Friday, January 1, 2016
And in the corner of the garden stood the headless women... At the far end of the parking lot at the Mattress Factory Museum, there is an overgrown garden which is now peopled by the beheaded statues of women, brought together for an exhibition years ago at the museum, but then simply stayed. Classic not only in dress and form, but also in having lost their heads. A time honored tradition of men lopping the heads off of statuary, particularly female statuary, for something to do, possibly providing the male thugs an opportunity to bond over their appetite for destruction and misogyny. While this is actually a 'thing', the beheading of statues representing women, there is precious little written about it, at least on the internet because I am finding nada, nyet, nil. Which leaves me the beggars argument: Anecdotal evidence.
I do not believe that it was the result of a random act of vandalism that the two statues representing female Roman gods had a hammer taken to their faces while the male gods are unmarred. These statues are (or were) placed in the Elizabethan Gardens in North Carolina. We visited there in June of 2012 for something to do, as we had our mothers vacationing with us on the Outer Banks, and old ladies like gardens, flowers, bees. Since all four of these statues are placed together, it was impossible not to notice what had happened to two of them. But then, maybe I look for it. Is the instance of headless female statuary prevalent or incidental? Of course I don't believe that its incidental because so rarely have I come across a headless male statue in a public space (park, cemetery) that I couldn't even give you a single instance. I realize that my experience isn't enough to be conclusive for anyone other than me, but it does color how I view these things when I come upon them. They are not simply acts of vandals, but indicative of a deeper, age old, struggle. Perhaps THE struggle, the one that will always exist.