Mythical Gender Roles

Artist Book


The project was made for the group exhibition “Questions of Contemporary Art” at the Art Academy gallery in Dec. 2005 and afterwards it was in the exhibition “Problems” at Tallinn Art Hall. The exhibition was a result of a theoretical course on the above subject. I used the online forums’ comments and selected all comments about men-women relationships. The project is an attempt to show how language, political power, mass media, culture and history influence our thinking and how we recreate gender roles even without reflecting. There are very few people who are able to see beyond the influences and make a difference between myths and reality, and to take into consideration that reality is constructed. R. Rorty has written about the impossibility of going beyond language (Rorty, 1992:40-41). Yet we should try to see the connections between mind and environment more clearly. I was inspired by Radical Feminist theory while working on the project. E. Fox-Keller writes of how there is a dualism in the language and opposing qualities always mean that one is positive and the other is negative. Usually the masculine (square, light, hard, outgoing) is positive, and the feminine (round, dark, soft, submissive) negative (E. Fox-Keller 2001:6). All these characteristics are arbitrary and have nothing to do with reality. The main problem is that because everybody assumes the characteristics are natural, they even do not ask, “Why?”. I collected the comments, chose some interesting extracts from them and printed them in huge block letters using the same colours as two main political parties, like the advertisements for a political campaign. I added photos of Estonian politicians, because power recreates the gender roles (there are mainly men in politics, who make decisions from a man’s viewpoint). I also used photos of ordinary, less educated people, who are most vulnerable to pressure from the media and from those with power. I added my conception and two articles: “What Is Gender Equality?” and “I Have Always Played with Boys”. My idea formed into a colourful and powerful artist’s book, entitled “Mythical Gender Roles”. You can see some pages of this in my portfolio. I also left a few pages at strategic locations in Tallinn: the office where women's magazines are published and the government building.

See the pages (PDF) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


I left some book sheets to the magazine editiors house.



Me with my book