Postures of Power: Prichard Art Gallery Exhibit
October 2-7, 2012
Prichard Art Gallery
in downtown Moscow
About "Postures of Power"The exhibition "Postures of Power" explored how shoes came to [re]define the feminist movement. Through a series of two and three-dimensional works, including videos, these works aimed to confront the feminist-feminine dichotomy, and scrutinize the conflation of power with choice. In essence, these works, produced by a cooperative of local women artists, asked: "If high heels are power, why don't men wear them?"
The exhibition explored women's relationships with high heels and the conflicting messages of desire, power, and the perpetual need for constant physical improvement. One effect of such messages is the contested meaning of feminism in the 21st Century. According to third-wave feminist theory, adoption of conventionally feminine postures actually liberates women, who no longer need to compete with men because power already is shared equally. Femininity thus becomes a performance, a masquerade, rather than a necessity imposed externally.
The artists in "Postures of Power" exposed how this argument obscures the mechanics of power, often manipulated through media rhetoric that perpetuates gender-appropriate behaviors. On the one hand, media normalize beauty practices as seductive and pleasurable, while reinforcing the need for constant vigilance against being seen as unattractive; on the other hand, media either ignore or denigrate other forms of feminism and political activism.