Growing up in a small Japanese town where traditionally women were encouraged to be shy and quiet, Mari rebelled while others conformed. She left her village at 18, eventually venturing to New York in the hopes of finding a free-spirited community. For her latest project, Mari produces an erotically charged series of both male and female — mainly in black and white, her favourite medium. Speak Easy launches with an exhibition — running from 30 March to 15 April at the hpgrp Gallery in New York — and opening ceremony on 31 March from 6pm.
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The HBO series wants to have it both ways when it comes to respecting and objectifying women Game Of Thrones knows a thing or two about patriarchy. Not only is the battle over which ruler will sit on the Iron Throne a literal manifestation of it, the show also smartly observes that female contenders have to fight twice as hard to even enter the race. By exploring the ways women push back against the limitations of a male-dominated society, Game Of Thrones has created some of the most compelling female protagonists on TV. Some like Catelyn Stark try to stick to a moral code; others like Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell, and Sansa Stark rely on political and social cunning; and some like Brienne of Tarth and Arya Stark adopt masculine ideals of strength. Daenerys Targaryen—the woman who stands the best chance of actually ruling Westeros—combines her inherent intelligence and morality with the physical power of her dragons. Is it a bit weird that Melisandre takes her top off at the drop of a hat?
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In taking these pictures I joined the thinly populated group of women who have looked unflinchingly at men, and who frequently have been punished for doing so. Remember poor Psyche, chastised by the gods for daring to lift the lantern that illuminated her sleeping lover. I can think of numberless male artists, from Bonnard to Weston to Stieglitz, who have photographed their lovers and spouses, but I have trouble finding parallel examples among my sister photographers. The act of looking appraisingly at a man, studying his body and asking to photograph him, is a brazen venture for a woman; for a male photographer, these acts are commonplace, even expected.
As a woman in her 20s, I am well acquainted with dating apps, particularly that hub of hookup potential we call Tinder. Over the years, most of my chats on this platform have followed a similar pattern: small talk, decent banter, switch to WhatsApp, then BAM. Dick pic on the screen. I mean, at least wine and dine a girl before showing her your crown jewels.