i’m looking at a painting. in this painting, the bodies of women gush up conjured from shadow as a crush of glossed rose-plump fleshiness and loose hair engulfing a man. in the crevices between flesh and hair there are skulls, snakes, bats; the women laugh, flushed; they grope their breasts, roll around in the dirt; they offer the man a feast: red meat, an apple. at the center of the image the man is screaming.
i’m watching a film. in this film, a woman who has discovered her purest pleasure and truest self realized thru prostitution – her destiny! – daydreams of standing tied to a wooden beam while dark muck is slung in her face and down her white dress by men with shovels, who call her “slut.” her mouth opens. heavy breathing. she loves this.
i’m reading a poem. the poet writes: …the women writhed sad beneath black firmament // and, like a herd of victims led to sacrifice, // they trailed behind them a long and bestial lowing.
so i leave the gallery. i look down from the screen, into my lap. i close the book, i choose another from the shelf, and what i find is more of the same. another monster-girl, another girl-corpse, another dirty whore, another male master, male killer, male hero, male revolutionary, worldly and sensitive self-actualized male. another bruised and bleeding dumb cunt, another boy genius.
( SISTERS: aren’t we tired yet of averting our eyes? )
standard babble evangelizes “the arts” as something like a microcosmic prefiguration of heaven, wherein the intelligent, imaginative, cultivated elite convene to champion truth and beauty, the unbounded expression of the human soul, probing exploration of the human condition, the sacred and the profane, and so on and so forth. accordingly we are to be terribly impressed by artists, who nobly pit themselves in revolt against a repressive culture intent on squelching creative liberty and self-sovereignty. unimpressed, i’m calling bullshit.
“the arts” is a cultural institution, and like any cultural institution operating under global patriarchy, it is a fraternity: a male-dominated, male-dictated sphere where male-to-male bonding is nurtured, men’s ideas and ideals are refined, and aesthetic representations of these ideas//ideals are produced and reproduced as masculinist propaganda. men decide what art is, and men are the artists*; their artworks for the most part embody + reinforce the ideology of male supremacy, concretizing the complex of precepts that scaffold patriarchal sociopolitical architecture. in particular: that the relation between women and men is fundamentally dualistic, that this dualism parallels the polarity of body//mind, such that women: body, men: mind, meaning women are scum (inferior), and each man is Lord & Master (superior); women are objects or “animal,” men are subjects, “human”; women submit, must be tamed, while men dominate, must conquer. for the sake of brevity this is a rough sketch, oversimplified – there are countless diversionary deceptions & intricacies radiating from the marrow of the male supremacist mindwarp – but the point is:
AS A FRATERNAL ORDER “THE ARTS,” THRU THE PROPAGATION OF MASCULINIST DOCTRINE, AND THE NATURALIZATION OF ITS PRINCIPLES THROUGH IMPOSED PERVASIVITY, ABETS IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND ENFORCEMENT OF MAN-MADE REALITY. THEREFORE THE ARTS ARE IN SERVICE OF MALE POWER, THEREFORE…
the status quo is maintained, not subverted, by the vast majority of art. we hold that art today is dangerous not in how it DISRUPTS the “normal” and the “standard” and the “repressive,” but in how it SUPPORTS it.
categorically we reject, repudiate, snarl at, shred + otherwise seek to shame out of existence male imperialist propaganda whatever its medium, as we encounter rank masculinism manifest in
// THE AESTHETICIZATION OF THE MORBID PORNO-EROTICS OF VIOLENCE-AS-SEX, SEX-AS-DEATH, SEX-AS-MURDER, SEX-AS-SQUALOR // THE ROMANTICIZATION OF RAPE, OF SEXUAL TERROR, OF SEXUAL TORTURE, OF MALE POWER, OF FEMALE POWERLESSNESS, OF MALE SADISM, OF FEMALE MASOCHISM, OF WOMEN-AS-NATURAL-BORN-WHORES & MEN AS PRIMALLY BRUTISH // THE BOYS’ TRITE RE-TELLINGS OF THEIR FEMME FATALE FANTASIES // THE “FEMINIZATION” OF WOMEN INTO ORNAMENTAL FURNITURE // THE “FEMINIZATON” OF WOMEN INTO DOLLS, DRESS-UP DOLLS OR FUCK-DOLLS (these doll types are fluid, not a static typology but flowing one to the other) // THE EFFACEMENT OF WOMEN’S ARTISTIC INTELLIGENCE + TRIVIALIZATION OF WOMEN’S ART // THE GLAMORIZATION OF MACHO POSTURING, TUFF-GUY, WIFE-BEATER, WOMAN-HATER BRAVADO // AND, TO BE ALL-INCLUSIVE, THE AESTHETICIZATION OF THE DENIGRATION, DESECRATION, SUBORDINATION OF WOMEN BY ANY MEANS & THE CELEBRATION OF DOMINANT PHALLIC-AGGRESSIVE MASCULINITY BY ANY MEANS //
in addition to these repulsive (not to mention banal, grotesquely uncreative) tropes we furthermore revile all male artists whose conduct indicates a disgust for and//or hatred of women, or that so-called “love” for women solely as pets and toys which is in fact a form of hatred. we do not accept that a man’s “artistic merit” excuses his chauvinism, his proclivity for beating women or raping them or collecting prepubescent girls’ underwear. et cetera. he is not exonerated in our eyes. we do not accept that “form” excuses content, so that a poem about a decapitated woman can be discussed enthusiastically for its innovative syntax. when we are told that imagery of women adoring men’s abuse while men get off on power is transgressive (even revolutionary!), or far too psychologically//philosophically complex and nuanced for our microscopically pea-like girl-brains to parse; when we are snickered at as simple-minded for declaring abuse to be abusive, we say
SISTERS: CALL IT LIKE YOU SEE IT.
SISTERS: CALL FOUL.
it is time to stop fretting we’re lowbrow for not treasuring antiwoman aesthetics, that we’re sentimental silly little girls, insipid and maudlin for balking at rape scenes, rape poems, rape paintings, rape anthems. in spite of men’s systematic efforts to deaden us, body//brain//spirit, we are not braindead for renouncing men’s “artistic” degradations and depredations. because we are not so numb as to be unaware of the difference between truth and male fantasy, between beauty and men’s cruelty; and because we are still sensitive still vital we are believers in art’s power, perceiving its true power as transformative – and we insist that this human society must be transformed – we denounce it as a perverse misuse to exploit art in the preservation of the ugly fictions of male supremacy. thus we will no longer permit the arts to persist as a gentlemen’s club, which we can visit if we don’t mind watching our sisters be brutalized, so long as we’re dressed in proper cocktail attire, wiggling slinky and flirting during intermission. boys, our gaze is peeled from the floor and we’re glaring hard now—we see what you’ve been up to. no longer will we passively politely prettily “appreciate” your violence against us, nor the hateful myths you’ve sown to slander and to humiliate us into silent compliance. we did not commission these shoddy portraits. repulsed at how we’ve been misrepresented, henceforth we will represent ourselves. we will do better. we could not do worse. having zero reverence for the cultural institutions of a culture men have made rotten & insolvent, we hereby place a curse upon the fraternal order of the arts, its brotherhood of phony artistes, and all their virulent and lazy swill. consider this boys’ club condemned.
*[ inevitably someone is thinking now, sneering, reading this that i am stupid because don’t i know that there are female artists? yes, i do. women are permitted entry to the Art Frat on a discretionary basis, provided we pledge our allegiance to male values, either by adherence to approved “feminine” expressions or by sycophantically grasping at male power, primarily thru the cruel treatment of others + shrilling “SEE THAT GIRL OVER THERE I AM NOT LIKE HER” or “I’M A BAD BITCH” repeatedly into the microphone; secondly it is critical we maintain a basic requisite level of fuckability, in the absence of which we become irrelevant, hastily discarded by our brothers, whose tastes are so discriminating. the treatment of women artists in the arts is typically wretched and in no way suggests the existence of significant differentiation between the arts and any other fraternity//cultural institution. ]