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Untitled (We Don't Need Another Hero)
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svdgrift's picture

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Am I the only one who immediately thinks of 1980s Mad Max or am I just getting old?

Both the 3rd Mad Max and Barbara’s artwork were made around the same time, 31 years ago. Barb’s work has nothing to do with post-apocalyptic adventures, a young Mel Gibson as "Mad" Max Rockatansky, or Tina Turner as awesome Aunty Entity, the ruthless ruler of Bartertown.

But back to Barbara: her works are usually a combination of black and white images, taken from mainstream media with a contradictory text on top of it. In this case it is an image of young girl Jane poking little Dave’s arm muscle. The image resembles 40s/ 50s style advertisement with a similar old-fashioned message. The girl looks mesmerized by the boy’s muscles and the boy is just being a little tough guy. It shows how clichéd gender roles and stereotypes are dictated and reinforced through the media. Women are trained to look up to men and to see them as the powerful and wise guards we need to survive while men are expected to be heartless douchebags. Yeah, that sounds familiar.

But, we don’t need another hero right? Like in most of Barbara’s works the text she uses contradicts the image. Gender roles as we see them in the image are too restricting, no-one can fit perfectly into these male or female roles. We don’t need another hero, women don’t need men. Because “all we want is a life beyond Thunderdome”...or maybe a life without forced gender stereotypes. You pick.