Yesterday I began setting up the Hen House Installation at Bay College West in Iron Mountain. I am so grateful for the help many gave me, including Vincent, Pat, Chad, Jeff and my dear Russell.
Below are details about the hens.
For this installation, I began with the term “hen”. In Scotland, hen is used as a term of endearment for females. I decided to look at some of the changes women made beginning in 1910 through 2010. The “hens” I chose to had some kind of a connection for me.
On Sunday afternoons when growing up in rural Ohio, Channel 11 in Toledo would show old movies and silent films. Mae West and W.C. Fields starred in one of those movies. Mae West began her vaudeville career in 1910 with the help from her mother. She was certainly out of the box for that time period! One of her many quotes is, “Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.”
1920 brought about the “flapper”; a woman perceived to do things out of the social norm like wearing short hair, being loud, drinking, smoking and other forms of brash behavior for that time. Clara Bow, a famous flapper, was known for her sex appeal and was a popular for her acting in silent movies. ”The more I see of men, the more I like dogs”, was one of her quotes.
Amelia Earhart brought great adventure to America in the 1930′s with her skilled abilities as a female pilot. Amelia said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
1940′s brought on World War II and Rosie Riviter, the quintessential female who worked in the factories to help win the war.
In 1950′s, after the war was over, the women were expected to not only give up their jobs to the men who came home from the war, but to go home and be the perfect housewife. Many women did that and found themselves very isolated out in the suburbs, depressed and used alcohol and drugs to ease their pain. I named this hen after Donna Reed.
I recall seeing young women dancers on TV in the 1960′s with their mod apparel and go-go boots dancing to rock and roll. The civil rights movement was also gaining more momentum during this time period. This hen I named Pucci for the modern style of design, similar to the pattern on her dress.
In the 70′s, I saw many images of women working for the Equal Rights Amendment. This hen I named after Gloria Steinem and the work she did for feminists.
Olivia Newton John helped to make popular the concept of physical fitness with her, “Let’s Get Physical” song in the 80′s. This period of time also brought about a push toward building inner strength in the body.
The 1990′s brought about many changes of female involvement in politics, from more women senators than ever in 1992, to Albright, Reno and Ginsberg holding high office positions. Hillary Clinton also became one of the most empowered first ladies of history. In spite of these milestones, some stats also show a plateau of women’s involvement occurring during the 1990’s. This time period also brought to the courts many issues direct involving females like sexual harassment and violence against women. It also marked the period of third-wave feminism which encompassed women of color, non-heterosexuals, low income, and women issues from a global perspective. This hen I named Mary after a local judge in our city.
Millennium Millie welcomes us to the 2000′s with her party dress, rhinestones and sparkles. She marks the beginning of a new time; we all survived Y2K without computers shutting down and causing great disasters.
Ava represents the generation of young women in this 2010 decade. The young Ava’s are going over the boundaries, and they do not let old considerations hold them back when those considerations no longer exist or simply do not apply. Ava is a free range hen!