When Mom/Ann told me about Threads of Resistance, I was reminded of a quote I read when I was writing a paper on the Supreme Court Roe versus Wade trial for my Health Management Masters course, Law and Ethics. The quote was from an earlier case in the Southern District of New York suit referred to as Abramowizc versus Lefkowitz. The disturbing imagery that this quote invokes for me has stuck with me:
"Women of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your coat hangers."
Coat hangers were and could be again a traditional tool for self abortion.
Quote was from page 110 of the book "Roe v. Wade" by Hull and Hoffer. I didn't write down who said it or if the writers even knew. Apparently there is another version about the quote referring to women losing their vaccumes...
In response to the Threads of Resistance call for art I started to create a piece of art inspired by this quote. I created this sort of star shape with coat hangers and now I'm deciding on a background. I was going to make the coat hanger part end up like a spiders web to capture the sense of being trapped that I'd imagine someone wanting an abortion might feel. Raising a child is such a huge undertaking that I can't imagine anyone going into it that doesn't want to. Another quote from writing the paper stuck with me as well. This one was about having a child and was from Sarah Weddington who argued in the Supreme Court case:
"It disrupts her body, it disrupts her education, it disrupts her employment, and it disrupts her entire family life."
Having a two year old, Tyler, I can relate to this quote. The disruption may be a mix of positive, negative, or neutral depending on the day. An emergency C-section is definitely a body and mind disruption that I would not wish on any woman. I'd never been that scared before for me or for another (Tyler in this case). You remember how fragile and short life can be. I also felt trapped like I want this art piece to convey. I had to have the C-section. I did not have any options really. I can marvel that health care procedures have advanced so much that women seldom die these days from childbirth. It is very odd to know you could owe your life and health and your child's life and health to modern methods and the skill of physicians and nurses. It can mess with your head and your body is never quite the same.
This piece is a new departure for me because I seldom used to create art with any serious meaning. I've been feeling too quiet lately though and it sort of makes me feel trapped again. People who argue against abortion see it completely different than I do. I see a situation in which the child could be born into a life without love and to me that is not a life worth having. (Watch the documentary "This Emotional Life.") It's hard enough keeping calm when you love your child deeply and they are having a tantrum at a mall restaurant. You just want to have a nice quiet dinner and not look like the crazy person who can't seem to make her kid happy. I am thrilled to have a son that most of the time makes me smile and creates cool stuff like this Lego tower.
I would like to do some art beyond Lego towers and coloring in coloring books. I didn't ever expect it to take a serious bent, but even my serious bent will have a bit of whimsy and beauty to it I hope.
I can't quite decide which composition below is best. It's hard to see the hangers at the moment. I think once I weave threads through and around the hangers, the background will become more muted. I'm wondering if I should overlay a sheer over the trees though. The one of the left definitely conveys "trapped" more to me. Any suggestions?
For your pieces, I like Option 2 on the right best. I really like the composition with the white words popping out in the bottom area. I think it would be cool if you echoed that at the top with black words hidden in the back behind the white layer. It reminds me of the Tower of Babel story. Option 1 would definitely need a lot more work to get the composition to be as interesting as Option 2.
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.