Women of Wednesday: Marina Santana on Sexual Taboos and Gender Inequity in Art

Marina Santana, Artist (California)

1. Tell us about the work you’re doing and why it’s important.

From the artist: “‘Visual Pleasure’ is a lipstick on fabric print which focuses on how Western media uses women in order to provide a pleasurable visual experience for men. The media’s narrative structures its gaze as masculine. The woman is always the object of the reifying gaze, not the bearer of it. Visual Pleasure is my stance on the passive role of women in all forms of media inspired by Laura Mulvey’s essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema and the Bechdel’s Law. I used lipstick since it can be considered the international symbol of the feminine mystique. But instead of using my facial lips, another set of lips were used: the vulva.”

2. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in pursuing the work that’s important to you?

3. What do you need in order to continue your work in the way you envision?

4. Where and how can we support you to make #3 happen?

From the artist: “‘Nothing That You Do, You Do Unless I Said (STUMM5 | A3)’ This ceramic piece is an opportunity to merge both the mishandling of consent and cultural dialogue at large through the sculptural aggregation of content, and a healing and cathartic opportunity for myself in the execution. Unfortunately, our current sexual culture suggests that when it comes to sexual communication, women are either playing hard to get or that ‘no’ actually means ‘yes’. Each tile is overlaid with a zipper in a different open-to-close stage and underneath is a replica of the vulva. I am in control of my limits. If I am in the midst of coitus and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this. I changed my mind,’ that means no. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I am wearing. No means no.”

5. What is your favorite quote?




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Olivia A. Cole

Olivia A. Cole

Storyteller. www.oliviaacole.com

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