In 2011, when I started shooting the Male Supremacy Complex series, I had the blues. I was living with a man in a humiliating situation that many women are familiar with. I was required to do all of the housekeeping myself after working long days as an attorney and I was often the target of my partner's unrelenting anger. Ironically, he reduced me to picking up his dirty socks even though he considered himself a feminist. His refusal to play an equal part in doing menial tasks and his emotional violence, made me feel profoundly inferior and, for months, I felt discouraged from making art. When I resolved to leave him, I began making artwork again and, not surprisingly, I returned to my feminist roots and produced work exploring notions of male superiority.
The Male Supremacy Complex series illustrates comments people have made about differences in gender that suggest that men are better than women or that women are inherently flawed. I think that this kind of thinking is partly responsible for preparing some men to reduce their lovers to sock-picker-uppers, to engage in emotional violence at home, to hurt women they live with.
Some men have told me they feel uncomfortable about this series because they think it attacks men. They point out that we've come a long way, baby, and women hurt men too. I recognize that many men, like my current boyfriend (who appears in the American Values series), some of my professors, the men in my family, and the men I work with, treat women as their equals and think doing anything short of that is unjust. I appreciate that the feminist movement is responsible for profound changes in society, but it's undeniable that men generally have the upper hand inside and outside of the home even though there are wonderful exceptions. I didn't have to look long for any of these quotes (some of which, in context, are actually feminist). I am still working on the series so, if you find quotes that you think I could illustrate in a photo, please send them to enidcrow [at] hotmail.com.
3. "Observe most men sitting in a chair around a conference table . . ." M. Elizabeth Cannon and Kathleen Sendall, "Personal Style," Success Strategies for Women in Science: A Portable Mentor, Peggy A. Pritchard, ed. (Academic Press 2011), p. 180.
4. "The proposal that men hunt wild game . . ." M. Gurven & K. Hill, "Why do men hunt? A reevaluation of 'man the hunter' and the sexual division of labor," Current Anthropology, Feb. 2009, pp. 51-74.
5. "Ironically, by supporting restrictions on the Second Amendment . . ." The second half of this quote comes from the 2013 testimony of gun advocate Gayle S. Trotter before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.