“One Is Not Born, but Rather Becomes, a Woman.”
—Simone de Beauvoir
Women today face injustices of all kinds. Some of these, like sexual harassment, are found nearly everywhere (one in six women is a victim in the U.S., for example), while others, like the arranged marriages some Indian girls are forced into, are specific to certain countries or regions.
Sexual harassment and arranged marriage are only two very visual manifestations of injustice. Often the problems women face are a subtler, less visible oppression. In patriarchal society women have certain roles: an age-old voice tells you to be obedient, gentle, maternal, proper, good, and when the situation requires it, you have to erase your true self and become what you’re supposed to be.
时至今日，女性承受的不正义仍然持续，没有淡去，没有停息过。在印度，有些女孩连青春的滋味都没有尝过，就被迫施上厚重的脂粉，出嫁成为一个女人；或是在美国，根据反性暴力组织 RAINN 过去五年来的调查，每六位女性就有一位坦承遭遇过性骚扰。
而这只是冰山一角，在其他地方，女性面临到的问题也许不是实质上的暴力，而是一种潜移默化的隐性压迫。父权社会为女性定义出许多规范，一个自古以来的声音告诉女孩们要听话、要温柔、要持家、要当个有操守的好女人。情况必要的话，你要抹去真正的自我，以成为一个 “你” 该有的样子。
“It Was As If I Had to Grow Up Again
As a Thai woman.”
Kawita Vatanajyankur learned about women’s roles in Thailand only as an adult. A Thai artist who spent her teenage years in Melbourne, Vatanajyankur didn’t experience her homeland’s sexism until she moved back to Bangkok. She felt like a complete outsider who didn’t fit in. “Society has strong beliefs for how women should behave,” she says. “Women have to do things that men never have to do, like being the emotional shelters of their homes, being housewives. Women also work everyday to gain a particular social status, while also having to fill the traditional role of being a ‘good’ woman.”
“我好像必须以一个 ‘泰国女人’ 的身份重新成长一次。”
这是泰国籍艺术家 Kawita Vatanajyankur 面临到同样问题时，心里所得出的结论。她从小在澳大利亚墨尔本成长，当正式搬回家乡泰国曼谷居住，至深体会到当地社会对待女性的不公平，她觉得自己像是一个彻底的外来者，无法融入。“我们的社会为女性立下各种角色设定，我们要做一些男人永远不用做的事情，当一个家庭的情感庇护所、家庭主妇。我们既要努力工作以争取一定的社会地位，同时也被要求当一个被传统认可的 ‘好女人’。”
“So I Asked, Does Every Woman
Have to Be So Subservient?”
What does being a “good” woman entail? Silently accepting society’s appointed duties? Vatanajyankur finds that some chores always fall to women, especially cooking and cleaning: washing clothes, sweeping the floor, rinsing rice, slicing melons, weighing vegetables, gutting fish, etc. Many women work day and night, not unlike the machines that people say may one day replace human labor. Vatanajyankur responds to this inequality by raising questions through her art—and using her own body as a medium.
好女人的定义为何呢？是否包含被噤声似的接受社会指派给女人的责任？Kawita 发现有一些劳动工作，比如洗衣、筛米、剖瓜、秤菜、打扫、处理渔获等等，向来都只落在女人身上。在这机器即将取代人力的社会里，有一群女人却形同机器，日日夜夜的劳动着。眼见这样不对等的待遇，Kawita 运用艺术来提出质问——而她的创作媒介即是自己的身体。
Vatanajyankur simulates various tools, carrying out a task over and over in what appear to be painful performances. She puts her body in extremely uncomfortable positions, suspending herself from a rope, for example, or carrying an unimaginably heavy burden on a pole. Asked why she persists with these extreme solo performance methods, she answers, “I have to do the performances alone because I want to test myself. I always want to know whether pain can be decreased and eliminated.”
她将自己模拟成劳动的工具，一个人反覆操作，单独进行这样看似痛苦的表演，把身体放置在一个极不舒服的位置，有时候只用一条绳子悬挂着，或是在杆上承担超乎想像的重量。问到为何坚持这样极端的表演方式？她回答 “我的艺术一部份也是在挑战我自己的极限。‘疼痛是否可以被减轻或移除？’ 这是我不断问自己的问题。”
“When Performing, My Strength Increases.”
But people are not tools—they possess thoughts and feelings. When performing, Vatanajyankur needs to constantly convince herself she is “no longer there” and minimize her sense of self. Only then can she turn herself into a tool, an unfeeling implement. “It seems painful when you’re in the audience, but as a performer, as I push the boundaries of my limits, my strength increases and my pain is removed through the process of losing my sense of self. I’m stronger than ever while performing these works,” she says. “Making art has made me understand myself. It helps me find a true meaning of life, as I search for the universal truth that lies beyond tradition. I will definitely continue to be a voice for women all around the world.”
人和工具的区别，在于是否拥有思考和感受，Kawita 在表演时必须不断说服自己是 “不在场的”，以把自我意识降到最低，才能真正将自己 “工具化”，成为一个没有感觉的器具。“ 一旦我移除了自己的存在感，我的感受也被移除了。你看我的表演也许会觉得我当下很不舒服，但当我把自己的极限推得越来越远，我反而能在表演过程中获得很大的力量，一种由疼痛转化而来的巨大力量。我从来没有感到自己如此坚强过。艺术让我更了解自己，帮助我找到除了遵循传统之外，关于生命更真实的意义。如果可以，我会继续为女性发声。”