Sunday, October 21, 2007
Can Make-Up Hide The Wounds Of Our Oppression?
"Not much is on the level here," a friend commented to me as we were examining costumes for Halloween. We'd been glancing through the women's selections, most of which catered to fantasies of being sick and helpless (the classic nurse/candy striper) to the sexy through domination (cops) to the outright bizarre, particularly an Alice in Wonderland outfit that bordered on mild society-sanctioned pedophilia. As an adult man or woman, you can dress up like a baby which brings to mind a period of time when adults were often seen carrying pacifiers as fashion statements. I looked at a fair number of tights, one of which offered the wearer a version of scarred legs, an image so jolting in this age of self-mutilation that I had to back away. In the spirit of full confession, I did buy the ones with a barb-wire design on them. As for make-up, I didn't need any -- my every day make-up is very Halloweeny and whenever I get my nails done, the woman doing them inevitably is shocked by my choice of black as opposed to the predictable palate of neutrals that most of my companions pick. Going to a Halloween party? the last one asked to which I said, My whole life is kind of a Halloween party.
Which is true. One of my students suggested that I dress up like a vampire cheerleader for the holiday this year to which I replied that I wanted to do something that wasn't so close to my regular look. I once saw a picture of a woman carrying a sign that read -- "Can Make-Up Hide The Wounds Of Our Oppression?" I thought about that for a long time, thought about the ways we try and hide all of our pain, to tamp it down, make it okay for everybody else. But on Halloween, we can wear it on the outside. We can be whomever we would like to for the moment, no matter how sick, no matter how transparent. Our desires and fears can consume us for a little while in front of everyone else. We can be sexy or scary. Or if we're really lucky, we can be both.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose." Langston Hughes
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday! Watch this section for the debut of "The Holy Pear" and Grouchie's first visit to an art museum next week! My condolences to my fellow midwesterners who had to endure any "Sweetest Day" garbage yesterday.