I offer this as a reflection on the situation of women in the world today. In the center is the poet Sylvia Plath, who was compelled to write her poetry from her own deeply internalized perspective. Fleeing an abusive marriage, she paid for that artistic and feminist commitment with her life, symbolized by the bandaid. Next to Sylvia is a photo of a traditional Orthodox wedding couple. World-wide, women are expected to conform to this ideal of femininity and marriage, the feminine ideal that Sylvia Plath resisted. In the left bottom corner, two women from Ukraine are armed with weapons, ready for battle. This is the reality of their lives–they must fight a war to defend their homes, families and country. The photo of the Polaroid camera in the lower right corner and the question mark with the TV sets in the upper right corner symbolize the media, the ways that the media presents both ideal and devalued images of women, and traps women in oppressive social roles. The text is a headline of an article in The Boston Globe. It says “On a (once) quiet street…a battle line… for Wu”, referring to Michelle Wu, Mayor of Boston. Although Wu is in a very powerful position, one of the first Asian-American women to lead a major US city, she faces a tough political battle in her administration. The Smiley face is an iconic image created in the City of Worcester, where I live. It is turned upside down to symbolize that a ‘happy face’ is a false kind of optimism and happiness, and often doesn’t reflect the reality of women’s lives.
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