Entry 004: Juxtaposition
One of the things I have been finding most interesting when learning more about the geisha culture is the contrast of positives and negatives. Unfortunatley, the beauty that is seen on the surface isn't always reflected on the underside of the tradition. I was saddened to see how girls as young as 15, who had come to train as Maiko, were obsessed with their body image and weight, and had to undergo gruelling routines to upkeep their look, which was often highly uncomfortable for them. And despite being an age old tradition that has allowed many to be successful and independent business women for hundreds of years, it's important to remember that their main purpose is to entertain and satisfy men; A construct that I, as a 24 year old girl living in a western culture, find quite disturbing. The juxtaposition of the beauty and the ugly was something I found intriguing; how can these two opposing ideals exist side by side?
Is being a Geisha empowering for women; a way to be independent, make your own money and showcase your beauty and femininity? Or is it a corrupt tradition where a woman is paid to perform for men and never be anything less that polite and gracious, even if she finds herself in an uncomfortable situation?
I've been starting to think about ways in which I could represent this juxtaposition visually through my work. My next task moving forward is to think more about this, perhaps gather some more photography and begin some initial drawings. I also feel that I still need to pursue more research into the symbolism of the the Geisha dress and the symbolism of adornment within this culture.
New words for this entry:
- 'The Beauty' and 'The Ugly'
- The Light and The Dark