Who says artists can’t be macho?

A Grandmother's Priceless Love

     Stereotyping can be one of the deadliest forms of criticism known to man. Germans love their beer; blondes are dumb, blacks like chicken and watermelon, and so on.

      Forming a conception of an individual or an entire group of people without having the opportunity to learn anything about them is just plain wrong.

     Take for example a scraggly looking fellow walking down the street. You immediately steer clear of this stranger because of his unkempt appearance as you have already decided that he is lower than you and he wants what you have.

     How do you know this? Please share your insightful knowledge with me of someone you have never met.

     I was pretty safe upon entering the world of art because I am a white female and am allowed to wander into this area according to our society. But when my grandson, John, took an interest in drawing, painting, writing and poetry, it was totally unacceptable by relatives and friends

    “He’s going to turn out to be gay; that’s a sissy pastime; somebody macho needs to have a talk with him.”

     John just looks at them, shakes his head and gets a pitiful look on his face.

     One day last summer, John was warming up for a football game, doing his stretches, tossing the ball and sprinting. I noticed a boy that was bullying John by stealing the ball, shoving him and screaming “sissy” at him. My grandson kept trying to go about his business until he had evidently had enough. I watched patiently as he briefly looked my way, then WHAM, Mr. Bully fell to the ground.

    The point to this story is that art can be a type of relaxation and stress reliever and whoever came up with the notion that only the weak and feeble can be interested in this hobby has never met my grandson. Think before you judge and be supportive of your children in their chosen endeavors. Don’t stereotype them as you do strangers.

   Maybe art is a good place to start.

By Kate Garton/AAPJ

Published by on December 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Back Porch Section, Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Comments for “Who says artists can’t be macho?”

  1. I found this article very poignant in this time that the media spotlight is finally exposing these precious souls that are committing suicide because of bullying. Sometimes we think that our world is harsh. We are most fortunate if we are survivors of childhood/teenage bullying. The scares go much deeper than anything physical. It is like a blowtorch to the psyche.

    I have never considered myself a victim, but I wished that could be like everyone else. As a teenager I did not want to fit in. My revenge was constantly being on top of the Dean’s Honor Roll. This took some of the pressure off, but it made other kids hate me. I think not considering myself pry helped me keep my self respect. The other half was not to judge books by their cover either. So I befriended geeks to football players. There was an inner strength that told me that I deserved to live and to be as mush as the next guy. So I did not fight, but I “copped” a little attitude. Then I started reading the teachings of Gandhi. This lead me to the paths of yoga and mediation that gave me so much understanding with a sense of compassion. If you are on the path of peace it is hard to be conquered.

    So I was kind of hoping that this article would turn out that the paint brush was mightier than the sword. However, this young man was true to himself. There are stereotypes of all kinds. I was with a friend that is taking his 10 year old to rowing classes. He is educating him in the arts and preparing him to have a healthy body and mind.

    We are living in an intolerant society. Children are taught to hate. This is not the natural order if you watch children in kindergarten. They all play together no matter their sex, race, religion or color. However, the parents anticipate and expect their children to have similar values. This translates from sexual identity to academic achievement. No wonder we have so many children dropping out of school and bullying is at an epidemic high. We are all appalled and shock when we see the statistics. The recent suicides have produced young martyrs.

    It is so important that we not take anything for granted. We have to teach our children and others compassion. It is necessary that we stop the bullying that goes without punishment in our schools. Hate crime legislation must be enforced from the local levels all the way to the Supreme Court.

    If you know of some young people that need help have them contact the Trevor Project at http://www.thetrevorproject.org It is an organization that helps save the youth from committing suicide. They also offer emotional support and guidance for those that are having trouble finding themselves. Sometimes they are just a non-judgmental listeners. I think we can all do more listening too.

  2. jehangir

    Well said Mr Clark !
    If we in america spend a little time at home, teaching our kids to be compassionate we may begin a journey to a more tolerant respectful society.
    Instead we tend to teach kids to be ‘ successfull and rich and powerful ‘ and not ‘loving, generous and accepting’
    Kid’s hearts and minds are pure until corrupted by the bigotry of adult minds. We harm them by teaching them intolerant values at home. The world is full of beautiful humans , of different colors,religions and sexual orientations. WE NEED TO EMBRACE THAT !!!!!

  3. Love the article and the photo that goes with it. It is just great!! And I know somebody who puts all her life – to help kids from poor families to get an art education – her name is Dawne Camera –

  4. I think the article shows how cruel kids can be to each other. We try to teach our kids to be compassionate to others and be creative in their thinking but sometimes feel they have to keep things to them selfs in fear of what others will think.

  5. I enjoyed reading this article as I see how it really relates to life as it is today! I think that art is a great way to express whatever is inside a person. Some are gifted and know it. Some are gifted and don’t know it! I’d like to address those who are gifted and don’t know it. As a teacher of art for children and adults. I see everyday children who have talent, but think they don’t. They have a low opinion of themselves, but as they begin to excel in art, I see changes that are unbelievable – changes that affect every area of their lives, their school work, relationships, themselves.

    As a teacher, I think it is part of my job to bring that talent forth from the child or adult! What a joy to see it blossom. It takes guts to put it out there even for children, especially when they are not sure it will be accepted! We can learn a lot from a child, I know I have! I learn new things everyday – it makes my life exciting!

  6. For me, art was a refugee from a life that was challenging and the possibility of expressing my feelings on canvas. It gave me relief, sometimes of tensions and panic that for a long time was a part of my life. I do not think that art by itself is in contradiction to machismo, and Kate’s article is expressingit very nicely. On the other hand, art can be a very powerful tool for education. Education is the only tool that can solve many leading problems of our time (this is hopeful thinking).
    Art is beautiful, this is food for the soul and the spirit as well as art has healing powers.What more can I say?

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