If the term “gynocentrism” seems unfamiliar, it is because it cannot be found in any dictionary. It derives from two Greek words, “woman” and “bee sting”. It has been in use since 1897 and has a much softer meaning than its etymons. It was an ideological tool of the feminist movement of the 1870s. In the present context, gynocentrism is used to define, in short, a female perspective on the artistic world.
In 1985, the American political scientist Iris Marion Young used “gynocentrism” both to describe social movements for gender equality and to look at the world through a female perspective. Also in 1985, Simona Homorodean was born, an artist who specialized in design, multimedia and literature at the Western University of Timișoara. She collaborated with the local H.arta group, and participated in exhibitions in Dublin, Berlin and Liverpool. Her works are anchored in themes such as crisis, confusion and the collapse of history.
For the On Her Side exhibition, Simona Homorodean created All women are gifted, a photographic work that she explicitly chooses not to define as a form of feminist activism. It is a search for the feminine identity, rooted in Buddhist spirituality and sciences that look at the earth by association with the feminine element of stability that underlies human life and energy. As the artist stated in a personal communication, “Woman holds the power of creation in all its forms.”
In relation to the artistic intent of her work, perhaps “gynocentrism” would be a much more appropriate term, since it sounds less combative and divisive than the feminism of the recent years. As it happens, the ideas of feminism and femininity are sometimes seen as opposites, but Simona’s creation proposes a different point of view: “I don’t think we have to be men to demonstrate our independence and individuality. We can still preserve our qualities feminine.”
Her vision suggests an attempt to reposition the discourse about masculine and feminine. The female vision of the world becomes a filter through which we could understand more easily where to position ourselves relative to the art created by women: “It is important to feel safe and have the possibility to express ourselves freely, to be just the way we are, regardless of the differences that bring us closer or separate us.”
Although the artist distances herself from the label used above, that of gynocentrism, we might all benefit from looking at some works of art from an exclusively female standpoint. It could be an attempt to unify the viewers’ opinions, one that does not require us to choose one side or the other of the feminist discourse. Essentially, both gynocentrism and the work entitled All women are gifted are representations of the creative energy and vitality that underlies each of our lives.