18 x 18 inches
Mixed media on canvas laid on wood
There is a pervasive unfairness to life that women have to contend with, even if we are unaware of this problem.
Women are still blamed and vilified as in the biblical story of Adam and Eve and countless other narratives and
myths from history. We are still stuck in the wallpaper, so to speak, treated as we have been for far too long as
decoration or adornment in a man’s world. We have tried to gain equal rights by performing as men do but this
has caused us to have to work harder and longer for less pay and in a way that limits our freedom and choices.
Before we can pull ourselves out of this wallpaper we’re stuck in, we need to make this quietly pervasive problem
more recognized in society.
Even though we are living in modern times, women still don’t have equal rights and are treated as the inferior sex
just as we have been throughout history. Yet now, instead of more freedoms/rights, women have even more
responsibilities that limit their freedoms. Women work in a man’s world that doesn’t take into account the unique
and important roles women fulfill in our society such as childrearing and running the household. Women not only
bear the burden of these important unrecognized jobs, we are also expected to work for less money than men
(79 cents to the man’s dollar in 2016). We have fewer freedoms and are still subjugated due to responsibilities
that continue to fall to our sex without question.
Our society is fundamentally materialistic/capitalistic, placing more importance on work and making money than
family and raising healthy children (our future society). Women shouldn’t have to choose between family/children
and a career. Many women are still told, or feel that they must choose, either having children or pursuing their
career. Many think that if they start their career first, they will have children later, but this will not be possible for
many due to the biology of the human body (many find their only option is to undergo traumatic fertility treatments).
Others choose to have their children first and think they will pursue their career once their children are older and
do not require as much care and attention. This becomes difficult because the location where the family settles
might not offer educational options that are ideal for the mother. It can be a struggle to start a career or education
again at a later age. The skirt in my painting represents the fast moving stream of life and especially
mothering/motherhood, a very important job women have that is undervalued by society. Motherhood is a fast
moving stream, once a woman makes the decision to have children, her life is altered in ways she couldn’t have
imagined. The effort and focus required for mothering often takes precedent over focusing on career without the
woman even realizing and suddenly many years have passed.
We all need to realize and value the many important roles women have in society. We need to recognize the
ubiquitous inequity before we can begin to move forward. There should be different pathways for women so
that they can be successful at both. Examples could include more part-time jobs as well as educational paths
that account for the many responsibilities mothers have that may necessitate them pursuing their career on a
part-time or even less than half time basis. There seems to be a stigma that part-time workers or students
are not serious, but I think this is an old notion from the male ordering of the world. Women have different
roles important to society that necessitate different pathways. It should not be “all or nothing.”