Brutal Myths, 1996


View original Brutal Myths via Sonya Rapoport’s website

In 1996 Rapoport created Brutal Myths with collaborator Marie-Jose Sat. This was to be the first of many Web Art works with a feminist perspective.

Brutal Myths addresses the sadistic male fantasies about women found in the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), a infamously misogynistic treatise on witch-hunting published in the 15th century. Because women were traditionally the lay healers of their societies and used herbs in their medicinal practices, Rapoport used representations of herbs as the primary metaphor of this work (this interest in herbal symbolism can be traced back to her 1979 drawing Geothe’s Urpflanz). Beginning with the Biblical story of Eve, Brutal Myths describes the “evil” herbs that contaminated the minds of men and made them believe in the dictums laid forth in the Malleus Maleficarum. Then the participant “plants” a “blissful” garden of “blessed” herbs to destroy prejudicial myths about women.

In 2009, Rapoport published Brutal Kicks: The Witch Hunt for Michael Jackson, appropriating Brutal Myths to look at the effects of child abuse on the life and career of the life of Michael Jackson.