Good Taste: Frosting Feminism


I'm interested in the limits and variability of perception. Every living being perceives a different reality based on the functions of its brain and senses, creating a spectrum of legitimate realities. With a kaleidoscope of known realities, how is it that we, as a culture, treat visual beauty as an absolute? We are so committed to the realness of beauty, despite being a side effect of the sensory perceptions our bodies have developed as survival tools. Yet, great importance is placed on recognizing something as beautiful — this is called good taste. I'm suggesting that good taste is not a matter of aesthetic preference, but a mechanism of control. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of power.

I'm trying to apply this hyper-feminine, frivolous, delicious thing to a more philosophical idea, asserting my own (girly) perception into a reality other beings can perceive. It has feminist roots, elevating the art form of cake decorating, which I learned among these highly-skilled women and queers who were paid next to nothing in Indiana for rendering extremely beautiful and temporary creations. I've worked as a cake decorator in different cities for several years now and find consistently that the skill is held mostly by women and queer or femme-presenting people who are marvelously artistic and wildly under-compensated.



Betsy Stout is a Chicago-based print and sculpture artist. 

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