“Womanhood: Navigating the Toxic Waters”


A wonderful art professor introduced me to a good introductory art therapy book called Art is a Way of Knowing, by Pat B. Allen. Since then, art therapy has had a profound influence on my life as I try to work out various issues and problems.

This collage is a piece I did while I was an out-patient at an eating disorder clinic. In the bottom left corner, you can see an adolescent girl who has the daunting task of trying to navigate the toxic waters of our current media-laden society. Suffice it to say, the waters are not particularly inviting. We’re tadpoles completely immersed in messages regarding the absolute necessity of being sexualized females. If we never leave these waters, how are we to learn differently–that our self-worth doesn’t have to be a collection of breasts, butts and exposed torsos?

The frog in the upper right corner is a symbol of hope, as amphibians are part of two worlds, not one…  Although I would just as soon leave this first world behind forever.

5 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on Korean Kibble and commented:

    It is interesting to think how there are different “species” of creatures in different environments. Now that I’m living in Seoul, these sea monsters would all emphasize extreme thinness rather than sex appeal…

    • men are inundated with these messages too. if i’m painfully honest, i am guilty of having been “brainwashed” to a large extent with these messages. but i fight them as best as i can. how can a real progressive feminism reeducate men from feeding the machine that produces such destructive waters? having spent time with a number of korean men in dubai – young and old – the future DOES NOT look promising, unfortunately. but your art is a beacon of SOME hope 🙂

      • Thanks for the reminder– You’re right, I shouldn’t forget that both men and women are swimming in the same toxic, media-laden waters. And who can blame you for internalizing these messages, as have I? I mean, it would be impossible for a tadpole to not be affected at all by the water it swims in… But I applaud your question, “How can a real progressive feminism reeducate men from feeding the machine…” because you astutely recognize that the power ultimately still resides with men, where the key shift in thinking needs to happen. It’s like that quote, “We need to teach men not to be rapists, and not women how to not get raped.”

  2. Pingback: “Womanhood: Navigating the Toxic Waters” « Jenny Lee’s Jottings « mz jenny lee

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