignorant, open, honest, warm or cold. If we are tolerant, intolerant, engaged, disengaged or if we are real or fake. Those things come without color or gender.
I have been bullied by girls and abused by men. I have been best friends with both men and women. I have betrayed both men and women. I have been betrayed by both sexes. I have been good, I have been bad. I have loved men who were bad and men who were good. The point is that we all have a choice to be a good or a bad person and that we hurt each other and we get hurt because of bad choices. I don’t believe that people are born good or bad. It is a choice. And what I’ve learned is that the worst people are also the most wounded. Suffering leads to more suffering. Hatred leads to more hate. The most dangerous person is a self-proclaimed victim – because they feel entitled to hurt other people while seeking justice or vengeance. This is how people get radicalized, why some people use psychological or physical violence on others and why there is war in the world.
The word ‘feminist’ to me is just that – a word. I am more about taking action – to share my experience of being a woman in this world, through my art and my writing. I am trying to dress the abstract feelings of humiliation and shame in colors and an artistic expression, things that women struggle with a lot when it comes to our self-images, bodies, our sexuality and capability. But I am not dealing with these subject matters because I take a political standpoint as a feminist – but because it is hard to figure these things out and if I can make some sense of it, then it’s my obligation to pass it on. Knowledge is a powerful thing. And in the end, my experience of myself and life is not that unique. It is simply nuanced slightly different that yours. The nuances is what makes it interesting. The nuances can create understanding, tolerance and acceptance. And if I can contribute with my personal nuances to other people’s monochrome views and visions of themselves and the world – then I feel like I’ve done some good in this life.
Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak
Hurt that’s not supposed to show
And tears that fall when no one knows
When you’re trying hard to be your best
Could you be a little less
– Madonna “What It Feels Like For A Girl