E&B: strong women- research

Made some drawings thinking about how strength is SEEN and how its expressed in women. Some people who symbolise strength. This is just me visualizing my thoughts right now..

The first image is Joan Of Arc, as illustrated in a propaganda poster from WW1, to inspire US Women to buy food stamps apparently. Interesting that they used a teenage girl who was burned at the stake (By the english) as a symbol of strength and courage. Terrible drawing by me, as indicated by having to redraw Joans head. It look to me like Joan was drawn in the style of a flapper- big eyes and thin lips- 1920’s/1930’s ‘flappers’ were, at the time, the essence of modernity.

The second drawing was a spoiled drawing I did of a nurse, which I abandoned 1/2 way through. (I then drew a penguin beside the nurse for reasons known best to myself) I drew WonderWoman beside the nurse. I took out a wonder woman comic from the library, and was interested in the graphic style of how wonderwoman is drawn (by men). She has very big, well defined muscles, broad shoulders, a small bum and huge, pneumatic breasts. Its amusing to me because as an admirer of crossfit, I observe that extremely athletic women with low body fat can in deed achieve extremely well defined muscletone, it will inevitable occur form the consistent strength training they do. However that low body fat means they traditionally lose their fatty breast tissue also. I know it myself from when at my fittest, and lowest body fat, observing my own breasts dissapearing. See below some successful crossfit athletes and wonderwoman. No loss of breast tissue for her!:

Anyway I liked the small, hands in pockets nurse observing dramatic wonderwoman. A nice example of her, the nurses, everyday task-based instrinsic strength observing wonderwoman’s outward, sexual, flamboyant objective strength.

The last person is Rosa Luxembourg. I came across her in an WW1 illustrated historical reference. She was a Polish Marxist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist who in 1919 was captured, tortured and then executed by a rifle butt to the head, then shot, and her body flung into the nearby canal, by members Germany’s Freikorps. She was a lifelong revolutionary and agitator. I was struck by how small and determined she looked. You can sense enormous strength and toughness off her. Think of all the barriers she had to overcome. Someone who had instrinsic strength and used it as a vehicle to get things done.

Lastly for now, this girl, Nujeen. I did not have time to make drawings of her. She embodies the essence of bravery. She crossed from Turkey to Greece with some of her family, in a wheelchair aged 15(she has cerebral palsy) and now lives in Germany. Think she is around 19 now. Having a young daughter with CP myself, I am even more interested in this girl. You cannot do everything you want by yourself when you have a physically debilitating condition like CP. You have to rely on others whether you like it or not. MY relationship with my own kid is strenuous as we both have to work hard at the normal, everyday things like getting dressed, washing and going to the toilet that others don’t think about. I am frustrated by her refusal to acknowledge that she needs help with these things, but I also enormously admire her strength of spirit and ferocious desire for independence. She deals with being different everyday in ways that I don’t have to think about. Her strength and attitude have changed me irrevocably and in a selfish way have allowed me to stop worrying about small shit and to never NOT try doing something. I have no excuse.

This girl, Nujeen, not only has to manage her CP, which brings with it a host of physical issues and long term pain, but also being a refugee, away from her family, trying to become a women in different country. Holy Shit. If I think about what I rely on to stay same and stave off anxiety, strength training and exercise, she cant do any of this. How does she stave off anxiety and and get an endorphin kick. She is Strength embodied. Intrinsic.

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