Now I Know You Love Me

11th September 2019

It seems appropriate to take the opportunity to open up a dialogue surrounding the ever more prevalent gender issues regarding women last 10 years. 

With the #MeToo movement taken on news sites and social media by storm, women’s identity politics has had an opportunity it broaden its definition. However, while more victims of sexual harassment coming to light, and while most of those cases have true hard evidence to prove their case, many unfortunately fail to do so. It then raises the question of how to define harassment and on that part, the definition of consent in two people’s courtship is now blurred and indirectly, questions how women perceive themselves and how society perceives women.

This movement was meant to liberate women particularly those how were victims of awful harassment crimes (and of course the many people of other genders who have experienced true harassment), instead as a result of the many cases being brought to light in the news, that had little weight in a fight for justice on harassment, in some cases were even fabricated, has led to women in industry, being published as a result.

US vice-president, Mike Pence famously refuses to have dinner alone with any woman who isn’t his wife, according the Guardian UK, many working men across corporate America appear to be following in his lead. 

• 27% of men avoid one-on-one meetings with female co-workers. 

• 21% of men said they would be reluctant to hire women for a job that would require close interaction (such as business travel).

• 19% of men would be reluctant to hire an attractive woman.[1]

 The data above was collected in early 2019 from workers across a wide range of industries.

Faiza Butt, Now I Know You Love Me 1, 2016

We can look to Faiza Butt’s work titled Now I Know you love me (2016) a series that further illustrates the identity politics of women through her lense, her work devles into notions of femininity, human fragility and mortality by focusing on fragments of the female body and the application of make-up. Inspired by Nan Goldin’s photographs of sex workers from the 1980s, each of the three works focuses on a fragment of the female face and the application of make-up: in Now I Know You Love Me 1, lip gloss is applied to a pair of lips; in Now I Know You Love Me 3, a singular open eye is framed by an eyelash curler. The images are inherently violent—the silver eyelash curler brings to mind a guillotine, while in Now I Know You Love Me 2, a rainbow-coloured eyelid could be read as an application of eye shadow or as a black eye. Surrounding the facial features are objects and images taken from everyday life, such as pansies, tomatoes, cupcakes, moths, pieces of Lego and Stormtroopers. These objects, says Butt, reflect her changing roles through the course of the day: artist, wife, friend and mother. These seemingly mundane items are key components of the artist’s identity; however, her fascination lies in the dichotomy of these roles and the simultaneous outwards projection of identity, whether real or constructed, and the presentation of the ‘self’ through clothing and make-up.

 It is this presentation of the self that we all need to have a deeper understanding and respect for, for ourselves and for each other. With that, we can hopefully co-exist with out the isolating each other in fear of entering the undefined grey area of harassment, the fear that some people might take the definition of harassment out of context, in attempt to lament a kind of neo-heroism, the act of doing so only stifles the decades of rights women have fought for since the 60s.

To see all 3 images from this series of work, please visit our instagram page @RossiandRossi