The Waning He-man Women Haters Club
"Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim, they all want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our health and our own bodies." ---Secretary Hillary Clinton, 2012Several people mentioned it. There were a notably large number of strong works by women artists at the Moving Image art fair.
I had noticed it myself as the selection process was coming together. The number of works by women artists stood out.
It wasn't intentional. The committee didn't decide this was the year to focus on women. It just happened organically.
But Moving Image wasn't the only venue. One of the top collectors in the world posted on his facebook page that "It's the year of great women artists at the art fairs in NY this year" in response to his visits to the ADAA Art Show and Armory, and the downtown favorite mini-fair Salon Zürcher presented solo projects by women artist only this year.
So what's happening?
After the last Whitney Biennial (the first in its history that featured more women than men artists), the pendulum swung back this time to including nearly twice as many men as women in the line-up. The funny thing is, though, that I had to count myself. No one that I know of has remarked on the numbers this time.
I think that's a good thing, actually (that, even if momentarily, we're enjoying a bit of "post-disparity" refocus on other issues). And it's very heartening to see Rush Limbaugh's sponsors flee from his show after the political shock jock piggishly mocked a woman who insisted her health insurance cover her health care needs.
It seems to me that the reactionary attacks on women from the right-wing extremists in this country reveal a desperation for another "other" to project their political frustrations onto (read: attempt to veil their incompetence). The fact that women legislators are fighting back (and how) across the country suggests the extremists chose the wrong scapegoat this time.
Vigilance is obviously still called for. Had Limbaugh's comments or Issa's censorship gone unchallenged, my guess is they might have succeeded in changing the subject from how lame and utterly disjointed the GOP's current vision for the country is. So it's still very important to call a pig a "pig." To draw attention to disparity and slam those who would promote it.
But I think we're also seeing signs that things are actually improving. When larger numbers of women artists just so happen to be included in exhibitions or fairs (without a set agenda to do so) or when women lawmakers shove nonsense misogynist legislation right back down their creators' throats, I personally become more hopeful that we're reaching the point, as Secretary Clinton also noted, where women's rights are seen as human rights, plain and simple.