Why do so many women experience adversity when it comes to being believed? Why do our voices seem lost in a sea of skepticism regarding our bodies, experiences and health?
In February 2020, about four weeks before the world shut down from the Covid-19 pandemic, artist, educator and friend Tina Martel asked me to write one of my poems on her.
I wrote on Tina before, but this time was particular because she was still healing from a double mastectomy. To say I was honoured that she asked me is an understatement, but I knew the perfect poem for the occasion, and as an artist, Tina would appreciate it.
You are taught many things in art school, but one debate sticks out for me: the difference between nakedness and nudity. Édouard Manet's 1863 painting, Olympia, is often used as an example because, at the time of the unveiling at the Paris Salon, it caused massive outrage. Manet used a model who shamelessly stared directly at the viewer; for the public, this was more controversial than her nudity or nakedness. It was as if she was giving a big middle finger to how society perceived women and their bodies.
I wrote the poem "Olympia Is Over It" as a tribute to women's ongoing struggle when being believed about their bodies, health, and experiences over a century later.
Tina, unfortunately, knows this struggle all too well.
Her book, Not In The Pink, documents her breast cancer experience and is one of the only books I have ever read that can make me laugh and cry when it comes to Cancer. Her message is important and one that everyone should hear because, like Olympia and me, Tina is over it.
Tina Martel on Instagram - @not_in_the-pink My site: carajonesspeaks.tv More about Édouard Manet: https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/edouard-manet-olympia