Buzz

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
A Dallas-Fort Worth artists group found themselves in a Mexican standoff with censors at an Abilene art museum. Both sides lost.

The director of Abilene's Grace Museum and Cultural Center, Terence Keane, told members of WAVE, a visual artists' forum, that two photos by Patricia Ridenour would not be shown in WAVE's "Indelicate Balance" exhibit at the gallery because they would likely generate patron complaints.

Beyond the censorship, the artists denounced the museum's decision as sexist because the two photographs banned were frontal nudes of men, but a third Ridenour photograph depicting a female frontal nude was not banned.

"The Grace Museum's decision to exhibit female nudes but censor male nudes creates a dangerous hybrid--a combination of censorship and sexism," says Terri Cummings, WAVE president-elect.

Keane argues that because his facility also houses a children's museum, nude photographs are inappropriate. "We go to great lengths to attract family audiences." As for the sexism charge, Keane flatly denies it. The male nudes were explicit, he says, while the female nude was "very subtle."

WAVE proposed a compromise in an effort to keep the exhibit intact, offering to place the objectionable nudes in more "visually discreet" locations within the gallery. But this plan was rejected. Frustrated, WAVE members unanimously voted to withdraw the entire 20-piece exhibition.

"Abilene is not an unsophisticated viewing public," says WAVE spokeswoman Terri Cummings. "The museum isn't giving them credit. One reason art exists is to react to it. To discuss it."

I am Kay; hear me roar
Kay Bailey Hutchison a feminist shero?
According to none other than Kathleen Hall Jamie-son, dean of the Annenberg School for Communica-tion, University of Pennsylvania, Texas' Republican senator--who has been called a "Breck Girl," the "Ice Queen," and worse--is a credit to her gender for dealing with exactly that kind of backlash.

In Jamieson's new book, Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership, she says Hutchison, like many women leaders, has been the victim of the sexist double bind that damns women if they're assertive but denies them power if they're not.

During her campaigns for Senate, the media insisted on using words that identified Hutchison's gender, Jamieson says, such as a campaign headline in The New York Times calling her a "demure survivor." And Hutchison, like most women candidates, was subjected to "unique biographical dissection," as in a Washington Post article that led with her being a former University of Texas cheerleader and didn't list her experience as state treasurer and as a legislator (as well as prom queen) until five paragraphs later.

But Jamieson says Hutchison is exceptional because she not only fought the double bind--she turned the tables on it, and won. In 1993, Hutchison used what Jamieson calls the "Silence/Shame Bind," which condemns assertive speech in women with words like "shrill" or "strident," against her male opponent.

"Kay Bailey Hutchison dextrously switched stereotypes usually used against women on her male opponent, Democrat Bob Krueger, saying in response to his charges, 'I think he's getting hysterical...He is out of control.'

 
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