Reflection 24 x 36 Oils on Canvas by Jennie Rosenbaum
I read Hazel Dooney’s blog somewhat religiously, it’s inspiring to read the thoughts of such a successful young female artist – especially one I have quite a bit in common with. She recently wrote a fascinating post about victimization amongst female artists which really touched a chord in me.
At different times in my life, I have been a victim. I’m not talking about when I was young, when I didn’t have much control over my life. I’m talking about when I was older, when I realised I was allowing myself too often to be cast as one.
At first, I just didn’t know how not to be. I was naive so I was sometimes exploited. I didn’t always have guidance when I needed it most. When I was in my early teens, I was groomed by predatory, older males, including one of my school teachers. By the time I was in my early twenties, it was a habit formed not just by experience and a lack of knowledge and self-awareness but also an insidious, almost Pavlovian process of response and reward. That is to say, I was rewarded for being a victim.
Stand Up, Artist
I have been frequently cast as a victim. sometimes I’ve let others do it, but I think the worst is when I cast myself in the role. being a victim is easy- a surrender, a way of giving up. and lately I’ve been pretty close to doing that. it’s a way to step back and not take ownership for your life, your mistakes or your problems. it’s a way to not deal – like hiding under the covers. and sometimes I want to do that so much! but apathy is just a slow death, one filled with regrets. Other times I’ve let other people lead me, accepting their word and their realities rather than my own. taking their validation as gospel and letting them make the tough choices or to take the actions. and when they thought of me as their victim, I became their victim and allowed them the keys to hurt me.
some wierdo posted a long rambly comment at the end of Hazel’s post – Probably could have written more too, but I realized when I saw the final length that I really should have put it here instead.
I think it’s very easy to surrender to being a victim. it’s harder to rise above it all and gain strength from it. sometimes it seems that the best thing in the world to do would be to just give in, to play upon the nature of our sex and to allow others to take charge over us. we do it by seeking approval, letting our choices and our voices be lost. it’s something that I have to remain vigilant against – it’s just too easy to let go.
I think it’s especially easy for artists, we put our lives out there, our traumas and our deepest secrets and it’s so easy to want to use that. after all, it’s a great way to work through issues but it can segue into putting those issues out there for the highest bidder and gaining validation that way – rather than through the accomplishment of the work itself.
some people say that I’m a control freak – and I’m sure they say that to you as well, but there is nothing wrong with owning your own life, your decisions and your actions – and even your pains and traumas and issues. I wish I could remember that all the time, it’s something I need to work on.
And I stand by that still – I do need to work on it. and I will.