The Universal Archetype
Meet Carol Olimpo, another one of our winners and the author of the Universal Archetype essay. Carol talks in her inspiring essay about art, Roma womanhood, stereotypes, objectification and breaking free from the limitations imposed on us related to feminine archetypes. "My name is Carol Olimpo and I am a Lovaritsa. My mom is a black woman and my dad is the Romani one. I'm Brazilian. I was born in Rio de Janeiro. I'm a Feminist and I'm a Creative Writer. I started venturing into the world of creative writing and dramaturgy by the age of 13, now I'm 25, but I keep learning every single day. I am about to graduate from Filmmaking College, but I'm already an active indie producer."
The Universal Archetype
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Art has played a significant role in society throughout history, serving as a form of expression, communication, and entertainment. It has been an essential part of human civilization and reflects society's beliefs, values, and attitudes. In ancient times, art was often used for religious or ceremonial purposes, with sculptures and paintings depicting gods and goddesses, rituals, and mythological stories.
During the Renaissance, it became a means of exploring human emotions and the natural world. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo created works that celebrated human beauty and scientific discovery.
In the 20th century, art took on new forms with the rise of modernism and movements such as surrealism and abstract expressionism. So art became a way of challenging societal norms and exploring new ideas. But women and Womanhood remained there as a symbol, a coefficient, an object to be explored.
Artists can communicate their ideas, emotions, and perspectives through painting, sculpture, music, literature, film, and performance. They have the power to influence and shape society's values, beliefs, and attitudes and often serve as a mirror of the times in which they live.
Hence the need for female representation. This discussion has existed for years; thankfully, we reap the fruits of its evolution. But still, women have faced significant barriers to getting into the art world, including gender bias, discrimination, and lack of access to resources and opportunities.
"But women and womanhood remained there as a symbol."
Being a woman artist who writes about women can be a challenging and rewarding experience. On the one hand, it can be a powerful way to give voice to women's experiences, challenge societal norms and expectations, and create empowering narratives that highlight the strength and resilience of women. On the other hand, it can also be frustrating and disheartening to constantly stumble over archetypes and stereotypes that should have been overcome.
For many women artists, creating art that speaks to the female experience can involve confronting and dismantling centuries of patriarchal assumptions and beliefs — challenging gender roles and stereotypes, exploring issues related to gender inequality, and amplifying the voices of women who have been historically marginalized and silenced.
At the same time, women artists who write about women may find themselves struggling against ingrained archetypes and stereotypes that persist in popular culture and the arts. These archetypes — damsel in distress, femme fatale, the nurturing mother, and others — reduce women to one-dimensional characters, reinforce gender stereotypes, and should have been overtaken by now.
The Harmful Impact of Narrow Stereotypes
'The Maiden' and 'The Witch' archetypes are common stereotypes that categorize women in literature, media, and popular culture. While the maiden is usually depicted as young, pure, and innocent, the witch is often portrayed as an older, cunning, and dangerous woman.
"These archetypes reduce women to one-dimensional characters."
This combination of objectification and fear creates a profoundly troubling dynamic in which Romani women are reduced to little more than sexual objects while also being portrayed as threatening and dangerous. And, as expected, it leaves the realm of fantasy and affects real people.
The Complexity of Femininity and Gender Expression
Femininity and Womanhood are complex and diverse concepts that extend far beyond the simplistic archetypes often presented in media. Women throughout history and across cultures have expressed their being in a multitude of ways, each one unique and powerful in its own right.
Historically, figures like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks, and Frida Kahlo have all demonstrated complex and multifaceted expressions of self. Gender expression is a multidimensional and deeply personal aspect of human identity, encompassing far more than preconceived labels and outdated archetypes. It is a complex interplay of social, cultural, and individual factors shaped by many experiences and influences.
In art, gender expression can be a powerful force for change, challenging and subverting traditional gender roles and expectations. It can inspire us to question our assumptions about gender and identity and embrace the human experience's diversity and complexity. It is about recognizing that we are all complex and multifaceted beings and that our gender identity is just one part of what makes us who we are.reaking free through the original and universal feminine archetype:
It seems contradictory to want to free yourself from something by embracing it. But that's it. Contradiction. Change. But at the same time Abidance.
The archetype of the moon has been a powerful symbol of femininity and feminine energy throughout human history. It represents the cycles of life and death, birth and renewal, and the ebb and flow of emotions and energy.
My intention is not to embody the pagan leader, the free spirit, or the witch's granddaughter. I also don't want to offend anyone's faith — since I also seek respect for my own — but a good metaphor doesn't hurt anyone. As we strive to break free of limiting feminine archetypes and express ourselves authentically, we can look to the moon as a source of inspiration and guidance. Like the moon, we, too, can morph, change, and shape ourselves while remaining true to our essence.