Sometimes, something you read just clicks and resonates so deeply with the things you’ve been thinking about, that you can’t shake it from your mind. So much of what Suzanne Moore wrote in her article in The Guardian ten days or so ago struck a chord in me.
‘From India and Turkey to Oxford and Yarl’s Wood, we live in a perpetual state of war against women.’
Depressing words on so many levels – and also remarkably timely in relation to the creative work that’s been at the forefront of my mind in the lead up to International Women’s Day – Sunday, March 8th.
Moore’s reference to how, in this country, ‘we move from one abuse story to another’ was particularly pertinent at the time of reading, as my ‘Sweet Nothings‘ assemblage work was simultaneously in the Atom Gallery, included in a group show, Disturbance.
‘Sweet Nothings‘ is a piece of work made up of 21 small china female figurines. The figurines are of girls, not women – all bows & frills, sweet & subservient-looking in their stance; placed on a dressing table, faces turned to the mirror. It’s not obvious at a first glance, but all the mouths of the young girls are taped up – gagged and silenced by a strip of Elastoplast. Just like the girls and women Suzanne Moore discusses in her article, they have no voice:
‘When David Cameron says he is going to do something about child abuse, one wonders how he will admit its scale, or admit that the lives of working-class girls are not important to him and, even if they were, that this is beyond the scope of his rudderless government. The make-believe election we are having will always be more of a priority for those who run things. The war against women is waged routinely and globally. Equality of the most basic kind cannot exist when a woman’s life and her words are always worth less than a man’s.
‘But in the darkness of the night, what haunts us are not broken systems but the faces of the broken girls. So, so many. All the time.’
If every picture tells a story, then ironically, the images above speak volumes. And Suzanne Moore’s vivid and heart-wrenching description of being haunted by ‘the faces of the broken girls’ sums up in just six words what I suspect I couldn’t in a million.
The full version of Suzanne Moore’s article can be read here: