Recently I’ve been engaging in performances that highlight the pain, endurance and frustration of existing in this world as someone with a female body. My first concept for this performance was to showcase my strength and determination by wrestling an unrestrained boxing bag until exhaustion. I initially did this for two and a half hours in an attempt to disrupt society’s notions of gender and body. However, during the performance I began to realise that I was actually wrestling with myself, not with society; the video represents and articulates this battle. It’s unrelenting and at times excruciating. Through this performance I uncover my engrained misogyny. I found this confronting but it is not surprising since I live in a world that oppresses the feminine out of fear. Through observing myself I discover that I often use society’s ideas of masculinity as a mask to hide behind, rejecting vulnerability because of its association with femininity. The performance demonstrated this was unsustainable, and that vulnerability is fundamental to the human experience. Self-aware until I enforce a self-inflicted agitation, I transcend my own discomforts – further transforming my ideas of gender, body and identity. In tears and exhausted, I end realising there’s more power in acceptance, not resistance, of self.
*Runner Up, Tasmanian Portraiture Prize, 2017.