Performing Oppressions

Oppressions make us who we are. It is not so much about victimising yourself, but more about learning where you stand in society and thriving from it.

A lot of my work recently is about poking fun at oppression I experience as the result of intersectional failures. This is something I have learned from Kimberle Crenshaw, it means there are multiple layers to how I am oppressed in the white heteropatriarchy. I am a genderfluid and female (woman identifying), I am brown, I am queer and suffer from mental health disorder. This has resulted in an intersection of failures.

These failures still exist in art university, even though it seems impossible. They make it hard for me to create work and focus on other issues. Therefore I am currently exploring how I could use these experiences to make work.

As a way of survival both mentally and physically, I have started to post interactions on my blog.

For example, if I am being harassed on the tube, which happens quite often, I’d take my phone out to look busy, and then report what is happening. I find this process empowering, and very performative.

Empowering because I am using a terrible situation to create something powerful that may help other folk out.

An example of this is the piece below:

Untitled

Right now I’m on the District line on my way back home, a man and his two girlfriends are sitting in front of me. He’s staring at my chest as he’s talking to his girlfriend touching her butt and kissing her. They’re all white and drunk and he seems very aggressive as he was arguing with her before. Earlier he was staring me in the eyes and I looked at him so he would look away. He blew me a kiss! I took my headphones off and

said: ‘what does that mean? It’s not funny, is it? What the hell?’

And he said : ‘No , Sorry’.

But he’s still staring at my Chest ten mins later and saying things making the other girls laugh in a different language

I feel unsafe and feel like something bad could happen! I wonder if it did if  anyone on the train would help me…

And this is what it means to be a queer Feminist POC dealing with Anxiety, life is hard and full of anger.

15 November 2015

I ended up creating a performance piece out of this interaction for a university project. This then sparked the idea of documenting all of these interactions and using them in creative ways.

Images of the performance part of the Dance Lab project, year 2 of Performance Design and Practice, CSM.

1-performing-oppressions 2-performing-oppressions

Some more examples of my writing:

Leg harassment

1.

15 year old boy outside my house: Urgh, oh my god she’s got hairy legs!

Me: So do you

His friends: -Laughing-

2.

Man: you have hairy legs

Me: excuse me? Why did you feel the need to say that?

Man: I love it! I love it ????

Me: (too tired to say anything)

 

Pizza

Eating a slice of pizza on my journey from pizza (second meal of the day) shop to bus stop 1:45 am, took 5 minutes to walk to bus stop

And these are the comments men made to me in that 5 minutes of me walking to the bus:

Man 1- “Eat some Cake”

Man 2- “This is a pizza free zone you know!”

Man 3- “oh hey hey come here”

Me: you know you’re the third person who’s made a comment about this?

Man 3- -laughs-

Man 4- “What’s going on on that plate?”

Me- “it’s a piece of heaven”

Somehow Pizza doesn’t taste good anymore

 

I am exploring what it means for my body to exist in society today. We live in a world which does not accept my queer brown female body. The white heteronormative and capitalists rejects my body and I reject this system with my existence. In a way I’m making work that shames this system, in the hope of raising awareness for those who don’t experience it the way I and people like me do. In the hope that I can empower queer people of colour because “Our existence is beautiful and radical”.

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