Death of Venus; the Impetus
The barbaric laws being passed to control the bodies of women, much as the bodies of slaves were controlled in our earlier history, have compelled me to create this carving. There is a movement in the United States to strip women of their independence and return them to the days of annual childbirth, poverty, and early death.
As I write this, at least twelve states have passed, or are attempting to pass, laws denying women access to birth control and reproductive health benefits, while holding them entirely responsible for every pregnancy, even by rape. The responsibility, however, does not include the power to make choices about how they handle the pregnancy, and in several states there are attempts to give men power of decisions over the fetus. This includes attempts to define fertilized eggs as people, and to allow men to claim an abortion was done for “race or gender” reasons!
Increasingly, minors are denied sex education, contraception, and access to reproductive health care and abortion without parental consent. In one state they have to get judicial authorization proving they are victims of incest. Attempts to help teenagers in these ignorant states have been criminalized.
This is not male vs. female. There are women who are adamantly campaigning against themselves to lose reproductive freedom. Lest you think you are far from the problem, look around you: South Dakota, Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, Connecticut, and of course, Texas. I probably do not even have all of them listed here.
This is even more appalling in view of current statistics. One in three women in this country have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused. One in six experience rape or attempted rape. Of those females raped, 54% are raped before they have turned 18 years old; 11% are raped before age 12. Of the adult women who are raped, only 22% are raped by an unknown assailant. The rest have been raped by husbands, ex-husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, step-fathers, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, friends, neighbors, and other relatives.
Raped or not, the real issue is a woman’s right to control her own body, and therefore, her own life. The question is whether women are to be considered independent human beings or chattel.
Helen, your unstringed-marionette of a Venus is a powerful carving. I almost complained of a lack of information about its size — before noticing your article on that. Yes, lots of work but artful, meaningful carving.
Congratulations too on your Mobius Venus triumph (if I have the name right.)
Your achievements move steadily along & clearly accumulate.