The Language of Women

Rachel York in Guernica:

In his essay Sexual Objectification, Timo Jütten explains how sexual objectification teaches men and women to assume roles as superiors and subordinates, roles that disadvantage women and leave them vulnerable to gender-specific harms, such as sexual assault and rape. While I knew this already, it is a small relief to read it in print. Most women instinctively know that their bodies are a hair’s breadth away from violence. The artist Marina Abramović demonstrated this by laying seventy-two objects on a table—a tube of lipstick, a feather, a knife, and a gun—and invited gallery viewers to do whatever they wanted to her for six hours. At first the people were shy, presenting her with the flower, kissing her, draping her in cloth; then as the hours ticked off, one man snipped off her clothes with the scissors so that she was bare, and another sliced her with the knife. Someone else picked up the gun from the table, wrapped her hand around it, and pointed it at her neck. At the end she stood up to leave, bare, and bleeding, and the audience fled.

More here.