What do we expect of an author who is unapologetically female? What do we expect of consuming art in general? Should a work be easy, should a work be safe?
Marylyn Tan’s debut volume, Gaze Back, complicates ideas of femininity, queerness, and the occult. The feminine grotesque subverts the restrictions placed upon the feminine body to be attractive and its subjection to notions of the ideal. The occultic counterpoint to organised religion, then, becomes a way toward techniques of empowering the marginalised.
Gaze Back, ultimately, is an instruction book, a grimoire, a call to insurrection—to wrest power back from the social structures that serve to restrict, control and distribute it amongst those few privileged above the disenfranchised.