Anger and art, yin and yang

There are two subjects that keep coming up for me and they both have to do with femininity but in very different ways. One is art and the other is anger.

Art in Bristol is everywhere. You walk the streets and another bit of creativity has just popped up opposite a fish and chips shop or a fake moon rises over College Green or men and women sit in a darkened theatre watching short film nominations for the Oscars.

Anger seems to come up whenever women discuss oppression or violence against women. Anger is that last resort of communication when nothing else has worked and destruction is the only way to get your point across. Anger makes you act, escape, respond. It’s full of energy. It can push you out of depression for a moment.

There’s plenty of anger in the ‘feminist’ world. I am qualifying the word feminist because I don’t believe the angry ones represent the movement as such. There are plenty of people out there supporting and promoting women’s rights but anger attracts attention because the media loves a good argument – inflammatory words and rage and everyone making as much noise as possible is perfect for a news machine that needs impact.

The ‘feminist’ movement in the media tends to get attention for being angry. They point out injustice and rage against men and other women and keep pointing out how women are victims – constant, constant victims. Suffering abuse and violence and having to fight their way out of this oppression.

No part of me denies that there are problems and that women in the roles they mostly make up (service, caretakers, creative industries, social anything) are disproportionately disadvantaged. It’s not just domestic and other violence against women, which is recently starting to take a prominent place in political agendas around the world, it is also in the destruction brought on by capitalism, by the military industries, the wars brought on by domination of resources, the neglect of the environment and so much more.

But women are more than just victims. They are better educated, they are more likely to enter higher education than men, they are better trained, they drive better, they save better and ultimately they survive better.

But then when everything in the world is involved at some point it must involve everyone else in it as well. The women’s movement can’t be seen in isolation. Any impact on women is spread towards everyone. Women’s anger, which does not rise up in isolation, is directed and absorbed by those around them and those around them tend to be children who go on to pour out the same.

Then there is the other side of the feminine; art. There is a £35 million cut in our local budget in Bristol and yet the beauty keeps growing and spreading and no part of it screams out I am a victim and I will destroy you.

As far as the newspapers and the channels see: the art movement which captures the media’s attention is, like the urban graffiti movement, mostly male. It’s the men that draw on the walls and bring colour to the city and it is the women who are screaming and ranting and unleashing sarcastic tirades in the media.

Can that be right? I don’t see how that can be true in reality. There must be more in real life than what we are seeing in the media. I’m going to keep looking.

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