Women and the West
It seems unlikely to find individuals who are able to crystalize your ideas about a topic in a way that not only encompasses, but surpasses your own feelings around the subject. In reading "The West, when women are telling the story", an article in High Country News' November issue by Emily Wortman-Wunder, I discovered two authors who spoke eloquently on topics I have been grappling with this fall. Their thoughtful insight into writing, the West, and women spark a new discussion about their interrelation, spurring me to delve deeper into how one might re-evaluate femininity in the context of the modern American West.
Blair Braverman, author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, and Emily Ruskovich, author of Idaho, discuss with Wortman-Wunder the influx of female voices ready to join the ranks of famous nature writers. Several quotes from this article stuck a chord with my research into modes of femininity, coupled with a deep look at the role nature plays in informing and revealing identity.
The full article can be reached here.
Braverman speaks of gendered relationships between humans and nature and the traditional responses of men and women as depicted through writing. In crafting my collection of women's wear for the adventurer, I am prompted to address these typified roles, attempting to strike a delicate balance between strength and the ability to overcome extreme alpine conditions, the wild, raw gumption of a frontier-woman, and a gentle appreciation, respect, and awe for nature.
Ruskovich touches on another aspect of my research, that of heritage and layers of history. There is endless fascination in a drooping eave of a lone barn that mirrors the quiet desolation of an aging valley, just as there is endless fascination in the intricate handwork of an embroidered seat cover or monogramed handkerchief found discarded and lonesome in the basement of an antique store. These are the stoic, yet delicate, physical reminders of the ones who have come before us.