Yesterday, I attended a book club that is part of a women’s artist support group. A point was brought up by one of the artists, commenting on the book “The Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor” by Gail McMeekin. The woman in question noted that the author encourages women to support themselves in order to make the creative process possible.
Historically, male artists have consistently had a highly dedicated and supportive entourage of women to allow them to be free of the logistical problems and responsibilities of everyday life, permitting them to dream and create freely. I can think of a few off the top of my head: Jackson Pollack, Pierre Bonnard. Sigh…!
As a dreamer, the logistics of life – the tasks of providing food and shelter for myself, my son, and our pets, of creating educational opportunities for my son – often seem overwhelming. As nurturers, it is so easy for women to put aside their own dreams in order to support those under her wing. It seems as if there really is no one out there who is willing to sacrifice him or herself in order for a woman to dream her life into action. I am not saying this never happens, but it is most certainly a rare and privileged woman who has a protector and provider who is supportive of her vocation as an artist. And in our career oriented society, a woman is considered a failure if she cannot take care of her family and run two or more successful careers at the same time. It would seem that women are expected to accomplish more than men, yet they are always considered inferior. It seems as if humanity has long been prey to a strong sense of fear and insecurity regarding feminine gifts and energy. The reality is that the feminine vision of life is different and complementary to the masculine vision. Neither is meant to obscure or denigrate the other.
As a believer that society is evolving in order to re-embrace feminine values (rather than force women to embrace masculine values as a substitute for true freedom and “equality”), I suppose I must push on and show the world an example of a feminine woman who refuses to give up on her dream.
As a single parent, I definitely feel highly responsible for my own life and family, and I would feel remiss if I did not provide a healthy, attractive, and stable home for myself and son. So the question remains for myself and possibly for all female artists: how can I lead a satisfying creative life and be a good parent and provide for my family?
As a very feminine dreamer and introvert, it takes about 90% of my available energy to function in the extraverted, competitive, individualistic, and highly masculine society that is the United States of America. There is so much more to being an artist than just producing art work. As all working artists know, in order to be successful and show one’s work, one must produce art, promote the work, network regularly in order to have one’s name “out there”, and maintain a regularly updated web-site and social network system. The artists I know who are “successful” in the public arena are generally speaking more extraverted, more competitive, more masculine in character.
There is nothing wrong with a woman embodying these qualities, but my question remains. How can a feminine, primarily introverted, nurturing woman who has a strong statement and contribution to make to society find the means to make the compromise between life and art possible while maintaining personal and artistic integrity?
I think that this is an important question. As our societies begin to evolve away from total focus on a left-brained information age and move towards a slower paced, more Earth-centric life-style in which holistic healing methods and consideration for the whole person – conscious and subconscious are better taken into account, the acceptance and celebration of the feminine will become widespread. Until then, it is up to individual women to band together, to take courage, and to spread the knowledge and imagery of feminine values to the world. Women need the masculine in order to become fully feminine, but the world has vilified femininity for so long, that women cannot openly embrace their own natures, which have become foreign to ourselves. And men cannot reach their own full potential without integrating the feminine into their own lives. Without strong feminine women in their midst, a man cannot truly thrive. And without a world which celebrates her nature, a woman cannot reach her own potential.
I truly look forward to experiencing world culture growing to embrace women and feminine values globally. This process has begun. Let us all work together to speed up this movement so that we can all benefit from its fruits.