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Archive for November 2009

After publishing the last post, I found some interesting quotes in relation to Jones’s sculptures –

“the exploitation of already exploitative material cannot be seen as politically neutral, whatever the artist’s intentions and the use of a particular kind of sexual imagery contributes to the ‘objectification’, even degradation of women” (Tickner, Block 1, p. 39)

To me, this seems to be suggesting that images that may be interpreted, or indeed misinterpreted, as objectifying women, even if this is not their intention, should not be used because in making statements against the objectification of women by using images that literally show objectification of women, it may be seen as contributing to the negative effects it is against. But how can you make a relevant statement against a subject that you aren’t allowed to portray for fear of contributing to it? By these standards, no one can use images of women being objectified, even though this practice is so entrenched in society, it’s normalised, everyone is used to it – society needs people like Allen Jones to create highlighted, accentuated images of this because at least they’ll be noticed and draw attention to the more subtle images of objectification that slip into the public consciousness unnoticed every day.

Women depicted as furniture and objects in this society: as pure pornography, which purpose is to titillate and arouse, I find this imagery far too revolting and even disturbing. It won’t arouse me, and if it does, it makes me ask what the hell is wrong with me? And for being called feminist works they are far too “slick” and “sexy” (meaning here the typical commercial media imagery — of fashion, ads and so on — intended to please a typical masculine eye), since there can be clearly found the fetishistic imagery criticized by Mulvey and Tickner.” – pHinnWeb

I think this quote really shows how people view this sort of work, as they can’t see it as feminist because it doesn’t conform to ‘mainstream’ feminism. Allen Jones’s work hits so hard because it conforms to the “slick”, “sexy” images common in commercial media, but subverts them. To have an impact, I think art must use these sort of images present in the media, but to use these styles and techniques to draw attention to the flaws in that sort of media – it would never have the same sort of effect if it didn’t possess and implement the knowledge of mainstream media that it does. The imagery in Jones’s piece is seen as “revolting” or “disturbing”, but surely this is the point – it needs to be revolting and disturbing to make its point. But then again, I don’t find them revolting or disturbing – I would find them revolting and disturbing if the artist was making the literal point that women are furniture, they deserve to be treated as objects, but obviously that isn’t their purpose. It’s like people don’t understand that art can use images that, on the surface, are just sexual imagery, to make a statement against sexual imagery – it’s like they want it spelled out to them, that if it’s for sexual imagery, use sexual imagery, if it’s against sexual imagery, they should really make it obvious and put a cross through the picture or something…. I think people have a really high sensitivity to imagery like this, even when that imagery is being implemented as a statement against a culture and media that sees women as objects, and that people separate their aesthetics from their meaning, and the meaning is ignored. I really don’t think that feminist work cannot conform to the “slick”, “sexy” imagery used by mainstream media – to be a relevant cultural commentary, I think it needs to. Who’s to say that imagery that implements the objectification of women can’t be feminist? It’s a really narrow view which should instead take into account the meaning and intention of the work, not just how it looks. With my own work, I would label it as feminist, perhaps because it’s the best-fitting term, but isn’t necessarily accurate because “feminism” can be interpreted as the genders being equal, but can also be interpreted as finding any imagery that objectifies women offensive, drifting over into pro-censorship, anti-pornography, etc. My work tends to use objectifying, sexualised images of women to convey its messages and themes because it’s more subversive to use images typically found in fashion or advertising – to use things that people are used to to give an alternative message – and so if people are to look at the aesthetics rather than the intentions, then my work would be seen as deeply misogynistic, but there’s more to it than that. People seem to ignore irony in art work – my work shows the sexualisation and objectification of women, but that doesn’t mean that it’s condoning or applauding that, generally it’s saying the complete opposite.
I also have a problem with the previous quote suggesting that there is something wrong with someone who finds the objectification of women arousing, or that images like Jones’s and those in the media “intend to please a typical masculine eye”. There’s no inherent problem in being aroused by the objectification of women if that is kept in fantasy, it only becomes a problem when people can’t separate fantasy and reality, and the views they receive from the media are the real views that they have on women in daily life. I’m willing to admit that I probably objectify women more than most men do, which is why I think that I have a somewhat unusual view on media, pornography and such like. Not only am I looking at women from the ‘female’ standpoint of comparing myself to them, objectifying them in order to assertain whether they’re more attractive than me, whether I want their body or their clothes, etc. but I am also looking at women from a ‘male’ perspective, in that I find women more attractive than men. I don’t think that there’s any problem in me objectifying or sexualising women, because I know I’m not going to act on it or treat women any differently to how I would any other person – it’s a fantasy. I know that even while I’m seeing them as objects, they do have personalities, thoughts, emotions, whatever some feminist theory seems to think that men can’t see in women if they objectify them. So in some ways I have rather conflicting, hypocritical views on the media, in that I disagree with the portrayal of women in mainstream media, but on some level I enjoy it – I think this is why my art has always focused on women, generally using highly sexualised media images, as they are images I like to look at, even if I don’t agree with the views they present. In some ways, it makes me unsure of why I find it so important to make commentary on this sort of media, as, if it was in my power, would I really get rid of it? Does the media really give people misogynistic views? This is also why I think pornography is such an important issue, as it’s so removed from mainstream media, and presents deeply unpopular views of women in such an exaggerated way that I think it can be seen as an outlet for sexual images of women, and I think people are much less likely to be influenced by it as it’s so discreditable, whereas people are constantly exposed to mainstream media, meaning that it becomes normalised, that it’s no longer seen as outlandish views of women as with pornography, that they become ‘true’.

image by Helmut Newton

I love this image, it’s so fantastically perverse, and it sparked off a lot of thoughts, with at least some of these thoughts on art, film, sociological theory… Anyway, in my opinion, it’s extremely sexualised, and makes comment on gender roles through the woman being an object or an animal. Looking closer at the image, I get the idea that the setting is middleclass, suburban – I imagine that the character is a repressed sort of housewife, probably mainly because of the floral patterns on the bed. I like the subversion, that a middleclass, conservative passtime such as horseriding is turned into something so sexual, that the uniform becomes fetishised, and that these clothes that would usually have an air of dominance become submissive and objectifying through the placement of a saddle on her back, turning her into something of a lower status than the voyeur.

‘Table’ and ‘Chair’ by Allen Jones

The Newton image reminded me of these sculptures from the 1970s by Allen Jones, as they’re somewhat aesthetically similar and both oppress women, restricting their movement, and seeing them as objects. Only in searching for the Jones images on the internet did I realise that some people do actually think that they’re misogynistic – I’d never considered that idea before now. I’ve always seen them as pieces that obviously reflect the objectification of women in that the woman doubles as a sex slave and a piece of furniture, which I’ve only ever interpreted as a clever comment on how women only have the duality of the roles of the sex object, on hand whenever you want them, or the housewife, a figure that blends into the background, becoming ‘part of the furniture’ so to speak, until you require them for their other role. If I’m honest, I find it quite bizarre that people take them literally, that they see them as applauding or encouraging the objectification of women, but then again, I suppose it’s a perfectly reasonable view – you can either take them literally, or as subversive, it’s just about how you read them. But, if they can be read either way, surely the sweeping statement that they promote gender inequality and misogyny can’t be made, because not everyone interprets them that way – should they be banned because some people see them that way and are offended by them? I find it interesting that the responses from women that I’ve read are that they’re offensive, creepy, etc. but that’s how they should come across, because the gender stereotyping it expresses is offensive, but it’s the presence of misogyny in society that women should be offended by, not a representation of it in art. I also liked that a common response to them is “well, where’s the male equivalent to this?”, but, to me, that’s the point – there is no male equivalent, because men aren’t viewed in this way by society. There’d be no point in making furniture of a man because it’s not topical or relevant, unless making the point that the media tries to show men in submissive roles to women only in a deeply patronising way. I think male furniture would be ‘offensive’, because it would really patronise and demean women through men only being objectified in fantasy, and women needing to see males treated in this way to give the sense that the genders are equal, honest.

“I was reflecting on and commenting on exactly the same situation that was the source of the feminist movement. It was unfortunate for me that I produced the perfect image for them to show how women were being objectified.” – Allen Jones

images by Jemima Stehli

At first, I wasn’t going to include these images as I saw them as just being a photographic representation of Jones’s sculptures, but then I read how some people were viewing them, and I feel compelled to discuss it. Like, on one website, someone discusses the image, saying that they found the image disturbing until being informed that it was an ironic reference to Allen Jones’s sculptures, but even then she still finds them degrading. Ok, so that’s her opinion, but I have absolutely no idea how someone gets to those conclusions. They even discuss the meanings of irony, that it is a view beneath the surface – surely knowing that these images are not condoning what they literally show, but instead making commentary on these views, means that the aesthetics are no longer offensive. It’s like being offended by the image means totally bypassing offense towards the thing it’s actually talking about, or the idea that art can’t use objectionable material for the means of subversion or to express the opposite view, because people don’t see past the surface, so even expressing a mainstream view is seen as unacceptable because of how it expresses it, or that the level of meaning past aesthetics isn’t considered so it must be expressing the literal view.

I love the photographs because of what I’ve read about them, just small details like that the artist found that Jones ‘cheated’ through shortening the arms and legs of the mannequin to make the spine flat for the tabletop to rest on, or that shops would not sell the artist glass for fear that she’d slice herself in half in some sort of accident, so she had to use perspex. I love the images, but I don’t see how they express any irony – to me, they just take the original idea further and reinterpret it in a more modern way, using a literal female body as furniture rather than a representation of that body. The only way I can really interpret the fact that some people see Allen Jones’s pieces as misogynist and against feminism – there were even protests in the 70s apparently, where feminists yelled that the pieces were “demeaning to women” – while Stehli’s images are based on the same stimulus, but somehow subvert Jones’s work, making it feminist, is that people missed the subversion in Jones’s pieces in the first place, or that if a man does something, it’s misogynist, but if a woman does the same thing then it’s feminist. Well done, feminism. Can’t we give those feminists a different name to distinguish them from everyone else? This is why feminism is stupid – you can’t give one name to what such a vast, diverse group of people believe, because they’re all going to believe different things. Didn’t feminism realise that women are individuals and can think for themselves?

I’m really unsure of how relevant any of these ideas are to what I’m doing, particularly as I’m finding it so hard to come up with anything visual based on these ideas, but I want to document all of my thought processes and links between thoughts.

So, from looking at the 1995 Vogue featuring the photos of Helmut Newton, I looked more at Newton’s work, and this solidified the link between fashion and pornography for me.

images by Helmut Newton

These views are entirely subjective, but I want to express some ideas in regard to these images, even though I’m sure other people will have conflicting views. For example, I think that maybe the top image is seen as more dominating and aggressive than the bottom image, because our schemas say that male/female aggression is detrimental to the woman, even if it isn’t real, because the woman is so much weaker than the man, both physically and emotionally. Contrasting with this, I think maybe the bottom image is seen as less violent because both of the models are women, and so there’s more inherent equality – they may be playing roles of dominant/submissive, but these roles are acting, not reality as with male/female relationships. I think that maybe the image would be seen differently if it was pornography aimed at male viewers, because then the women acting in this way is seen as both of them being submissive to the male viewer – that they’re doing it for the male voyeur. This is something I’ve considered in pornography, as lesbian pornography aimed at men seems to have this effect seeing as the dominant partner may as well be a man – they act like a stereotypical male pornstar, it’s just better for aesthetics for them to be female. I find it interesting that the fear of pornography is based around male viewers harming women, but this ignores any gay or lesbian pornography, which I think bases legislation on gender roles and stereotyping. Gay men won’t be victims of violence because they’re men, they can protect themselves. Lesbian women watching violent pornography (if this ever happens – they are women, afterall) won’t commit a crime because they’re women, and therefore not violent. Maybe there really is the view that it’s only straight men that watch violent pornography.

Another highly subjective account now (which again contains sordid little details about my kinks, so if you enjoy seeing me as asexual, stop reading), but I feel it links to this, and maybe it’ll be useful for me to work out my feelings on gender roles and such like – or maybe it’ll be totally conflicting, we’ll see once it’s written. So, in the past, I’ve engaged in roleplay of my partner dressing up like a woman, and ‘acting like a woman’. I put that in those quotes that convey irony or sarcasm, because roleplay like this can only work on stereotyping – there’s no particular way a woman acts, obviously. Thinking about it, it’s a bit strange really because I don’t tend to define people by their gender, so I don’t see how anyone acts as them acting as though they’re male or female, which is maybe why I need highlighted, accentuated, stereotyped acting to get this across. But anyway, to me, it conveyed a lot more equality – it was a totally different experience that shifted roles of dominance or submission, as I was able to be sincerely dominant without that role being given to me through the permission of my partner. Personally, I dont feel it’s possible to have an equal relationship in heterosexuality – that’s not to say that people aren’t equal in everyday life, but in sexual fantasy I dont think it tends to work like this. Maybe because both me and my partner are rather domineering individuals these power struggles are very pronounced, and so I find it interesting to look at unequal relationships and the switches in roles. I like the idea of looking at fantasised violence through power-games, dominance, submission, and fights between partners to take on these roles. Some times I wonder if I could give a view onto these times in my relationship, whether they would be interpreted as offensive, or indeed genuinely ‘violent’, because I suppose they are genuine, they are real, but at the same time they’re fantasy. It does implement violence, but it’s all in the realms of what’s acceptable for us, and it’s casual, friendly – like in vying for dominance there is often hitting, scratching, shouting, until one of us submits and agrees to take on the other role… We were discussing the other day, whether I’d be shocked or offended if he called me a ‘bitch’ or ‘cunt’, and it wasn’t set up as something within the boundaries of what we do. I realise my relationship may sound rather strange now – who would be seen as the violent partner, who would be the victim, could it ever be balanced in the middle? Using the example of calling me a ‘bitch’ or ‘cunt’, I think that that’s something many people see as unacceptable – I know if my parents knew this, they’d be horrified. I think the very idea of it paints my partner as some sort of abuser because people can’t understand a context in which this is ok – there’s the general view that if I see it as ok, then it’s that I’m wrong and need to have more respect for myself or something. Feminism at it’s best – you can have an opinion, but it must be one that empowers you in a conventional way.

In looking at the work of Melanie Pullen, I then went on to look at violent imagery in the rest of fashion, and found a number of images that I thought were rather unorthodox.

Firstly I found the phenomena of “Kegadoru”, apparently literally translated to “Injured dolls”, although I like the term “Broken Dolls” that is commonly substituted for this, as it gets rid of the human aspect of ‘injury’, favouring the term ‘broken’ which implies an object, which I think is a fair term  for women in the media, whether that’s fashion or pornography (and is that necessarily a bad thing?) Kegadoru is something that is based both in pornography, but also in more mainstream media like anime/manga, and has now crossed over into fashion, with Kegadoru items being sold in London. There’s also a lot of debate over whether this sort of ‘fetish’ is misogynistic, as the women present themselves as weak, vulnerable, in need of assistance. To me, it’s just interesting that this sort of thing is sexualised, that clearly there is a desire to see women injured, but if it was real, I don’t think there would be any desire to see it. As I understand it, it’s the fantasy of it – it’s having a beautiful women with parts of her body covered in bandages, which would surely add to the taboo and excitement of seeing her naked, which is maybe a common element of fashion? It also links to censorship, that forbidding some things from being seen fetishises these things.

images by Helmut Newton, Vogue, “The Empowered Woman”, 1995

I found these images very interesting in that they were included in mainstream fashion, particularly as they were under the title of “The Empowered Woman”. I’m unsure of how they’re meant to be interpreted, but to me it seems ironic, that the woman can only really be seen as empowered because of how she looks – it even goes so far as the woman being physically helped by 2 men in one of the photographs. Equally, I don’t know if they’re effective because of creating something that the audience subconsciously wants to see, or whether it’s that they’re something that offends base sensibilities – or even both. Women are generally shown as less capable than men in the media – I suppose this is just a highlighted, extreme example, if we’re to take the legbrace or crutches as symbolism of being constrained.I think it also confuses the audience by showing a model that conforms  to mainstream values of how women should look, but also disobeys these conventions – perhaps it’s that the model conforms to some criteria, and this makes their disobedience more grotesque. I suppose these images sum up some of my views on fashion quite well, and I’d like to explore these views of perfection, and destroying this perfection by subverting it, making perfection horrifying, grotesque, through mixing it with violence, death, etc.

“Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga

From looking at the Newton images, I got linked to the Lady Gaga music video, which I found interesting as it uses injured, dying and dead women. The cuts to these images of dead women are glamorous, colourful, unreal, probably in such a way that they could be sexualised, yet this is permitted to be in mainstream media, yet if it was specifically for sexual arousal it probably would not be allowed. If presentations like this don’t promote violence towards women, why is it seen that alternative media like pornography do?

Whenever I’m exposed to things like this in current media, I wonder whether I’ve picked up on a theme that is currently relevant, and how this has happened. I don’t have a television, I don’t read newspapers, I don’t listen to the radio, I’m not really very up-to-date with pop culture even through my constant internet use, so have to wonder whether I’m somehow picking up subconsciously on the themes that are present in the media, or that these issues are currently more prevalent in the media, or whether I just notice those themes more because I’m interested in them.

I started getting more of an interest in fashion again, thinking about whether industries like fashion can be seen as being detrimental to women through objectifying them. In my opinion, more mainstream media like fashion, television, etc. gives more concentrated stereotyping of women than the more demonified medias such as pornography, particularly as it reaches more people, more frequently – in fact, there’s a pretty much constant exposure to media images of women, on television, in magazines, on the internet, in everyday advertising. These images are just as much generalisations and unreal presentations of women as pornography is, so why aren’t they seen as dangerous to women, but instead are accepted, normal – mainstream views form around this sort of media, so it becomes entrenched in the public consciousness.

Is it that media images are backed by powers that can’t be discredited, while pornography is a media that has many powerful institutions against it – most notably governments and religious groups – ? I’m never quite sure what exactly my problem is with fashion, advertising, television, etc… I tend to expose myself to this sort of media because the stereotyping and vaccuousness makes me so angry, but, when I think about it, I’m not sure whether I’d seek to change it, because it’s a relevant part of culture, but then, if going by the principle that pornography is dangerous to women because it presents objectification of and violence towards women, this sort of media would surely be as detrimental to women.

image by Melanie Pullen

So, given a different context, these images would almost certainly be seen as extreme pornography, but are instead exhibited as art because they have been classified as fashion photography. While the photographs are fantasy, they are based on vintage crime scene photographs, recreating those scenes dressing the models in haute couture clothing. I think I probably misunderstand fashion photography in the sense that I see it as a form of advertising, a way to document and present clothing, while most of the fashion photography I’ve seen doesn’t accurately show the clothing at all, so all I can assume is that the images focus on the model to present the clothing as desirable. I’d say that a lot of advertising works in the way of making the viewer believe that they want a product because of the people used in the advertising, and a lot of that is done through the use of attractive women – you either want to be the woman, or you want to fuck the woman, or both. Going with this idea, I find it somewhat confusing that injured or dead women are used in advertising or for aesthetics, but then maybe that proves that there’s some part of the human psyche that desires to see women in this state, but not necessarily in reality. More that people have a desire to see this aesthetically – for example, why dead or dying women have been used in art and literature throughout history, romanticising female death – but in fantasy, far removed from reality.

image by Melanie Pullen

In my opinion, these images of fashion photography, through looking so glossy, aesthetically pleasing, removed from reality, become glamorised, even beautiful, despite what they are showing. If we’re going to be scared of pornography showing fake dead or dying women, then surely widespread media that isn’t controlled by censorship laws and is ‘above’ low culture is much more worrying. For example, Melanie Pullen’s photographs are not only exhibited as art, used in advertising very prominent designers, but also have been turned into advertising and fashion in themselves – they’re printed onto t-shirts that apparently sell for $125 each. I find it hard to try to go along with the ideas used by pro-censorship campaigns, but if I try to, then it seems like images like this would be far more damaging than the images in splatter films or violent pornography, because, seeing as they appear under the heading of fashion, or are potentially worn on t-shirts by the general public, you can be exposed to these images unsolicited.

image by Melanie Pullen

Photos like this, putting dead women into everyday environments or situations, would maybe be interpreted as misogynistic, encouraging real-world violence against women because the scene and situation can be seen as attractive….? But then, I’d say that arguments like that ignore fantasy/reality. Also, the people who try to push censorship on images like this ignore that they weren’t intended as an incitement of violence to women, while also ignoring that there are other things that impact women much more negatively, particularly in that through scapegoating violent media like pornography as causing violence towards women, we don’t try to look any further to find other causes of gender inequality, and disregard the subtle mistreatments of women in every day life – for example, casual gender roles, women earning less, the treatment of women in rape trials, or just generally how women are portrayed by mainstream media.

image by Melanie Pullen (I’ve just noticed a striking difference in these images, with Pullen’s image being much darker, more voyeuristic, as though finding a discarded body in the wilderness, and the clothes on the model sexualises her… I like this image a lot more now that I’ve noticed these things, as I think striking clothing like this sexualises and objectifies the female body more than if the model was naked, because appearance and attractiveness is so based on clothing. The image very much reminds me of the sort of works of the past that idealise female death, leaving the body as a static, perfect object – for example, Snow White.)

image from AVgirls.info

I just wanted to draw a, hopefully quick, comparison between these images. Aesthetically very similar, but which is more ‘pornographic’? The top one is art, but surely should be considered more pornographic as pornography has become synonymous with violence towards women, whereas the latter is not fine art photography, so perhaps would be seen as more pornographic in that it objectifies a woman, and the website it comes from is probably more linked to pornography than the work of an artist. But then, maybe now that extreme pornography showing dead or dying women is outlawed, the work of artists such as Melanie Pullen will become more frequently used as pornography as there are fewer options – seeing as it’s being used in the same way as illegal pornography, does that mean that it should be legislated against because, in people using it for sexual arousal, they may then choose to act out the fantasies depicted in the art? Getting rid of certain material gets rid of the symptom but not the cause, but what is the cause of fetishes like this, and why would it need to be destroyed anyway?

(Edit: I’ve just realised that with Pullen’s images, I hadn’t actually considered why the women are dead, in the literal sense of cause of death. Because they’re attractive women in nice clothes, there’s the assumption that there’s something sexual about their death, which shows the entrenchment of the sexualisation of women in society, and that their death was caused by a man, their death was somehow because of their attractive feminity – much like how the critics of splatter films assume that the films sexualise violence to women because it is feminine death, although I’d argue that this isn’t misogynistic, just a view onto current media. There’s no actual link here, there’s nothing that suggests the deaths were caused by men, or were sexual – it’s only the mind that creates this, suggesting that there is both a fear of this, and a desire for it. These are the sort of images that people can project these fears and/or desires onto without even realising it, by constructing a story, even if that story will be heavily influenced by stereotyping, media images and schemas.)

I always lament how cameras are considered unacceptable in theatres… I would have loved to take photos of this performance – it was visually stunning. Instead I had to content myself with sketching the still scene at the beginning, although I’m obviously not content with it because when I see something I love I want to capture every detail of it, and I feel that I’ve turned this image into a cliche.

Anyway, this was a performance of Her Yellow Wallpaper by ShadyJane theatre company (although unfortunately I haven’t seen the most recent version), which is another of the pieces that has heavily influenced my thinking. It had the sort of themes and representations that I’d want to translate into visual art, but I don’t think it could ever be as powerful as its original form… I loved the sameness and synchronicity of all the characters, how disturbing all the sound and movement becomes, and the actual speech is incredible. To me, it’s a rare thing – good feminist theatre. It subverts the ideal housewife, with the characters eerily sipping from teacups, synchronising their movements, repeating fragmented speech – 4 of the 5 characters appear vaccuous, obsessive, a force exerting pressure on free-thinking, at times moving the remaining woman as though she is a doll, leaving it ambiguous as to whether they are intending to help or are another entity suppressing the autonomy of the main character, who has been forbidden from writing, maybe even thinking, because she has been deemed ill. Some lines are so poignant, I really wish I had written them down, describing the situation with such wit and irony, and the music repeated throughout the piece was perfect. I’m not viewing this with much insight, but I find it hard to remember theatre, which is why, if I could, I would experience it over and over again. But basically, I wish I could learn from the subversion and irony demonstrated in this piece… It some times makes me wish that I’d gone into performance art because I think it gets it’s point across so much better than visual art on most occasions.

Above is a collage,  an almost ‘scrap book’-like image that I created after seeing a performance of Romeo & Juliet. It was a generally profound experience for me – it was my first week in the city I now live in, the first time I stole education from the other university in said city in which I am not enrolled, and the first straight play I’d ever seen. I’ve just realised the hideous pun that I’ve unintentionally thrown into that sentence, because, ironically enough, the performance I went to see used an all-male cast…. Other audience members didn’t seem to appreciate it, so it was as much a study into sociology as it was into theatre – the reviews I heard from others after the performance seemed to be fixated on the fact that all the characters were male, and some even went so far as to say that they found the piece comical. I suppose I should give a bit of context – the play is a play within a play… 4 boys from a public boarding school break into a library at night, and end up reading Romeo & Juliet – they undergo huge character development, transforming from being self-conscious, immature schoolboys to embodying their Shakespearean characters with conviction. The 2 plays overlap and mirror each other, with the religious, authoritarian, homophobic overtones of boarding school mimicking the overbearing families of Romeo & Juliet; for example in the wedding scene, the boys playing Romeo and Juliet are about to kiss, but are violently pulled apart by the other characters. I loved that the piece had so many layers, and seemed to make commentary on how some of the boys couldn’t fully cross over into the play, that they were still governed by convention, social norms and values, and that their reactions to any difference or disobedience to this was met with violence – at various points, Juliet is stripped, and I think even strangled. Presenting Romeo & Juliet as a play within a play really made this adaptation out of the ordinary, going further than necessary, pushing the boundaries to make the audience think. Unfortunately, from what I heard, the audience didn’t think – the general reception was that it didn’t make sense that the cast were all male, that Romeo and Juliet being separated was funny, or even that the piece didn’t make sense, because how could the characters be performing the play without the book that was initially used as a prop, because they didn’t know the play….. Life is brilliant if you can suspend your disbelief.



  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se