Stop 4

This mural to me was the climax of the theme, further highlighting the sexual objectification of women. Along with the woman in the mural, there are what appear to be weasels and monsters, like the ones in fairytales who kidnap the princess in the first place. Although the mural suggests the issue of female exploitation, which may be the intention of the artist, it also evokes furthers questions in my mind: why are these damsels kidnapped in the first place? Why is there a pattern in fairytales and also street art, of beautiful young women being the subject of damsels in distress? The answer is simple, and quite mathematical: beautiful + young = open to sexual exploitation and more appealing to the eye. Without one of the variables, the equation doesn’t hold, for example you hardly see murals of beautiful, mature-aged women.

Furthermore, this mural of the woman is painted in a textured way, her body resembling a tree. Maybe it is a continuation of the tree house mural in ‘Stop 2’ where the damsel is kept captive. A question, which is never addressed nor paid attention to in fairytales, comes to mind when I think of this: what happens to these damsels when they are kept captive? The mural, with the weasel, monster and man whose nose the woman hangs off by all looking at her suggestively, heavily insinuates the perversions of these villains. Similarly, these street artists are villains, who in an effort to attract a larger audience appeal to the perversions of society by painting beautiful, young women.

It could also be argued that this mural, with the woman painted like a tree, is the artist’s way of making a statement about women empowerment. Perhaps like a tree, she provides irreplaceable elements like shelter and food, and despite being outnumbered the weasels aren’t able to overpower her. However upon examining street art done by female artists of women, there is a vast contrast in the way male and female street artists paint them. Male street artists like Akid One and Rone emphasize the beauty of women, painting them in a sultry light, making them visually appealing. Female street artists paint a variety of women – old, young, curvy, spiritual, Caucasian, African – making their messages loud, clear and of deeper purpose.

The pattern of these murals, as I walked by, suggested that these artists are not painting as an outcry against female exploitation. Instead of raising awareness about these issues, they thrive on them, transferring their own damsels who are held captive in their paint on to the public walls.