18 Mar 2013

Blog Sixteen – The Power of Women in History

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Dear friends,

Well what a lovely day I had yesterday, despite the rain. I exhibited my art at an event in London which celebrated women activists in history. It was so inspiring to listen to the different presentations about women who have done courageous things, put their neck on the line and fought for their/our cause.

The first fabulous speaker, Naomi Paxton, talked about the Suffragettes and the milestone exhibition in 1909 run by the women’s social and political union in London. They sold unique handmade creations but more importantly used Art and performance to illustrate how women were treated in society. Then the delightful singer Rebecca Morden, artistic director of Scary Little Girls, performed a variety of songs from women through the ages who used lyrics and music as their way of communicating powerful personal messages. The songs were like poems which voiced the opinions of women through ‘humour and satire to flout the norms of their day’. The third wonderful speaker, Keanu Smurthwaite, talked about how women through history disguised themselves as men so they could live a more meaningful, interesting and respected life! Sadly, if you were a man, you could have a life! ‘Some did so to access jobs only available to men, some to escape danger and poverty, some for love or for money, some to legitimise their lesbian relationships or to express what by modern standards we would consider their trans status’.

The event ended with an historical film shot at the women’s peace camps at Greenham Common. I was particularly moved by this film because it showed the dedication of women united in their belief for a more harmonious world (in this case not to base cruise missiles at the RAF base). They lived in dreadful conditions and although it was their choice, they courageously challenged the system in a peaceful way. The songs they sang or rather chanted throughout their ordeals had a haunting quality and once again showed the power of the arts – in this case music, song, lyrics with a message (amongst other things) – to get their point across, boost morale and create solidarity.

This event shed light on the magnitude, dedication, passion and guts that women have possessed throughout history and still do today as they campaign for women being acknowledged in society.

Although women in history have battled for equality, I now feel that pregnancy and birth, once again, needs to be valued as a woman’s powerful rite of passage and not undermined by the medicalisation of this natural event that was once supported and revered.

This week, I invite you to think about what makes your heart sing. What burning message would you like to convey in song, poem, story, performance, or art image? Have fun exploring your inner wild woman self and dare to be even more authentic and bold. You are a powerful woman!

Enjoy! And have a wild week!

Warm wishes,
Alex xx


Photograph by
Alex Florschutz

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