MINISTRY OF ♀ (work-in-progress)
We all know the stereotypes – the femme fatale, the naïve child, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, mainstream media — television, music, film, popular magazines — bombards us with images that objectify, eroticize, demean, and dehumanize females. The collective message is that a female’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality; not her capacity as an intellectual or a leader. Capability should be questioned; successes downplayed; emotionality devalued and mocked; and sexuality scrutinized and exploited. Females are hacked apart and then reorganized into ‘acceptable’ packages. The persuasive, inescapable force of mainstream media shapes cultural norms across the globe, affecting body image and self-identity, limiting the representation of females in positions of power and ultimately, contributing to the continued acts of violence against females.
MINISTRY OF ♀, an evening-length contemporary dance-theater performance, explores what it means to simply ‘be’ female in today’s world under the pressures of femininity objectified. Through the examination of media driven archetypes and clichés, MINISTRY OF ♀ illustrates the disturbing, unattainable standards created by gender stereotypes and society’s overall appropriation of the female experience. Drawing inspiration from the personal experience of the dancers, poetry by Eve Ensler, text by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and iconic images generated by fashion magazines, television shows and Hollywood blockbusters, KAIROS’ five professional dancers perform in and out of 7-inch platform shoes; vacillating between truism and truth, revealing a vast emotional landscape; shining a light on the extreme divisions feminine objectifications have wrought on bodies and minds; aiming to be a catalyst for rewriting the narrative. Five excerpts from this project currently exist: Blue Girl Gold, CROWN, #LikeAHammer, HYSTERA, and Resting Wish Face. MINISTRY OF ♀ will premiere in its entirety in Boston in 2018 and include lighting design by Lynda Rieman; fashion design by Carlos Villamil; digital media by Alison Kotin; and set design by Corinne Chase.