Art & LiteratureLifestyleWomen Leaders

Martha Mosse On, “Slut, Spinster and Perfect” Gender Roles

By August 21, 2018 No Comments

What do women and spandex have in common? More than you think. For feminist performance artist and writer Martha Mosse, women often take on the qualities of this flexible, screen-like material, losing themselves in the facade.

How easy it is for a woman’s individual self to be smoothed over, to be controlled and neatly packaged in female roles defined by the world. These types of rules – old paradigms and prisons that once locked women into stereotypical roles as good girl, fitting wife, slut, spinster, desired lover, and any of the number of spandex-like sizes – were a woman’s ticket to happiness or failure.

We’re all familiar with some of these stereotypical roles. Don’t be fat and be sexy enough without being too provocative. Be the perfect mother and an ambitious career, but never drop the ball on being the dotting wife too. In fact, entire economies and industries like those of the fashion and fitness world have been built on women wanting to have the perfect hair, eyes, skin, and body. But in this quest for perfection, women give us control over their bodies.

 

But not anymore, if you take to heart Mosse’s thought-provoking ideas in her fascinating Ted Talk about “Slut, Spinster and Perfect.” Mosse shares her thoughts about the prisons we’ve created and allowed society to perpetuate. Labels like slut, spinster and perfect are common and blatantly sexist. They are so prevalent in our world that they do several things: they keep the status quo, they pit us against each other.

 

These malleable roles not only restrict us but they get into our psyche and provide a false sense of belonging.

The good news is that once you recognize these prisons and the need to shatter them, there’s no going back for women.

Mosse admits she never thought of herself as a feminist or worried about these kinds of questions until she began her college studies. For many women, this is a pivotal time to understand sexuality in the context of values and decisions about who you want to be in the world.

As a performance artist and creative thinker, Mosse created an online forum in 2012 in the United Kingdom aptly called, Day As A Woman. Her project collects examples of sexism from the public and uses these as a springboard for shared discussion, learning and inspiration for curating new art installations.

Thankfully, Mosse reminds us that feminism is truly about creating equal opportunity for women and the need for men and women to celebrate and encourage each other’s individuality. Currently, Mosse works for the Sarabande Foundation, a philanthropic brainchild of Lee Alexander McQueen. Let’s hope she continues to keep pushing the boundaries of our minds and our walls.

Rose McInerney

Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.