If ever you needed proof that language is a hugely powerful tool in defining gender, you would only have to look as far as the title of Feministing founder Jessica Valenti’s book, He’s A Stud, She’s A Slut. But, whilst you may think men get off easily by being labelled Studs, Big Shots and Supermen, such grammatical expectations of men can weigh just as heavily as any negative names women are burdened with.
Don’t believe me? Then take a trip along to Who’s The Man, an installation at London’s Future Gallery of more than a 1000 hand painted enamel panels, each depicting a word or a phrase used to describe a ‘man’. Opening today, the exhibition of painstakingly produced typography is the work of Rudy de Belgeonne – who hopes the hundreds of screaming painted names will ’help the bewildered male plot his way through the gender landscape…’
And isn’t that all any of us are trying to do? Regardless of what gender we are, regardless of whether we’ve been described as a slut, a beast, a queer or a geezer, we are all surrounded by language that solidifies society’s expectations of us. We can all relate to those pressures; the put-downs and the put-upons, the stereotypes and the requests to conform to certain genders. That’s what makes Who’s The Man an exhibition that speaks to everyone… even if, quite simply, it just calls them names!
Who’s The Man runs until the 8th of June at The Future Gallery.Comments (0)
Tagged: Art, Future Gallery, London, Masculinity, Rudy de Belgeonne, Who's The Man?