Samira Elagoz

Leestijd 2 — 5 minuten

Recht van antwoord: Response to Ilse Ghekiere’s feature about sexism on stage

I’ve received critique in the past, however, this particular piece contains statements that are worrying, especially coming from an anti-sexism activist. So I feel compelled to write some thoughts, though to be clear, not to serve as an explanation or defence of my work.

To preface, if one intends to critique they should at least endeavour to quote a work correctly. Disappointingly, here is a text that is at best intentionally simplifying and at worst deforming what my work depicts just to sloppily form a point. In order to refute I’m forced to be banally factual.

In my work, I don’t state I’ve overcome my trauma. And I most certainly don’t imply it would be because three of the men I filmed (out of 77) practiced Dom/Sub sexual play and told me, not “how they view women”, but how the psychology of that play is for them.

Even though the work contains imagery of myself in many different contexts Ilse Ghekiere’s focus is mockingly limited. It seems she feels solutions lie in specific forms of de-sexualisation or that certain imagery has no place in her version of such performance as mine. I hoped the discourse on this had progressed beyond shaming sexualised images, regardless to which beauty standard they conform. We have been living in the era of women having ownership of their image for enough time that the activist could take notice of it as a platform for expression. (Sexual and otherwise, and not just as a quest for liberation.)

Her text implies if we are not striving to be above convention, not propagating idealism, we should just quiet down and let the crusaders among us lead the conversation. Which seems to me narrow-minded and harmful to the movement as a whole. She alludes it’s not enough I made this work, it should be overtly rebelling against the “status quo”, that it should be accessible to “all women”. I think such an endeavour would have taken a special kind of conceit, not to mention ignorance.

I believe it is not only complex to cope with rape but that there are multiple ways to handle such trauma, one doesn’t have to identify for the experience to be valid or even understandable. To suggest my way is relevant only to those she specifies is a disservice to the empathy and empowerment we can feel from narratives that are other than our own.

Running a movement on breaking the silence and then stating you’d “prefer to look away” when someone actually does, seems not only hypocritical but contaminates her credibility as someone who is trying to be at the forefront of these issues.

open brief
Leestijd 2 — 5 minuten

Samira Elagoz

Samira Elagoz (1989) is een Fins/Egyptische kunstenares die momenteel in Amsterdam woont. Ze studeerde af als choreografe aan het SNDO in Amsterdam in 2016. Sindsdien presenteerde ze haar beide afstudeerprojecten op tal van internationale film- en performance festivals.

open brief