Sunday, June 29, 2014

INVISIBLE WOMEN by Judy Foster

"Invisible Women: Reclaiming Goddess" (Copyright Judy Foster 1997). The painting features the Laussel figurine (goddess with a horn), France, 24,000 BP); a Christian ‘Madonna’; and a woman forced by patriarchy into her own restrictive ‘little box’, and who symbolises so many Women today…
The first panel features a symbolic version of an Old European goddess/deity painted on a red rock wall, her hand directing the eye to the famous triple spiral female symbol which was first featured on a wall within the Neolithic Irish passage-tomb at Newgrange. This image represents the female principle.

The top right panel includes a version of the patriarchal Christian 'Madonna', static, unrealistic... She not only has suppressed/replaced the prehistoric goddess/deity who was prominent for so long in prehistory, but also represents historic patriarchy...

And in the third panel she continues to symbolise the oppression of women today, as is demonstrated by the the figure of a woman "squeezed into a box" by male expectations...Little, or no freedom for her to develop her own talents, come out of her "box", find her 'goddess' within, unhindered by patriarchy.

My thoughts about the images in the above painting:

· The ‘Wilderness’ of exclusion which all women occupy is life within ‘nothingness’. According to Carol Christ the experience of ‘nothingness’ begins when we experience emptiness:

in self-hatred, in self-negation, and in being victim; in relationships with men; and in all the values that have shaped our lives*.

· When we experience ‘nothingness’ we begin to question the meaning of our life, while rejecting conventional solutions. In so doing we open ourselves to a revelation of deeper sources of power and value.

· What are the temptations women in this ‘wilderness’ face?

· Women who are tempted to remain within patriarchy are faced with all the dangers patriarchal power brings.

· Women who dare to step outside patriarchy face a lonely, hard time; they are punished for their independence by patriarchy. They suffer in the silence which has been imposed upon them, and become ‘invisible’…

-Judy Foster, shared with permission from her blog, Invisible Women of Prehistory.

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