As there is a clear trend to photograph one’s body wearing very little, the rising outrage is against the nude in art, but not in social media that much, where soft porn is a normalcy and a way to sell oneself. Is everyday soft porn prostitution?

What is appropriate art, what should art be like and who is to decide? Who is the critic and what is the quality of criticism are to be questioned, as when all opinions must be voiced and are, who are listened to and what is said? The nipple (that must be freed?), breasts (nowadays breast are very commonly out, except the nipple), vaginas, asses (that are out as well), penises, fat are common in fine art to see, but they do cause moral outrage especially in fine art, probably even more when photographed and when the artist does it herself of herself questioning the sexism in the arts especially. Museums and galleries are becoming more family friendly places to visit to lure visitors and in the process art shown must be family friendly too? What family friendliness in this context means, censoring, teaching and moralising? What does art teach, what is the visitor to learn from art or about art? What kind of place does pedagogy have in art and showing art and should it as for example Guggenheim proposed to be the case in Finland 2016, when it was selling its franchise product for us, to have pedagogical spaces for kids in a commercial museum? How pedagogical can a commercial museum be and what kind of pedagogy does the art world provide? Does the art world learn here or does it take the place of a supreme teacher? Pedagogy provided in cynicism, marketing, painting, becoming famous or what is beauty?

What does family friendliness mean in today’s world, in the art world, in art, in marketing and why be family friendly other than making a buck, just be ever so nice and listen to Jingle Bells? Does it mean more gift shops, snacks and pop-ups, fast-food, fast art, naivety, shopping, blocking unwanted influences and opinions and spending time kind of existing and creating of a place of culture, where one can become cultured, more commercial places for consumerism, where we can also sell ourselves? More is beautiful and more lucrative and more popular is good? Is there a trend to make art family friendly to consume as much as possible photographing oneself and be seen in and what is that art like there? Glittering, shining and ultra-positive? What does it mean to make art family friendly for art as a whole, for places of art and for the artist? Thinking, what is friendliness in this context? Artist should manipulate her art to not disturb and not create awkwardness as women should manipulate themselves to please the eye? Weird is scary and horror is not art? Is the artist family friendly as a profession? Hearing that there should be warning labels for fine art on websites and in places of art for not to scare children/adults and not cause trauma, offence, uncomfortable feelings is for me as an artist a flag and creates a pressure for need to appeal and gratify. I don’t make art to please, for pure enjoyment and entertainment. I do not include likings in what I do. It is as a thought against art to aim to please and collect like stamps. Wanting to create places of art as places of visual candy stores surely works as people like glitter and images of fantasy. If you want to be bored by art and not be provoked a thought, it is your choice, but don’t claim all art must be eye candy.

Question is what does a visitor want from places of art and is it important to pay attention to and to what extent? What is the visitor for the art establishment other than a consumer and what is art for the art establishment and for the visitor? People wish to be entertained, be surprised, be in the presence of greatness, fame, names, skill, be in awe, but all this in the good sense of leaving the place in some kind of having seen is something what tourists do. To be in wonderment of it all is what I hope. Do people want to be safe in places of art, safe from the visual that may attack them in some way? What is a visual attack in real life? Is that a threat as such and in what way? Pictures do hunt us and stay in our minds, what do they do and how do images impact our thinking and feelings is something we must be afraid of and alert?
There is a division there between places of art and the normal place of living and looking where art may be placed or not, usually not. We can avoid art totally, but should we? We may live without seeing and being in touch of art, which is part of the problem of why art exists more commercial and must be made in different ways and why art is seen as weird and hostile. Is art hostile and how, if so? And what is the hostile part? What is artist’s job in today’s world? Where is art?

LET’S Go BACK TO FLASHDANCE: THERE IS MORE TO THE MOVIE THAN THE PLOT. IT IS MORE CLEVER THAN YOU GIVE IT CREDIT FOR.

It is a fairytale kind of spectacle or anti-spectacle in a spectacle, if that is a thing. Anti-spectacle in the sense of changing of the perspective towards gender, class, work and art, romantic is the spectacle, a pattern we expect. The spectacle we are used to seeing and thinking in terms of movies and in general how class, work, gender and art function and are, are thought to represent and be like. The American dream in this case where a beautiful young woman reaches out for her dream, a place in the sun and ends up getting more or ‘all’, a romantic relationship with a Man with a Porsche, who is also the owner of the factory where Alexandra, the woman in question, works at as a welder. One big plus of the movie is it does not highlight the work Alexandra does, welding is just work with men as co-workers, it makes the movie hugely more interesting though, and her the one who lives outside the box and is allowed to do so. She is not harassed by her co-workers, her abilities are not questioned. It is truly a beautiful setting, which her choice of work, most definitely would be seen weird still today.

To explore deeper into what the movie is all about is worth our while as it has been deeply overlooked as many romantic movies that are meant for women usually are. To pay attention to details, characters, camera shots, what is being looked at and told via tensions between women and men and why those tensions exist. What happens between the sexes, between women especially, what are sexes both expected to do, look and be like. Movie is a language as is dance as is sex, sexuality, clothing and gender. You have to focus on to read it all and actually think what are we looking at, what happens there and why all the time. It is not just an entertaining show where you can relax and forget what is going on, this is told via contrasts between sleazy bars, working men and art, how women are treated in different settings and how these settings differ, how women want to be treated and what do they desire of their lives to be. Movie is never just a movie that is meant to entertain, not even those that are made for that purpose, nor is music or the dance acts that seem to be out of place. Point is easily missed when the romantic is what stays interesting and in the focus.

In a bar where ambitious fit and talented dancers show their art, act for paying customers who are watching and are a bit amazed by the unexpected shows. Contrast is also to the other bar where dancing is not the primary interest of anyone, only nude female bodies, that move in a certain way. Women are dancing for money but in a show-your-ass-kind of way, but they still want to be discovered and dream of making it. What are people watching and why, who gets attention? Watching happens for instant gratification, simplicity of getting pleasure cheap and for fun. A bar is a world of something else than the workplace and not a place of thought, burdening oneself. Customers of the bar are not the assumed ordinary art lovers, but that is the point. Why should people be provoked to think more than is necessary, why not give them what they want? To whom is art for and why is it a class issue? What is art and where is art, who is capable of art and why it is a special occasion in a special place? High and low seem to be repulsed by each other, classes stay separated  like oil and water. The dance acts, art and artists, are really in the right place. Intention of the movie is not to depict a straightforward story in a manner of this is what happens: this is what we dream of happening to us. It is not a children’s story and it is not pink. It seems light, but is heavier when one starts exploring. That are the expectations and frame women are supposed to fit in, want, act upon and are shown in the movie, that those who dare, can change the game. There is social critique hidden there to be found.

To say Flashdance is a feminist movie is not quite what a true movie lover might expect. What do you think about the turn, that a seemingly light Hollywood movie is feminist in a very kick-ass way and about the structural difficult issue of choosing how to get ahead in life, on one’s own terms and talent, and not sleeping with the boss or buddy who has connections. What do you think about when after having seen and evaluated for example the scene where Alexandra goes and finds her friend who has gone to work as a stripper, moving herself in conventional stripper manner, she is grabbed off the stage by Alexandra and escorted out. In the scene Alexandra’s clothing and standing position compared to her friend tell a lot when friend the stripper ends up in a puddle on street wearing only panties and high heels and is cold. Money, she earned gets wet in the rain on the pavement. Alexandra’s loose pants and sneakers when she stands firmly behind the naked woman who has fallen down and sold her body for money to please men may seem easy and naive, but it is something very basic, a woman on the ground beaten down feeling there is no other opportunity for her.

After having read couple of critiques about the movie and clearly many have missed the point: When one is an art critic it is essential to see behind the expected, the image and be free of bias. What is the seen image telling us, what happens without words, what is the setting and who are the characters, what do they do. Do you need more clues, because explaining has to be done also in a very basic manner, obviously also for critics. When you are an art critic, don’t fall for the simple clichés. Such poor analysis destroys a lot, as does arrogance, assumptions and cynicism. Minimizing culture that is aimed at and is about women and girls is a normal practice. It is a learned reaction which comes without thinking. A black woman eating a banana in a scene where women talk about relationships, well sounds as cliché as anything, but it happens in couple of seconds, and is easily missed, but telling. To make it as you with your raw capabilities, without handouts and favours..

Flashdance, is a feminist movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashdance in which woman does work as a welder and pursues her dream to become a professional dancer, also in which women help each other, face sexual harassment and deal with it by acting out, consequences lurking there and threat of violence is almost a certainty. To oppose men means you have to be one and be prepared. Movie portrays different kinds of female roles, a gallery of different kinds of women. The expectations of what women should be like, playing with stereotypes with which women struggle and hold on to as coping mechanisms. They may be afraid to go against the machine or don’t know how to or should they, and those who do not fit in the accepted roles especially, seem to be out of sync or do what they need to do despite whatever. Interesting are the different kinds of female characters there, how there are systematic learned rules of behaviour that stick, codes for genders and how these codes are taken for granted. How women portrayed are in their places and obviously struggle and lack power. They try to move on up as do men, they have dreams. Men try to move inside women’s panties and sex is clearly a very basic tool of control and making it. It is the first thought, easy way out, a getaway car and motive. World of art is a dusty stagnant relic too, which needs heavy dusting. Alex, the leading women, is afraid to enter this monument of perfected trained fragile-looking fairy-like ballerinas and primadonnas. She want’s to make it on her own with her own credentials with her talent and does not need a man to do that for her.

Real life is stranger than fiction says this welder.

 

I have a friend who has a simple test for a movie: Is this movie as interesting as the same things would be, happening in real life? A lot of movies aren’t, and “Flashdance” sure isn’t. If this movie had spent just a little more effort getting to know the heroine of its story, and a little less time trying to rip off “Saturday Night Fever,” it might have been a much better film.”

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/flashdance-1983

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085549/reviews

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/09/entertainment/la-et-cm-flashdance-musical-review-segerstrom-20130509

Reviews and critiques strongly reflect the persona of the critic who is writing. For some reason in this case feminist perspective does not shine through. Wonder why.

Case of Britney Spears is an excellent example of female oppression. It is obsession for hyper-sexual child-women who seemingly do not decide for themselves what is their image but they talk of control.

Interest in how women are seen sellable objects is a curious one. First how much are we things to possess, material to be moulded and what is the purpose? How women are merchandise and for what reason? Is slave 4 u the answer? Merchandised as ever so often women themselves allow this to happen. They make the initiative and show the will to be that object. It is a wanted she-goddess, divine. To be a sex object is seen sexy as such, a deed, a statement to be had in any form possible, as long as there is picture of her it sells. Are women in control as many pop stars claim to be, active but playing passive? Have control you can have over your weight, a discipline, a routine, a way of life. How voluntary and aware of abuse of sexuality should we be and think actively about changing the repetition of gendered clichés? They seem to be effective in making millions. Isn’t it weakness to be unable to do otherwise, unable to have any other message with the whole of one’s being that one is supposed to control? It can be a powerful calculated strategy to use this tradition of stars and ultimately be able to do as one pleases in the end. To be super-rich and look beautiful in photos is one dream for many people regardless of gender. It is an idea of manipulating a mass of people by creating an idol. Are ways to get there different for men and women, more limited for women what comes to creating personal career path in entertainment?

Britney does sing about the culture of oppression around her, involving her, sheer tormenting of her by paparazzi portrayed in her song Piece of me. Is it oppression in the true sense of the word one might wonder. Imprisonment policed by what is said is nothing new. Will she be abandoned when she rebels? She is ridiculed which works well for the press. Shaming works for the tabloids, continuation of oppressive ways women are kept in their place as what is news concerning women’s lives, what kinds of things make headlines concerning women and how they choose to live their lives. Role of a nice girl she is not permitted to change and be more serious. Girliness is not serious shit? To develop further as an artist means to experiment with what one is expected to do and be and what could be escaped from to something unknown. Role that does not evolve beyond boundaries there are is very much the one for women, safety and known areas are given from early on. Outside are dangers which boys go after and test more freely. What are the dangers inside could not be more clear. Yes one can go crazy. Division to safety and to danger is artificial, essential things remain unnoticed.

Repetitious ways to act out are the ones we must speak out about, oppose. To live by what is known and acceptable stand the one barrier to climb over, to not just play the part given is basic rebellion for the young. That is the hard way to figure out what to do, how to find a way out. Ways for Britney to rebel have been to get fat, look ‘ugly’ not smiling to the camera, hit paparazzi with an umbrella, scream, quit the nice girl all-pleasing act which does not take much of effort to break. For women it is a glasshouse where any misconduct shows and is scrutinized. I wonder as she does not analyze it herself to the core the problematic nature of the business towards women in particular and her in it escaping photographers but she gives us clues to feel for her still as it is clear to feel for her is not the deal. She wants to be treated like a human being while working in the business that is not empathetic of failure and weakness, looking other than pitch perfect is not an option. Punk allows women to be ugly and behave as they see fit. It would have been interesting to see Britney change genre.

Song Piece of me which is a much needed critical point of view on her life as celebrity. The song is a picture of a person living hunted which she has felt is against her human rights, rightly so. Celebrities may seem kind of super humans who should be pleased for every publicity they get. That is what they are there for. They are livelihood for many not only for themselves. As they have what many want, they themselves should give all of themselves. Where goes the limit and what stands as interesting journalism, valuable for society? Social media has given us the option of revealing all and we are watching what happens next. It is a whirlwind. That makes a mess itself, a movement of what we see social today. Superstars pose interest to the public in their wealth, position as constantly looked at beings. Question often is why are we interested? What is it we pay attention to and why criticism does not change as much as it is legal to practice this business of vulture?

There could not be more perfect example of contemporary female oppression than Britney in the sense that violence against her is totally accepted by the media and public. It is not seen as violence or oppression, or if it is, it is not important as she is just a pop singer, doing something light-headed and stupid. How could something light be hurtful? She is very privileged and lucky to be where she is which for many equals happiness and perfection and justification. In this picture women are still sold as body parts, shrunken dolls who say what they are let to say, to play the part which is thought to be sexy, desirable and alluring as much as repetition can be. Look the look and get slapped either way. This role of perfection is not what women should want, but they must want it. Does it sound tricky and contradictory? When women go and break the role-play like feminists have done, maybe they have gone crazy and are in of need help since hell has broken loose for what they have done.

When women themselves break the machine, crack down the perfect engine, it is Hysteria, it is a scandal. It is meltdown, it is out of order, a sickness. Women in need of a doctor, in need of cure to set themselves in the right order where nothing is wrong or the matter is nothing special. Correcting themselves not to make the mistake of saying and doing other than what is planned and expected of them. Britney is seen only as someone who went nuts in front of us, got teary, which is documented and ridiculed, which is headlines. Popstar who is recovering from bad behavior and mending up her career, making a comeback, watching carefully out what she says, how she stands. It is tragic the way how she is treated as someone who had a meltdown, crying in front of us, being vulnerable and hurt.  There were 43 000 people in 2014 who committed suicide in the USA alone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_States

Tragedy is the complete blindness and indifference towards mental illness, shame and ridicule around  lunacy, mental issues altogether. Ways women are monitored and policed is neurotic and making women and all of society ill. The insanity of celebrity culture itself is something to be treated. Not to mention what goes on in the world as a whole. To laugh may help but it is not a comedy show. It is still her who is crazy, recovering from her condition. Something to be hidden and be embarrassed about. To talk about mental illness is to talk of those others who are ashamed of being ill and are not like the rest who are well in the head. It is a matter of how we look at things, isn’t it?

To play a part for money is slavery, as is constant need for gossip, growing need, or would we be needing the info of the rich and famous to copy them. Gossip is there nevertheless. The much hated and somewhat controversial artist of our time as Britney is especially via gossip journalism and music she makes, journalism which more or less laughs at her and her problematic relationships and  relationship with the industry she feeds from. When she makes a new album she is making a comeback. Does she evolve as a musician and is that the topic? She is making distance to her turmoil, to her problems of which she does not want to talk about in public. Problems are still hers not problems of those who watch. All she does is well, a kind of survival, behaving perfectly, playing her part. She has a part to play in this show and she is still present, acute, making money and interesting as she works, and as the journalists say, grows up, matures. Her age does not show that much, does it. She is interesting in a way how she is portrayed, how she presents herself. Is that her, are we supposed to know that? She is color of her hair, her dance moves, her unchangeable something in her.
 
Why I think of oppression when I think of a wealthy pop princess who has a history of strange public appearances and caused emotional trauma? Her conflicting with the image she is to keep up is interesting. Conflicting with the press she is to please with what she says and what she looks like and to be all about how she does all that floating like a feather, keeping up her appearance, her look. How she makes comeback again and has become fit again and gorgeous again. This all is about what is expected of women, to keep it together not lamenting. It is about how women are kept in tight leash and punished when they do differently, don’t obey and how that can be scandalous and something changes drastically. It is all about oppression wrapped around in a glittering image, perfected in a way there is no breath so she almost does not age, unable to breath, holding her breath. It is all very clear still she is the one who was deemed having mental problems when she shaved her hair off in public, she was hostile and showed her feelings towards the system that she was created for. All her ‘terrible’ outbursts and in some opinion strange choices do seem strange only in the context of pop, especially in context of American mainstream music aimed at young girls, which itself is more or less perverted and gives twisted ideas about how to be a girl and a woman. What is desirable, what to look like to be desirable and valuable, worthy of attention, what are good things for girls to be interested in and what is the relationship between girls and boys about, how this ideal and illusion evolves or if it does not. Why such ideals exist in the first place and what do they represent?
 
Stating the obvious, I guess, still I wonder why there is so much trashing of a princess who loves to dance and sing? How hungry are we for gossip is very telling of mental state of our culture. What is it all about, the need to get there in to the infantile mind, to slaughter and rip apart people who do something exceptional, are in the spotlight, put there for a reason which is to make money. Pop princess is a money making machine when she does well, so any outbursts of punk-ish manner totally seem crazy, even though when she herself sings she is going crazy. Not in real life you are not meant to go crazy, it is just a song. Mental illness is for the losers and that is scary shit.