Daniela Rossell

Thursday, 21 June 2012



I feel that are we all prisoners in the representations that we perhaps believe of ourselves. For instance, ‘femininity’: maybe something that because we’re women, we may think that it belongs to us. But we didn’t make it up most of the time, we didn’t set the rules to it, and is it really our territory?

Im very interested in territories that are supposed to be female ... the home for example has been treated as a feminine space, or territory, which I think is ridiculous. And I think that ‘hotness’ is also viewed as a female space. ... The inertia to repeat these roles and stereotypes is very powerful.

I stumbled upon this video today and I wanted to post it immediately before I forget. It features photographer and artist, Daniela Rossell, talking about femininity in modern culture, using “examples from her series Ricas y Famosas (Rich and Famous) to work through her own thoughts on the problematic nature of contemporary ‘femininity’”. It’s fascinating, and I highly recommend setting aside five quiet minutes to see it. Although I’ve highlighted a few quotes above from the video, it should really be watched in full.

Video source: from SFMOMA’s blog.

7 comments:

SERA said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I found her a little bit hard to follow, but I think that what she articulated is what is in a lot of peoples' heads. I know myself for one, I get very confused by the images of femininity that are presented on an everyday basis, and the fact that I like 'feminine' things like 'the home' and 'fashion' confuses my ideas of what liberties we have and what restrictions we have as determined by society. It's all one big mess in my head, and to hear a photographer speak like this is somehow comforting, as well as inspiring.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Thank you, Hila. Femininity is something I've thought much about, especially in graduate school, but also well beyond. The varied ways in which both men and women define this word is endlessly intriguing to me. I just typed "define: femininity" into Google and my first result was "the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for women." Hmmm. Not very helpful. Typical for Paula Deen or Tracey Emin or Rachel Maddow or Hila or Denise? I'm beginning to question using the word at all.

Rusty said...

I agree- "what's wrong with us?!" I like how she presents these confusions and contradictions without having 'the answer'. Perhaps we don't discuss these issues often enough for fear of 'getting it wrong'? Having a mainstream, open discussion is a powerful thing.

Carolina said...

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this. Something to note is that this is based on mostly western based ideas of sexuality. Western philosophy views gender very polarized.

There are ancient and modern cultures that have very different concepts of sexuality, feminine, masculine, etc. There are tribes in the USA that have 5 different categories of gender for people to fall in to, for example. Or another culture where they wait for the child to tell them what gender they are. It's interesting how differently gender and concepts surrounding gender can be looked at.

Something White said...

Very interesting to listen to this woman! I myself think that we have to go back to our spiritual being to be able to make abstraction of all which ´seems´ to make of us real women or which make us feminine. I have been in religious life (as a catholic nun) for 7 years and I was happy to find out more about this subject with the great philosopher EDITH STEIN. She lived in The Netherlands, was of Jewish origine, but became a catholic carmelite sister. She too found out that our spiritual source is what makes of us women (and men).
Thank you for sharing. Best greetings, Marjolijn

Something White said...

Here´s a link for you, if you might be interested:
http://www.amazon.com/Essays-Woman-Collected-Works-Edith/dp/0935216596

Hila said...

Sera: I also think she expressed this confusion well. It's kind of confusing for many women to see images of other women being objectified and demeaned, and yet be told that's 'liberating'. Same goes for the idea that we can do anything we want with our lives (supposedly), yet are shown a repetitive and limited model of femininity. I guess she's was trying to articulate this, and also to question how much of these feminine 'spaces' are actually 'natural' rather than simply repeated and learned.

Denise: me too, and same goes for masculinity.

Rusty: I agree, and it's kind of hard to discuss these things in mainstream conversation, because so often the discussion gets derailed, or someone seeks to shut it down.

Carolina: That's true - it's clear to me she's speaking about Western culture, as am I.

Something White: I think this video is about social and cultural ideas about femininity, which we have learned, rather than the topic of spirituality.