The Day I Became A Woman, many times over
Recently saw “The Day I Became A Woman”, a quick Iranian film by famous film family Makhmalbaf (daughter Marzieh directs, father Mohsen co-writes) with some fabulous imagery. My heart jumped at some of the wonderful pagentry of the third section, from which these images are pulled.
The Day I Became A Woman is in three sections, each following a different Iranian woman, at a different stage in her life.
When I watch or read anything, I think, “how can I steal from that?” What I want to steal here is the single piece of work told in three thematic sections, the abrupt changes of rhythm (the second section is far faster, more urgent, frightening than the others), stuff like that. I realized this was the closest piece of art I’ve found that did I what I was trying, in my little 23-year old way, trying to do with “New Hat” I feel like I SHOULD have stolen from it 15 years ago. Or I should hold it up as a more elegant example of some formal ideas I am interested in.
Jenny Bowlan’s “She’s Not There”, which I just read, has nothing I can possibly steal, unless you can steal a giant heart or brilliant sense of humor. But the superficial theme is similar: The Day I Became A Woman. Or in this case, the 2 years or so I became a woman. I can’t say enough about Jenny’s book.
I was always drawn to the feminine. Unlike this boy below, trying the make-up on in the mirror, make-up creeped me out, didn’t seem feminine but instead just seemed unnatural, which didn’t interest me. But I had this boy’s eyes. The look of searching for identity on the other side. Women made more sense to me. What James Boylan experience so profoundly, I just felt as longing. I wore skirts in college. Well, twice, and it was so awesome that I could borrow them from my friend Karen. God, she was beautiful!
My otherwise brilliant Communication Arts teacher in college didn’t believe me- when we were supposed to come up with a metaphorical self-portrait, I brought in a photo of myself, in a skirt and a flower in my hair. He blew it off as a photo that was taken drunkenly at a party, but I spent hours on it, making sure the flower was just right, and that my wonderful hairy legs stuck out in full glory.
I used to love Jeff Jones’s art growing up. His weird comic strips, lavishly drawn with big busty naked women trying to figure out their natural environment. LOVED THOSE! And his non-fantasy based paintings were often of women, in fields, or just posing. I loved these too, and bought a print at age 16, got it framed. I NEVER DID that at that age. It cost a fortune. I was so drawn to Jeff’s imagery.
Jeff, as I hear it, is becoming a woman, too.
Wondering if that inclination could ever be in me, if I would want -like James Boylan, like Jeffrey Jones- to BE a woman, but nah. I love women as separate entities too much, and I really dig masculinity.
And also Mark Bolan. And Vaughn Bode. And Brian Eno.