This post is part of a series of reflections about Imago Theatre’s Youth Mentorship Program, ARTISTA, by program mentors and mentees. Here Julie Tamiko Manning (ARTISTA Mentor) reflects on the value of the program.
I am angry a lot of the time. Not the kind of anger where I go around spitting and hitting and laying my anger on other people- unfortunately I turn my anger inside. Towards myself. Maybe I need little sticky-notes to remind myself to be kind to myself- little motivational yellow squares- because it’s so easy to slip into self-abuse when the world seems to want you to be more than what you are: prettier, thinner, blonder, fitter, richer, more successful, smarter…
For the most part, I know what makes me angry: misogyny. I would say that 75% of my anger exists because of misogyny. This anger seems insurmountable, because how does one battle something that is SO PRESENT and INSIDIOUS? It’s even present within ourselves, I mean, SEE PARAGRAPH ABOVE! Even when I don’t think it’s there, IT’S THERE. Obviously, I do not speak for everyone but most of the women I know do not treat themselves fairly. Is this because misogyny has been bred into us? That is a gutting, depressing thought, but it leads me to ask the question, or rather, make the statement: “Why don’t we breed it OUT of ourselves!”
So, what happens when you put a group of established female artists who are consciously fighting against misogyny, together with a group of curious young women, to lead them away from misogynistic thinking? What if this group of women and girls were there to support, teach, lead, value, question, discuss, create and work with each other, as a community of women- not to devalue the importance of men- but to increase the value of ourselves. What happens when a woman’s gaze on the world is just as valuable as the gaze of a man? What happens when we can be motivational sticky-notes for each other, rather than default to and perpetuate an old way of thinking?
Mentoring young women reinvigorates my confidence, pride, identity and gives me a sense of connection and responsibility to my community. I guide and am guided. It’s a beautiful and necessary circle. This is how I re-direct my anger into love and kindness and positive action.
Fuck misogyny and long live Artista.
Julie Tamiko Manning – ARTISTA Mentor