I think we need to play catch up on some questions that have been raised or statements that have been made.
A while back you asked if I agreed with Jennifer Holzer's assertion that only people of the same sex can understand each other. But maybe that was a paraphrase. And it seems like a significant enough question to revisit.
Why do you ask it?
Because I have a secret theory that we can only understand that
which is like ourselves and that lesbians have the right idea
in this regard. But actually I feel more understood by women . . . but
I grew up with more woman.)
Do you feel that our different
genders—yours and mine—are
making it difficult of us to understand each other?
Is gender an obstacle for
you and Linda to understand each other?
have managed to stay in the understanding game with
each other for a long time, Kim. What is it, 36 years?
I don't like the word "managed" . . . sounds
too much like a job rather than a treat.)
regroup . . .
What did Jennifer Holzer actually say and where did you read
can understand someone of your sex only" http://mfx.dasburo.com/art/truisms.html)
do you feel about it?
I think it is more courageous to try to understand things different
I don't think that people
of the same gender have the wrap on understanding.
Look at Pseudonym and me.
Or my mother and
me. Or, many, many women and me who don't
understand other at a deep level.
There are things that people of the same gender
can only understand in the sense of shared
experience. You will never
know what it is like to menstruate or give
birth or have breast cancer. I will never know
what it is like to get an
erection or to have a penis for that matter.
we can use our imaginations to understand all kinds of things.
But it is hard to know some things if you haven't been there.)
how the first examples that are coming to mind as I write,
after another difficult sleep night, are all based in the body.
So let's expand to the social, keeping in mind that any examples
are really culturally based and would vary depending upon the
place from where one speaks.
Can most men ever know—"most American men" in an urban setting
know what it is like to wear fear like a shield as you walk down the
street, simply in pursuit of one's destination?
I don't see how fear can be a shield. I've certainly felt fear
walking down the street (in Chicago as a kid in seedy neighborhoods.)
a man know what it is like to feel the sting of often not being
taken seriously in a work environment?
Yes, I think so. Sensitivity can help us feel all kinds
Or the economic disparities in many situations.
Or to feel the personal power of a certain kind of feminine
flirtation? The kind I can pull out when really needed and
that works on men
from 7 to 70?
Sure. There is a similar power (sometimes) in being a dean.)
are old examples. And in some ways cliched except they are based
in my experience of reality. And that
of many other women that
Let's go back further.
What does it mean to understand?
To take ownership. To be able to recreate.)
The act of becoming
one with the object/subject.)
I'm not sure she meant it. It is a truism—something most
there are points of commonality based on various shared
realties. But I refuse to accept that we cannot understand each other,
male and female or any other groupings.And as an artist, if I believe
I can't really understand the other, whoever that other may be,
I have no palette or vocabulary but myself.
I am the starting point. But not the ending point.
Otherwise, it is narcissism.
Monday, Nov 21, 2005