What is it that we find so riveting about roller derby girls breastfeeding?
Perhaps it's the contrast. The idea of rollerderby, the fact it's a contact sport and a little bad-ass, combined with the soft, nurturing role of breastfeeding mother. It's also an archetypal image- the Madonna and Child image- but with a twist. It's slightly subversive to combine the image of a full contact sport with the role of motherhood, especially breastfeeding. Even the visual contrast of the hard equipment with the softness of breastfeeding is interesting. It's wonderful, because it questions our notions of what women are, and what it means to be female.
Blister Sister and Scarlet by Kate Wilhelm
I included the above photo in my Sunday Feature on Kate Wilhelm. Wilhelm herself writes: "Derby throws any notions of femininity in your face. Yet many derby girls are mothers, (perhaps the ultimate "feminine" vocation), and the bouts are extremely family friendly. Immediately I wanted to get to know more about the women behind the derby personas. So, I invited myself into their homes, their private domestic spaces, the arena that is historically and culturally seen as women's space. I want the apparent incongruity of a derby girl in a domestic setting to cause the viewer to think about that incongruity and wonder if it is perhaps nothing more than a construct."
I love these images because they broaden our idea of what it means to be a woman. These women are all strong and a little dangerous, but undeniably female and maternal as well. It shows different layers and facets of what it means to be female. It also shows a unique perspective on breastfeeding, and the more breastfeeding images we have out there the less likely it will be taboo.
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.