By Kendra Holliday | January 4, 2013 at 6:32 am
I just found out about another awesome animal gender and sexuality project happening – this one is called Crime Against Nature.
From the press release:
“What do single moms, stay-at-home dads, professionals who happen to be women, men who like to dress colorfully, infertile people, and homosexuals have in common? They’re often viewed by society as sad, bad, and even a little suspicious.
Those judgments all stem originally from one idea: that females are naturally passive and more caring, and males are naturally aggressive and more intelligent. It’s an idea that is deeply embedded in our social system and dictates much of our behavior. It’s also an idea that has nothing to do with what is actually going on in nature.
Crime Against Nature—both the book and the series—exposes the true diversity of natural behaviors.”
The exhibition, which is a three-dimensional installation of the book, is now open at Place, in Portland, Oregon. There’s an Artist talk tomorrow!
Artist talk: 5 January, 2 – 3 PM
Open: through 12 January
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 6 PM
3rd floor of Pioneer Place
SW 5th and Yamhill, Portland, Oregon
The artist, Gwenn Seemel, states:
I always assumed that I would have children one day. It wasn’t something that I felt strongly about one way or the other: I just thought it was something I would do.
Then, a few years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease which causes infertility in many women. Suddenly, the future I hadn’t cared much about seemed important. The maybe-never of it put me in a should-I-even-try frame of mind.
After being told again and again that the urge to reproduce is primordial, I turned to nature to look for the origins of our baby-making assumptions. To begin with, all I found was the animal version of “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” But I wasn’t convinced.
Slowly but surely, I unraveled the mystery of this seemingly universal formula. I began to understand that the scientists who described animal behavior could be as stuck in a nursery rhyme version of normalcy as I was. And I began to find scientists who weren’t.
As I researched, I broadened my question. I could see that this wasn’t just about baby-making. It was about all the things that we think women and men have to be in order to be natural.
For all my investigating and exploring, I still couldn’t control whether or not I can have children, but I could decide to have a children’s book instead. So I did. Crime Against Nature is this book and it’s also a series that I am exhibiting as a version of the text that viewers can wander through as they read. Whatever the format, book or show, Crime Against Nature is meant for the kid in all of us: the person who hasn’t yet felt the pressure to conform, the one who still sees the infinite possibilities of being.
I love it!
This book features quite a bit of reverse sexual dimorphism, which is when the female is larger or more ornate than the male. As for me and my relationship, it just represents plain old sexual dimorphism. See?