VIC Australia

The weight of gender expectations

The significance and difficulty of individuality is a major theme in our age.

As an Afrikaans girl growing up in a specific time (70s and 80s) and in a small town, among the conservative, religious patriarchy, I often felt uncomfortable in my skin. The definition of what a woman should look like and what her talents should be, how she should act and what choices she had were very clearly laid out within that micro-culture – specific to time as well as ethnic and geographical norms.

Any act away from those norms was considered an act of subversion, rebellion, even godlessness. It meant that the rebel needed to be even more controlled, so they didn’t ‘ruin their life’. Making sure the girl understood her place was done with real concern and beneficence.

Instead, maybe we could look at every life as an experiment:
holding on to the parts of our culture that nourish is a careful act of reconsideration: deciding what to dismantle and what to keep is not a zero/one binary decision, it’s multi-layered. Knowing why you accept or reject parts of your gender culture or gender identity is precious knowledge and a worthwhile exploration.







Photopolymer Etching - Charbonnel ink on Stonehenge paper. Chine collè on Gampi silk.

Paper Size:

65 x 50 cm