The Loss

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‘Silhouette; burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes

Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

The Loss is a short fiction works written by Alison Little. It was produced in responce to ‘Silhouette: burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes which was exhibited as part of The Errant Muse exhibition held at the VG&M in Liverpool.

The Loss

Sunlight brandishes down on the desolate beach location, she lies stretched out on her front, body twisted towards the horizon of the sea. Hand raised above her eyes, blocking the sunlight attempting to obscure her vision.

Eyes scanning the spectrum for him, she has lost sight into the expanse of the ocean. Only out of sight she assumes, hidden between waves lashing against the rocks of the coastline. Her rear is arched slightly, enhanced by the slender fit summer dress. Knees encased by the warmth of the dry sands. Earlier, her feet had kicked up joyfully towards her rear, playfulness re-connected in adulthood, now tensed. Below her, the sands burn a deeper orange.

A hand crochet blanket, hours of pain, distraction-seeking hooked yarn, covers the sands she rests on. It was the only thing for her to do, removing her mind from the loss. There was no point in making any more baby clothes, she didn’t know what to do with the collection she had already made, laid out in the draw she had lined. They would decide in unison after the negotiated break.

Vision streaming further into the ocean, she could still not see him. They had waited four weeks since the miscarriage to get away, both needed to arrange time off work. Making the blanket had kept her mind occupied, kept the tears from flowing full force. They had come to Swanage in Dorset, easy to book a B+B at limited notice. The main town beach had been packed full of babies and children, grown into what their foetus would have once become. He had taken the initiative to suggest walking to a more remote beach around the coast. He was trying to be strong for her but he was grieving the loss in tandem.

Further, into the ocean, a longboat jammed full of tourists heads towards deeper waters. All the trips they would never take their unborn child on, the picnics they would never consummate, the family games they would never play. Into the abyss, the no-more, her hand fell onto her reduced stomach. A light tear joins her face, panic sets in, she couldn’t see him. What if she had lost him also, drawn out to the infinite seascape. As she is about to stand several petals drop down onto her smudged checks. Looking up, he is scattering wildflower petals over her, their eyes connect and they smile in unison. He joins her as they wrap into each other, minds and bodies link, they know everything will be okay again.

The Errant Muse

Charlotte Hodes has two further exhibitions later in the year:

Remember Me, Charlotte Hodes Papercuts & Ceramics Solo exhibition, National Centre for Craft & Design, 11 Jan – 22 March 2020

Most Admirably Improved by Art, Hestercombe, Somerset, 29 February – 28 June 2020

Mrs Trump

 

Mrs Trump

Although Mrs Trump and other characters in the narrative are real, this is strictly a fiction works and the actions and events are not based on real life.

Mrs Trump gazes over the silver-framed Wedding photo they have positioned on the intricacies of their mantelpiece. The happy day: a falsehood, like herself, a manufactured outer shell. He owns her like his property empire, the White House, the Billionaire who purchased the United States, if not the World. Her vision moves towards the photos from their honeymoon. Modest, but designer suited, backed by the vision of a meadow. A meadow which they never walked in, only fantasies of jumping and throwing things at each other as she gathers wild flowers. A nature she had never submersed herself in, not even in youth. Even when at the beaches of the tropics, she goes no further than the spotlessly cleaned lounge areas of the most luxurious hotels.

Eyes manoeuvre back towards the image of the big day. The bridesmaid from her side, a cousin she hardly new flown over from Slovenia. A girl who would look good in the dress the stylist selected for her which she didn’t question. The bridesmaid figure they were able to call up and slot in again when needed for media stated family occasions, now replaced by their son.

The fallacy of the photograph, as she looks over she feels nothing. Void of emotions or signs of dissatisfaction with the home life she has built up. A fake marriage, a collection of houses in which she didn’t enjoy living. A husband whose affections wonder over those he can afford. Horses they hire people to ride, the land they purchase as simply a pleasant view from the windows. Dead inside, presenting a placid outer shell. Simply stand by his side. Mrs Trump: the ultimate purchase, a representation of beauty, an outer crater containing nothing but stale air.

Reminiscing on the excitement of her youth before she became the third Mrs Trump. The wild all-night parties of her modelling work, Milan, then Paris. A smile takes over her face and her lower lips become moist as she recalls the thrill of jetting into London to bare all for GQ magazine. Fully naked, draped over furs, neck adorned by jewels as she looked directly at the lens. When she had it all ahead of her, desired by all, she could have made any man her partner.

Fingers run over the jewel of her neck piece she selected earlier in the evening. The fulfilment she had felt when she had established her own jewellery business, the company she had been forced to abandon as it was deemed unfitting for the President’s Spouse. The PC role she now plays helping children’s charities. The glamour of the jewels given up for the dust-ridden dorms and desolate units of children’s homes. The special attention she has been directed to give towards the harm opioids can do to the foetus. Not her instigation, could pregnant women on heroin, really, not work out they are harming their unborn children for themselves?

Legs rested on the footstool, she leans back into the comfort on the leathers of the settee. Eyes wandering around one of many living rooms of the White House, gazing through the expanse of the interior. Her memories re-engage with the modest apartment in which she was raised. The entire residence for her parents and there two daughters to live being the same size as the room she is currently seated. As she sips her gin and tonic she contemplates the separate beds her and her husband now sleep. When their relationship had started they indulged in sex multiple time a day, now they rarely even touch one another. The son they had together, the boy they hardly know due to the amount of time he spends away at school. She is ambient to his meagre attempts to hide his latest affair, a brave front made up and ignored. She had acquired all the riches a woman could desire, but right now she recognises she was happier squashed into the apartment block of her childhood surrounded by the love of her family.

There can be no return, no escape, no way of leaving the most powerful man in the World. Again, her vision gazes towards the mantelpiece, this time toward the bottle of pills, her eyes look down towards the ice in her gin and tonic.

No, she will continue to dress for the press, stand by his side and present herself as ‘The Wife’, her envisaged role.

For now anyway……

The Eternal I

Brests

Explicit content warning

The Eternal I

I am the all
I am the only
I am an example for others
I am all that matters
I am my ultimate muse

Standing, average size in height. Pleasant facial features, nothing extraordinary, a relatively forgettable portrait shot. Plastered on layers of make-up, a full face, foundation, powder topped up continually. Lip liner, lipstick, where possible drinking through a straw avoiding a devastating smudge.

Hair parted to a standard off centre, cut to a dictated norm of long, slightly below the shoulders. Bleached blond, the only way to be, flaxen supremacy achieved through beautification. Regular root touch up, straightened and set at the salon weekly. Modified, hairbrush heat, a week of keeping dry to ensure the best of my appearance.

Bust enhanced cosmetically, cheap but not in the financial sense. The bigger the better, the instruction given to the consultant. Thousands parted to become a sexual commodity.

Chest ripping through tops cut low, then lower again. The breasts are tools of control, they make her desirable. She plants them in faces, pushing them into vision, projecting them into power. Eyes are drawn into cleavage, manoeuvre to manipulate.

Under the bosom, there is nothing of consequence. Dressed in smart blacks to look slimmer, pulling in the extra few pounds. In conversation, little to say other than on the subject of herself. No real family or friends of sorts, though little of by colleagues, another new partner with her unintentionally. Sex is something she endures, lying back as he penetrates, ejaculating into the rubbish bin of her female form. Vagina a goal, her pleasure of no concern.

I am ego-centric to the core
I am my subject matter
I am an acquisition
I am my cleavage locator
I am my breasts.

I am only my breasts…..

 

‘The Eternal I’ is the latest flash fiction works from Alison Little. Written as a response to the Errant Muse exhibition held at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool.

 

More about The Errant Muse

A Void

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A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Convict Blanket

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Convict blanket is the latest art activism works from concept-based arts practitioner, Alison Little. A sensation to shock and stand against rape, rape culture and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime within our society.

Convict blanket confronts us with the homage style of using material available, in this case, the humble scratch provoking woollen coverings of the bed. The use of blanket stitch and appliqué reminiscent of techniques used in prison protests where all resources must be reclaimed from the sparse provisions available when incarcerated. The blanket is floor-based, slightly raised to one side. The text and images locate with the nearest edge in which they are placed, allowing the viewer to read the statements as their paths encircle the form. The use of hand-embroidered text reminiscent of the marker pen on corrugated card portrayals commonplace throughout activism. Texts vary in scale, case and font in regards to the emphasis placed on the statement which is being presented. Large bold statements often present definitive assertions, small joined-up style wording is often examples of dialogue and opinions of the minority. The black text looks to address how to reduce the numbers of sex attacks by convicting more rapists. In opposition, the red highlights issues within society and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime which are failing at every given opportunity. Although male rape is equally as relevant, this identifies with female rape which is statistically committed in greater numbers.

The first of the black text presents a printed abbreviation, ‘HMP‘. This is commonplace within the UK, ‘Her Majesties Prisons’ being the full term and the title for units of incarceration. The larger appliqué fonts present ‘Convict‘ and ‘Rapist‘, indicating an intention for more sex offenders to be serving custodial sentences. This is emphasized in greater detail by a well-defined corner based statement:

We must press for the conviction of more rapists.’

A powerful sentence, stating the motivation behind the activism, the use of the second person to engage the viewer with the protest.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is common among rape survivors is raised within smaller statements. Dressing down as a result of being raped is proposed, backed up by an image of a ‘Hide under’ hoodie. Larger texts draw attention to statistics:

‘1 in 10 rapes are reported to the Police, of these only 1 in 10 lead to a conviction.’

Due to current changes within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this figure is currently much lower. The statistic highlights how rape is one of the most under-reported crimes. The statement is reinforced by the pie chart indicating that only 1% of rapes committed lead to a conviction.

Patriarchy is addressed, male supremacy being a factor in why rape is not being tackled effectively. Police apathy over sexual assault cases is presented. Demands towards the recruitment of ‘Strong, capable women,’ are made, requesting women who will prioritise rape over trivia to be brought into the Police Force. Drawing attention to the vulnerability of the rape survivor, showing how there needs should be prioritized. The black statements concluding with the most vital statement of them all, the rapist being ‘100%‘ to blame for rape.

The red text looks to highlight why our society is failing to reduce numbers in terms of sexual assault and punishing more sex offenders through the penal system. The large appliqué terms read ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Victim Blaming’. Across the blanket, we have statements which highlight examples of victim-blaming, itself a factor within rape culture. Projections of low morals, promiscuous clothing, the rape survivor being presented as ‘The Whore’ and extreme example of ‘Slut-shaming’ are identified. Misconceptions around PTSD are given, many are still not aware that this condition is commonplace with rape survivors. The second delusion of rape being unusual is also stated. Narcotic and alcohol use are presented, suggestions that mild cannabis inhalation could result in hallucinations an example of ignorance. Again, blaming the victim through alcohol consumption, the concept of consenting to sex being overlooked.

Patriarchy being stated, showing the focus of the law to be on protecting men from being falsely accused of rape. How the Police Force is male-dominated, the notion of many of these ‘Men’ having little intentions of acting against rape, in this, recruiting weak, feeble women to actively fail rape survivors. This is developed by drawing attention to the actions of many Police Women, their sole contribution to a rape enquiry to be establishing what happens when they get dressed up, thus providing the opportunity for them to reflect on their superior beauty. The trivial nature of operatives, examples of attire being copied being prioritised as opposed to communicating the nature of the sex attack. This is matched by their counterparts, Policemen, many are only interested in their prowess, continually falsifying reports on how the rape survivor is attracted to themselves. Looking at the attitudes of Police personnel, those who feel that they are not expected to do anything in a rape case, the extremities being the role of the rape victim to protect and shelter vulnerable officers.

Ultimately, the saddest statement of all:

‘It was my fault I was rapped.’

The victims who blame themselves, a factor in why so many crimes are not reported to the authorities.

‘Convict Blanket’, innovative works, at the helm within the spectrum of art activism. Artwork which can challenge misconceptions around rape, concepts which can address issues in society and confront the authorities put in place to act against rape. Ultimately, ‘Convict Blanket’ will lead to the conviction of more rapists, reducing rape crime and proposes a safer society.

Convict Blanket will be exhibited from spring 2020.

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GHB

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Earlier in the week, we saw the conviction of serial rapist Reynhard Sinaga for a string of sex offences against 48 men, it is believed there were many more attacks. He drugged and filmed his victims during the assaults at his Manchester city-centre flat. His date rape drug of choice: GHB, how more than ever, men as well as women need to know the truth about this psychoactive substance.

GHB comes in several forms: a liquid, a powder, a pill or less commonly as a capsule. It is odourless, colourless and when added to a drink may only present a slightly salty taste. GHB is sometimes taken consensually, but equally a rapists drug of choice.

There are many effects caused by taking GHB:

Lowering of inhibitions

Difficulty concentrating or speaking

Loss of balance

Blurred vision

Memory loss

Confusion and disorientation

Paranoia

Nausea

Euphoria

Enhanced libido

Unconsciousness

Comma

Death

Sinaga left many of his victims in an almost comma-like state, the drug can result in death. Although traces of most date rape drugs are often present for up to 72 hours, GHB will have left the system within 12.

Ways to ensure you stay safe on a night out:

Be aware there can be predators present at any time.

GHB testing strips can be purchased

Stick with friends

Watch drinks at all times

Cover your drink with a hand

Don’t accept drinks from strangers

Take drinks with you into toilets

Consider bottled beverages as opposed to a draft choice

Ask the staff for help if you feel dizzy or strange

Plan how you are going to get home in advance

Talk to staff if you have lost friend, money or mobile phone.

Take taxi’s from designated safe areas if present

What to do if you suspect you have been a victim of date rape

Seek medical attention straight away, avoid showering or changing clothes.

Contact NHS

Contact Police (UK)

Greater Manchester Police said anyone who believes they might have been attacked by Sinaga can report information online or call its police line on 0800 092 0410 from inside the UK or 0207 158 0124 from abroad.

Remember

In a sex attack to predator is to blame, it is not the fault of the victim.

The majority of Sinaga’ victims were heterosexual men, he sort greater pleasure through preying on this group.

Quotes from Catherine MacKinnon

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Catherine MacKinnon, a mother of second-wave feminism, led the US movement alongside greats such as Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem. Primarily, a legal scholar, lecturing at institutions such as Harvard. Specialising in sexual harassment, pornography and prostitution. We take a look at some quotes from her acclaimed 1980’s publication, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on life and law.

”One of the advantages of male supremacy, along with money and speech and education and respectability, is sexual access to women, of which pornography is one form.”

”Marriage is women’s destiny, she defends and seeks to extend. Now, three out of five marriages end in divorce after about five years, leaving the woman with approximately one child, approximately no income, and a standard of living drastically below that of her former husband.”

”A recent study shows that the only difference between hookers and other women with similar class backgrounds is that prostitutes earn twice as much.”

”We resent being blamed for what men do to us, being told we provoked it when we are raped or sexually harassed, living in constant fear.”

”Men see rape ass intercourse: feminists say much intercourse is rape.”

”Sex blindness”

”The rule said that if Native American women married outside the tribe, the children of that union were not full tribe members: if Native American men married out, there were no such consequences.”

”Neo-Victorian prudery’

”What is not considered to be a hierarchy is women and men – men on top and women on the bottom.”

”Reproductive freedom”

”The problem is, the State has never in fact protected women’s dignity or bodily integrity.’

”Most rapes are intra-racial and committed by men the women know.”

”The purported plot of Deep Throat (Linda Lovelace) is premised upon rearranging the woman by putting a clitoris in her throat, so she gets sexual pleasure out of giving oral sex to men.”

”A critique of pornography is to feminism what defence  is to male supremacy.”


”This is what it means when feminists say that maleness is a form of power and femaleness is a form of powerlessness.”

”Women’s desire to be fucked by men is equal to men’s desire to fuck women.”

 

Quite simply, a great feminist icon here to inspire and move humanity forward.

 

 

Catherine MacKinnon

Feminist Unmodified