Trigger Warning: This page may contain information relating to someone's gender inequitable experiences including suicides. This may be triggering to readers with similar experiences.
This submission is part of the Expressions of Gender Equity art project - a 2021 International Women's Day initiative. We thank all artists who responded to our artistic briefs and are honoured to showcase their work.
In response to the art brief:
“As a wife, a professional and a woman, I find I’m often expected to be male, or at the very least, masculine, in professional endeavours, yet treated as a housewife in other parts of my life. It’s a complex yo-yo of society’s expectations upon me, but yet, when it’s all stripped back and I’m naked, it becomes hard to tell who I am supposed to be, and I truly feel that I am me.
In my professional life, I’m expected to be prepared (represented by the stethoscope) and serious; certainly not pretty or feminine. My career highlights are significant, yet sometimes my eyebrows don’t reflect the womanly, wifely expectations that Western society has cultured (reflected by Frida Kahlo’s mono brow). In my free time, I love painting, Scrabble and biking, yet this is scoffed and seen as a contrast to my professional life. And further to that, if I’m wearing a wedding ring, family expectations require me to be ironing and cooking, and again this contrasts to me as a breadwinner. I rebelled and kept my maiden name (shush). The steam distorts things, and that represents my indwelling confusion over who I’m supposed to be.
Overall, it’s overwhelming, confusing and muddled. To point out that I’m a Dr, not a Ms or Mrs seems almost anti-feminist, yet contradicts my personal views that I can be all of those things, just not all at once. I like to think that I am more than just my career; but sometimes my life feels like a complex tapestry, and there’s an ominous feeling that pulling just one string may see it all unravel.“
Stripped Back, 2021
Orange, NSW, Australia | Painting
About the Artist:
I am an amateur painter (at best), but also a daughter, a wife, a fitness enthusiast and a veterinarian. I grew up in a family and town with conservative Christian views. I work in an industry dominated by female staff, yet male decision makers. It’s also an industry where businesses can be crippling in their conservatism, or boldly supportive. The veterinary industry is struggling with dramatic changes in the demographic of its workforce as compared to 50years ago; with massive changes in gender balance, as well as changed family expectations. Changing attitudes, combined with changing workloads in the wake of COVID-19, resonate through the work force and are contributing to a state of tension and flux at present time.
Note from the Editor-in-Chief: Featured on the left is Gus, Georgia’s extremely photogenic cat.