Introducing ‘Gestures’: Column Reflecting on Women’s Contributions to the Arts

Choosing to challenge the social structures of patriarchy

You say you want a revolution? We all want to change the world. It’s in the everyday gestures that will get you ahead. Perhaps the evolution we are experiencing isn’t in the headlines or on the nightly news. Maybe it’s the simple gestures that we choose as we go through our day. International Women should be celebrated all year long.

Making yourself feel momentarily uncomfortable is a fair trade-off for helping women feel more comfortable. On the heels of International Women’s Month, American Blue Scene is pleased to announce Gestures  a monthly column reflecting on women’s contributions to the arts: Music and Dance, Movement and Moments. 

SheWolfSacred Chicago is a community-based healing and dance organization. SheWolf Sacred chooses to challenge. There are everyday situations that we may witness where gender biases are becoming revealed for being just that, a gender bias. It’s unequal and it restricts 50% of our population from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sexism may soon be a thing of the past… if you consciously choose your gestures of kindness in everyday life.

Julie B (she/her) “I choose to challenge systemic inequalities.” 

Julie Brannen / © Philamonjaro

Laks Laks (she/her) “I choose to challenge by proclaiming that women are women.”

Radia (she/her) “I choose to challenge the fetishization and commodification of Asian women and Asian cultural and spiritual practices.”

Radio Ali / © Philamonjaro

Coelti (they/them) “I choose to challenge narrow definitions of womanhood, femininity, sex, labor, and imagination. Why? I want the world to be full of pleasurable, regenerative, soulful experiences that are easily accessible to all living beings. That vision is supported by unburdening the collective imagination of humans and our societies.”

Coelti / © Philamonjaro

Jane Justice (she/her) “I choose to challenge gender roles because I am a woman surrounded by men in all aspects of life. I work a “man’s job” in a “man’s world” where men do not expect me to keep up. I am the only woman in my shared household of 5 other men where my womanhood can often be misunderstood. Most importantly, I have a son who will grow up to be a man one day so I hope to raise him in such a way that he never feels confined by the body he was born in. Sometimes our world limits his view so while I teach him to open the door for me, I also let him know that I could build that door too!”

Rebecca Jane Justice / © Philamonjaro

Antonia (she/her) “I choose to challenge the shaming and judgment of female bodies. Quite frankly, we are often shamed for even having bodies. Love yourself as you are. Feel good about your body. It is your one precious body that you get in this lifetime. Use it. Enjoy it. Love it.”

Antonia Callas / © Philamonjaro

Julie P (she/her) “I choose to challenge the glorification of selflessness. As a young woman, I looked up to my mother for their inherent giving nature but often forgetting about themselves. You cannot give from an empty cup or disappear within others. We need to honor our bodies, our curiosity, our hunger, our experience, and our ambition. There is so much more to give from our true selves.”

Julie Pacheco / © Philamonjaro

Audrey (she/her) I choose to challenge work standards. We are all built differently, especially as women we all deserve to prioritize rest and rejuvenation as an integral part of productivity.” 

Audrey Herrington / © Philamonjaro

Venus (she/her) “I choose to challenge by continuing to mentor and empower girls and young women.”

Theresa Venus / © Philamonjaro

Danielle (she/her) “I choose to challenge those, including myself, that are doing the work of unlearning harmful biases, who are actively involved in social justice endeavors, and who are holding space for more voices at the table. There is joy in growth and understanding.”

Danielle Levsky / © Philamonjaro

Shiwali (she/her) “I choose to challenge stereotypes. I am often expected to back down in business settings. Voices are raised and boundaries are crossed as people do not expect me to stand my ground and stand by my intelligence and convictions. I raise my hand to not standing down.” 

Shiwali Tenner / © Philamonjaro

E’a (she/her) I choose to challenge standards of judgment. I am unashamedly a Christian and I love Christ which means no judgment. Judge not lest you be judged, you do you boo! All I was told was to love you.”

Philamonjaro (he/him) “I choose to challenge the men I encounter to honor, listen to and respect women as they wish. Treat women as equals. Set an example for young men. Support women in leadership and creativity. This will be healing for men as well.”

Phil Solomonson / Philamonjaro

Gaea Lady (she/her) “I choose to challenge supporting the rise of the feminine to empower ALL femme bodies to know and embody their own power. I work mainly in performance and burlesque where there is frequently talk of gender bias. I call it out verbally. My palms and pits get sweaty, my face gets hard and fiery, and I become lucid and strong. I know that holding my boundaries and calling these things out is uncomfortable as it shakes up people’s paradigm.

“Everything they have been taught conditions them. It’s hard to think that you’ve been operating under assumed inequality – in gender, in race, in ability, and more. Pointing it out is a momentary discomfort that allows for growth. I know it is my duty to stand strong in my power and heal this lineage of inequality for all the generations who came before me and all who will come after. I am that change. I am proud of becoming myself and being authentically aware of who I am. I am an ever-changing being moment to moment and I am proud of living in my skin. No matter what I ‘do’ or ‘achieve,’ if I do it authentically in my own self then I have achieved everything I will ever need to.”

Gaea Lady / © Philamonjaro


*All images: © Phil Solomonson / Philamonjaro Studio


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