Unpicking the blanket: Escaping the bed we were made to lie in

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Brown, Lissie
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Fine Arts
Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga - NZ Institute of Skills and Technology
Venis, Jane
Beevors, Michele
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Otago (N.Z.)
New Zealand
fine arts
gender equity
mothers and daughters
Brown, L. (2023). Unpicking the blanket: Escaping the bed we were made to lie in (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts). Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.6132
This project focuses on the complexities of womanhood by addressing both physical and psychological aspects of being female. Generational associations between women became the basis for my research as they are instrumental in shaping our beliefs around what it means to be a woman with each generation unwittingly throwing a blanket of their experiences onto the next. It is important to acknowledge that we carry forward ripples from the past, while also being informed by events and opinions specific to our own time. While we must look through the lens of things, it is vital that we also look between things, questioning why we have these connections and what purpose they serve. Working within an auto-ethnographic methodology the personal relationship between myself and my mother provided an intimate account of the complexity of the mother daughter relationship, with particular focus on the period post World War II up to the present day. Investigation into the perceived role of women not only as mothers and daughters but as active participants within society, provides insight into the double standards that still exist in relation to gender equality. Examining how society has stitched womanhood together, it became evident that humanity continues to look at woman and womanhood through a narrow lenses that is steeped in gender bias. Cultural constructs of Western patriarchal society and feminist action both continue to shape women’s lives and the use of subtle manipulation and control is so ingrained in our cultural norms that it regularly goes unnoticed. Consistently repeating patterns, failure to consider alternatives, trying to ‘fit in’ and ‘do the right thing’, as perceived by generations older than us, are common traps to fall into. The impact on our external and internal being is monumental and often goes unacknowledged and unrecognised. Womanhood is no longer confined to the domain of the domestic environment and their role as active participants in contemporary society provides platforms for initiating great change. I believe we are in an era of disruption and am attempting to highlight the patterns of the past and the need to challenge our behaviours and ways of thinking as we step into the future. The time is ripe for new beginnings, where women do not simply participate in the world as it already exists, but actively attempt to re shape it (1). Acknowledging the fundamental characteristics and traits of women, from the matriarchal perspective rather than the traditionally accepted patriarchal viewpoint. 1.Crispin Jessa, Why I am Not A Feminist, A Feminist Manifesto. New York; Melville House Printing 2017 , xi.
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