Art, Triggers, and Discussion

We’ve featured people, companies and ENTIRE round-ups of both in the past that fit our mission of hyper-inclusivity. We’ve asked for examples in our community as well. We share things all the time that are not necessarily sewing, craft, or even craftivism. We posted a company called Wolves Theatre on Instagram yesterday because they do very much meet our mission.

Often pattern companies have difficulties with budgets, population availability, and other barriers to finding inclusive models they so very much want to use. It takes all of us working together to change the market. Wolves Theatre came up with a new financial model to afford clothing models over the age of 40. This could be a huge change and open the door for more intersectional model availability around the world.

Grey hair woman smirking at the camera confidently
A Great Example of a Wolves Theatre Model

Relative to this discussion: We also work rather closely with other sewing social groups; Sewover50 is definitely one of our favorites for collaborative efforts. God, Mother Nature, or Luck willing, if we are not currently, we’ll all be part of that group eventually. Of our permanent editors, I’m first in line to join, so my personal love of art, our sewing community, and my #sewover50 envy makes me biased. Those folks are awesome.

Photo of 40+ year old woman in a silk chemise sitting opened legged but private parts covered on a chair, similar to a reverse cowgirl in a bistro chair stance.
Original IG post photo used.

Now for the purpose of this post. Art is a sticky thing, isn’t it? I respect the image posted could be a trigger. I’ve shared with you very personal triggers of mine.

We create art. Or maybe I can’t speak for you, but for me, as a maker, I’ve had some hard looks at my body, my relationship with my makes, and my relationship with my creations. I have a LOT of privilege. I’m white, fit into the hetero-normative world, able-bodied, and fit in the 0-18 size set. Not to go down the other slippery slope of comparison, but I have it pretty easy when dealing with commercialized aesthetics and I still have to come to grips with body image, triggers, and how art makes me feel.

This image without context and without any explanation could most certainly hit triggers. I respect that. I respect the comment that it could very much hit that “posing for the male gaze” trigger. Oh, believe me when I tell you my anger for the patriarchy is right there with you. But I did read the context, I did vet the art, and I knew the model was in a performance pose, not in a sexual pose. The intent being the performer is showing a power pose. She’s taking up space. To me, assuming a woman is in a sexual pose for the male gaze is also like assuming “she wanted it because she wore a short skirt” and that has its own set of triggers, doesn’t it? Another pointed out it might look like a “cougar pose.” Totally not something I’d ever see. These may be triggers to others that are upsetting about this pose.

Maybe it’s MY projection that she seems a woman in the “invisible age bracket” not afraid to take up space but being that I don’t see anything sexual in nature, that’s more telling about me? I don’t GAF about the male gaze nor do I see value in it. I don’t know. I’m not you nor do I want tell you what to assume or not assume about the pose, nor can I tell you how to feel about it. I will only ever be me and ask for you to be you. And that is all I want.

two women over 40, naked in an artistic pose
Two More Glorious Over 40 Women from Wolves Theatre

We’re on a line here. Art makes us look at lines, makes us look at ourselves, makes us face those triggers and sit with those emotions. Sometimes we don’t like it. Sometimes I don’t like it. There are things in my cache of childhood/life trauma I’m not interested in sitting with, and I don’t expect you to sit with anything you’re not ready to…and trust when I tell you I’m ok with you feeling differently on different days.

another glorious woman over 40 with long curly dark hair lounging back on a red couch in an orange room.
A Powerful Image, again, Wolves Theatre

Regarding the commission/affiliate financial model for art part of the post. Yeah, it’s a different business model, isn’t it? Do you find it ugly to see the financial model? Would you rather not know what/how models and photographers are paid for their art? Or worse, asked to do it for “exposure?” I’ve tried paying my bills with “exposure,” and it doesn’t work. (My attempt at levity in a heavy topic – I can’t help it. Childhood trauma makes me joke about almost everything. That’s my survival mechanism. I’m aware of its pitfalls.)

I moved this here for further discussion, so we can talk more. Please, be real. Tell me your feelings. You can feel all the feels you need and I’m here for it.

“I have a patriarchy to demolish.” – Becky Jo

All photos property of Wolves Theatre Company.