A couple of weeks back, I discussed briefly the divide between feminism and postfeminism, with a note to look further into the notion of “choice” when it comes to exaggerated and sexualised femininity and consumerism. Taylor (2012) addresses female docility and choice, stating that although women act as the glue that holds consumerism together and can often fall victim to smart marketing, women do still have a choice. They can exist as active subjects even if the choices they make do not align with feminists who believe that all women should avoid self-objectifying behaviour; such as wearing makeup and attending pole dancing. However, for some women, if you were to deny their engagement with femininity that would mean cutting off access to their creative output. The process of applying makeup should and can be seen as a creative act, or, in the case of the pole dancer, like any other dancer, the body is used to solve physical problems. The creative choices that are made become a seed of self-knowing and this ‘knowing’ is what differentiates choice and docility. If you know the why behind the decisions you make then you are an enlightened, active subject. However, if you are simply following trends and adhering to “expectation of the modern woman”, then your self is being defined by clever power structures that are navigating your life for you. Think about it.

Something I am Practicing

If you follow my stories on Instagram, you will know that I am experimenting with cold water therapy to help my body recover between training and rehearsals. I have spent the past 4 weeks having one cold shower and one cold bath per week (obviously in addition to my warm temperature showers). My conclusion so far is that my body is responding positively to it and, for about 30 minutes after the bath, I feel about ten years younger. However, I struggle to breath with the cold gets too much. Wim Hof has come up over and over again when researching how to deal with breathing, so I have decided to experiment with his method. It is similar to a breathing exercise I do before performance to eliminate my nervousness. Try it.

What I am Reading

This article discusses the materiality of performance art in relation to arts consumers who wonder what it is they are actually going to purchase if the nature of the art is ephemeral. Obviously, consumers have the chance to view the performance, but what can they take away? Harris (2019) posits video documentation, imagery and artist notes are purchasable items. Additionally, the artist might also be able to design an installation of the performance for the collectors home, of which can be upheld by the artist on a yearly basis for an additional fee.

What I am Watching

Since I started my PhD, I have enjoyed watching Tara Brabazon. Her eloquence, knowledge and confidence is infectious. Even if you are not undertaking a PhD, but have an interest in knowledge, teaching, and how to carry yourself in an academic space, she is worth looking into. This particular vlog on Microlearning enabled me to see that doing a PhD is a process of deferred gratification. You have to put the time in with no instantaneous results. I think the same can be said for the artistic process. Sometimes the work has to go all over the place before it finds its way. Microlearning in the context of a PhD or an artistic process can stand as a means to find small bouts of instant gratification along the way. Not only will this help with motivation, but it will keep you up to date with current trends in education and / or art.

Rowena x

I will be back with more notes next week, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook


Harris, G. (2019) What am I Actually Buying? Performance Art-Only Fair in Brussels Faces Challenge of Materiality

Taylor, B. (2012) Enlightenment and the Uses of Woman