Another group of works concerns the positioning of women in relation to men outside of specifically sexual relationships. Whose Garden Is This Anyway is a witty account of male dominance. Adam and Eve-like nude figures enact the roles of obediently silent female and male authoritative voice, separated and contained within their own spaces by the Tree of Knowledge that keeps them forever inaccessible to one other. He talks at her and gesticulates; she stands, arms held behind, and silently remains in her metaphorical place.
None of these women fight back, just as none of the men gloat or attack. Even in Blue Velvet, a narrative about a triangular relationship that pays indirect homage to David Lynch's dark film of that title about obsession, power, coercion, and female submission,3 the imagery of the two males (one a shadowy, barley visible figure) voyeuristically regarding a female verges on the lyrical and melancholy rather than the violent. Friedberg's figures, with some exceptions, have a certain frailty that mediates and humanized the often oppressive content. Although they deal with themes of repression and social order, they negotiate these issues with sympathy rather then detachment.