the digital giraffe - Y Not

All About Women

Our Woman of the Month Award for September goes to Susan Kaprov, a multi-media artist whose stunning works can be found at institutions like The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Kaprov works in a wide variety of disciplines, including fired emamel on glass, photomontage on aluminum, glass mosaic, and computer-generated images. She says of her process, "As an artist, I'm a dedicated stylistic and thematic explorer. I create by giving myself "assignments" or self-imposed ideas that I explore in depth. I use my studio as a "laboratory" and my art as a series of 'research projects'. By creating groups of related works in the same general idiom, I can work through their ramifications with great freedom. I don't live in a dreamworld: rather a dreamworld lives in me".

Note: Woman of the Month now has its own page in the giraffe.com archives section.

In a village in the far north of Pakistan, close to the Chinese border, one family started a football team for young women. The team eventually ended up playing in Dubai, representing Pakistan in the Jubilee Games. The goal is to give girls an alternative to getting married when they reach the age of 18. Lacking funding, they managed on small donations, so that on the very first day of play 90 hopefuls showed up. They play on sand; they play amidst snow-capped mountains. But they are determined to change the culture of their small community.

Women in Hong Kong have decided to break the social taboo against talking about their menstrual periods. Using social media and weekly workshops, they are educating women to discuss their bodies openly, a process which has been rare in Asian cultures. Initially some of the women wore face masks and large hats to disguise their identity. One attempt to pierce the silence resulted in a Facebook page called MenstruAction, bucking the traditional custom of not allowing women to visit places of worship during their periods.

The Hollywood prohibition against any female body type except skinny is being fought by larger women who expose the gender prejudice. If a non-emaciated female is lucky enough to land a starring role, even if she succeeds at it, she finds herself gradually being shut out of the film industry, offered bit parts if any, and generally told to return when she has trimmed down in a major way. Some television roles may be offered, but Hollywood is closed. ( And this is how our 3D printed digital sculpture "Big Beautiful Woman" - scroll down - came to be).

A ten-year-old victim of rape in India had applied to the courts for an abortion. The justices refused her request, and she has given birth to a child. The girl's uncle had raped her multiple times. According to the Washington Post, India has the highest number of sexually abused children in the world, more than ten thousand in 2015, and most of those by family friends or relatives. Convictions are rare.

A study of attitudes towards women in the world of economics reveals a pervasive hostility. Alice Wu wrote an award-winning thesis at the University of California at Berkeley based on attitudes shown in online media: her process involved reading more than a million posts from an anonymous bulletin board visited by economists. Begun as a source for gossip about hirings and firings in the industry, the site evolved into a quasi-water cooler where frank comments were made. Where the old water-cooler chatter could remain unrevealed, however, the social media chatter was archived to reveal "what economists talk about when they talk among themselves." This hostility joins the statistics about the dearth of female economists to present an environment prejudiced against women practitioners.

An Australian senator wore a full-face burqua during the question period to "raise the issue of full face covering presenting a security threat not only to Parliament House, but also to the greater Australian public". She has since removed it, but the act provoked a storm of comments, both con and pro, as the politicians argue about whether she should have been allowed to wear it.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Nepal banned the practice of confining women to animal sheds during their menstrual periods in order to keep "impurities" out of the home. The ruling, however, has not taken hold, as two teenage girls died in their incarceration, one from a snake bite and the other from suffocation in a poorly-ventilated hut. Lack of education is blamed for the failure of the law to take hold.

Two women have become the first females to graduate from the army's Ranger School. One had been a high-school soccer player, the other a cross-country skiier. Both had initially failed the tests required to participate in the program, but their persistence paid off even as other candidates resigned.

A camp for transgender kids teaches them that they are normal and "not alone". Rainbow Day Camp in El Cerrito, California, caters to children as young as preschool and is now being copied in other cities. The camp's increasing popularity reflects a trend in society itself where younger and younger children are identifying as transgender - one mother reveals that her daughter knew by age 2 that she was transgender.

A lawsuit has been filed in Nebraska alleging that women recruits for the State Patrol were forced to undergo "sexually invasive exams", including rectal and vaginal penetration. The State Patrol claims that the exams were meant to weed out hernias, and have since been stopped.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2017

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