Tuesday, March 29, 2011

House No. 88: Rapunzel's Tower

House No. 88: Rapunzel's Tower
thread spools, thimble, embroidery floss, acrylic paint
1.75 in. x 8 in. x 1.75 in
088/365; 03/29/11

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.


Here, I've created Rapunzel's tower and her hair out of repurposed domestic tools. Fairy tales and domesticity are typical bed fellows. Women's work, I suppose, would understandably lead to fantasy lives of princesses being rescued. The original tales seem to have additional caution against the fantasies themselves, with gory and sad endings.

The stories have limited options for women, and the female characters who attempt to break the mold are often punished for attempting to break from their molds. It's interesting that I hold these stories dear as sweet iconography while simultaneously being discomforted by the details and abhorring the lessons they teach to girls about female roles. (Though to be fair, a lot of that emotion is directed at the modern take on the stories (read: Disney) and their unrelenting and ubiquitous licensing and marketing.)

Rapunzel is a tale that features acquiescence to kidnapping, solitary confinement in a rather phallic tower (with no apparent place to bathe or relieve oneself, something that troubled me as a child), and a utilitarian fashion choice that would require a neck brace. Add to that the whole sexualization/power of hair angle (RE: Samson* and Delilah, &c.) and you have a Women's Studies dissertation in a story book.

*Interestingly, both Samson and Rapunzel's prince have their eyes gouged out after the hair cutting in their respective stories. Like I said, there is some serious essay possibilities in this story alone.


  1. Oh, there's my weave...thanks for finding it! ;D

  2. I'd never want to live on top of a tower...unless you were designing it! Love the braid, such a great touch.

  3. I love your reading of the story, and the use of "repurposed domestic tools" is fantastic. In college I made a briefcase from canning lids as an exploration of women's work.

  4. Disney (boo)

    Your take on Rapunzel's tower ~ oh yeah!

    Basically, I'm all for the magic of possibilities but have instructed my daughter that being a Queen, in lieu of being a princess, is where it's at. She replied, "Yeah, but you're the queen which makes me the princess!" I laughed and then we had a talk about not waiting for anyone to rescue you.

    We steer fairly clear of all the princess nonsense that Disney puts out, but make exceptions where they are involved with Pixar, of course.