Misogyny is a term of broad, sometimes elusive rudiment. Some attempt to ascribe individual acts to it, when actually its core meaning represents something more symbolic, sociological. The mural portraying a cowgirl on the side of a building at 99 Riverside Drive, north of the River Arts District, is misogynistic because it depicts a woman embodying antiquated, cognitively sedentary values.
Repeatedly, in life, the women with whom I forge the most positive connections are those who share my active interests. These interests may include sports, artistic activity or anything else that fully engages the mind and body, and transcends simple paradigms of sexual propriety. At the basis of every relationship is friendship, and friendships require common grounds for relation.
The mural of the cowgirl is harmful of such endeavors, as it polarizes women toward the inclination to represent vapid, banal attractiveness – that which is motionlessly, lifelessly sought, for reasons that go only skin deep. Also, the cowboy/cowgirl image is disrespectful of and belligerent toward Indians, as is the statue of the American Indian on Patton Avenue.
But as white women represent a greater portion of Asheville’s demographic than do Indians, I feel the cowgirl mural to be more of an immediate issue. She is in a compromising position, and sex sells, but only to men who are weak, homophobic, old-fashioned or fearful of ushering in a new, more progressive time. It’s a time when, starting with the arts, genders meet on an equal playing field, and interactions are accounted for freely, irrespective of what our misogynistic forefathers dictated.