Saturday, January 23, 2016

Charlottes Learn That They Are Not Able to Play Real Basketball But Must Use Girls' Rules

I've been working on a little artists' book for a show, and my topic is Rules for Girls' Basketball.  I hit on this topic when I took Maya to her first basketball practice and was remembering how when I played basketball in high school in the 60s we had to play according to watered-down, pathetic, insulting, patronizing rules such as no dribbling, maximum 3 bounces, stay on your side of the court, and no grabbing the ball from someone else.  To add to our misery we had to wear our gym uniforms:  blue cotton bloomers worn under stiff dresses of the kind that no one wore unless they were dishing up spaghetti in the school cafeteria line.

I researched the history of basketball and discovered the history of humiliating rules and attitudes that girls had to endure ever since basketball was first "adapted" for them in 1894 or so until very recent changes.  And of course that reminded me of all the rest of the humiliations and second-class citizenship that women have had to and still have to endure.  True, we have been "given" the vote and we can own property and we no longer promise to obey our husbands should we get married.  But why did it take special rule changes for those things to be given to us?  And what did it say to us as girls when over and over we were treated as though we had a fundamental weakness or flaw that made us unfit to play sports using the same rules as boys, that made us have to pay so much attention to how we looked, that made us have to be cheerleaders and prom queens instead of real leaders and real heads of state?  (Why is it that we still have never had a woman president in this country?)

So today's drawings are knife drawings in which I carved gym outfits modeled on my own 1960s vintage one for the charlottes.  I also modified earlier carvings of the charlottes themselves and added a couple.  Stay tuned.


  1. oh, yeah, i like your thinking here. i remember those rules, second class citizen was institutionalized and accepted. holy cow, i had forgotten how deeply ingrained it was. is. for us, not so much for your granddaughter. which is GOOD.

    1. So good of you to point out how ingrained it is . Still is.