Empires, by their very nature, embody, institutionalize difference, both between metropolis/colony and between colonial subjects Imperial imaginary floods popular culture. Gender categories were one kind of bio-logic “new tradition” that European colonialism institutionalized in many African cultures. Infantilization of women as part of Western patriarchal system was also exported with the colonization of the mind. We should take into account issues as class, race, age, gender, even health as being fundamental to the female experience. Beauty norms are often measured with Eurocentric values, with white beauty narratives (thinness, youth, and whiteness) and ideals of beauty being strongly racialized. Whiteness is reinforced at the same time as the norm, while “otherness” becomes fetish and something “exotic”. The three central concepts that have been the pillars of Western feminism -women, gender and sisterhood- are only understood with a careful attention to the patriarchal nuclear family from which they have emerged, familiar form that is far from being universal.
Erotic, sexuality, sisterhood, motherhood, marriage, tradition, domestication, inclusivity of men…all this aspects with its own lights and shades in each society should come out in the same level in order to compare. Many racialized feminists believe that mainstream feminism has acted as invisible ballast on their backs, showing itself traditionally paternalistic and exclusive with other realities that don’t fit Western model, adopting it as a universal mantra, setting an agenda that doesn’t correspond to the concerns of the non-white world and speaking for the rest of the women of the planet. Decolonize feminism questioning the Eurocentric rational theoretical frameworks that construct gender categories in a universalistic manner.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about “The Danger of the Single Story”. Let us wish for new ways of relating genders, of new models of intercultural dialogues not based on supremacy nor on an excluding hierarchy, and maybe identities, both individual and community, could naturally develop towards a society which one wouldn’t have to be invisible in order to advance. Maybe understanding History we will be able to overcome the social and symbolic ascription only by the difference of sex and open the range to other factors for the construction of identity.
Gloria Oyarzabal (London, UK 1971) Spanish artist photographer, bachelor of Fine Arts at UCM (Complutense University at Madrid, 1998), she diversifies her activity between film, photography and teaching. Co-founder and programmer at the independent cinema “La Enana Marrón” (The Brown Dwarf) in Madrid (1999-2009), dedicated to the diffusion of author, experimental and alternative cinema.
Since 1996 working in the cinema world taking care of artistic direction and photography of experimental short films & documentaries.
Lived 3 years in Bamako, Mali (2009-2012) where she works in the shooting of his partner’s experimental documentary, while researching on the construction of the Idea of Africa, processes of colonization/decolonization, new tactics of colonialism and the diversity around the different voices of the African Feminisms.
After 2 years in France (2013-2014), she goes back to Madrid where she gets her Masters degree in Creation & Development of Photographic Projects at Blankpaper School of Photography (Madrid 2014-2015).In 2017 she’s selected for the artist residence Ranchito Matadero Nigeria/South Africa working between Madrid and Art House Foundation Lagos (Nigeria) which enables her to develop her research around the colonization of the concept of woman. In 2020 she’s invited as resident artist at Gibellina Photoroad (Sicily, Italy) by The Orestiada Foundation (due to the pandemic crisis this has been postponed).She was teacher of Analisys of Architectural Forms at IADE(2001-2010) and now she gives photography workshops at Lens School of Photography and MADPHOTO School of Photography (Madrid, Spain)
Thanks to a Grant given by Madrid’s City Hall, she will develop her new project travelling around Europe and Africa.