Feminine Wiles

Aug 26, 2014

Last Thanksgiving I had the unique privelidge to sleep a night or two in a young ladies' bedroom. She was spending the night at her mother's house so I took up residence among objects most likely not long for her life. Dolls, stickers, posters, scraps of paper. Treasures all.

I wanted to read for a bit before going to sleep but the overhead light was a bit too bright. I turned Cinderella Barbie on. Surprisingly bright light, I thought, as I snapped this shot. Barbie illuminating the darkness.

As I look at this painting, I'm struck by so many lessons for the little girls who flick the switch to turn on their bedside light. Cinderella, the girl rescued from oppression by the proverbial prince of a guy who only recognizes her beauty when she's dolled up in her glass slippers. Barbie, the improbable and unattainable figure of womanhood clasped tightly by four-year-old girls across the globe. The girl-woman with no legs, a steely coil hoists her to hover over the desktop.

What lessons do we teach our daughters? Who illuminates their darknesses?

Painting: Cinderella © Lissa Banks