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Posts Tagged ‘women’s bodies’

This piece also appeared in Feministe on 1 April 2013.

One of the most striking scenes in the 2012 miniseries version of Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End is one in which suffragette Valentine Wannop takes refuge in an art museum during a rally. While she is quietly admiring a painting of Venus, another woman enters and slashes the painting with a cleaver, shouting, “What are you all gawking at? Do you think that is all women are good for?”1

Parade's End, Episode 2: The Destruction of the Venus

Parade's End, Episode 2, damage

As someone with a deep love of art, I was alarmed as Valentine was. I do not believe in the destruction of art, but what the stand-in for Mary Richardson said stuck with me. Consider the status of women in the art world: often considered the “muse,” rarely the artist; lauded as the pinnacle of beauty but having no worth otherwise: the Venus forever looking in her mirror, the object of the (male) gaze, not the subject of her own agency. Should a gallery or museum try to strive for the inclusion of women artists (and artists of color, queer artists, and so on), there may be criticism of ignoring the masters, so-called “female privilege,” and the desire for a gender-blind meritocracy that simply does not exist at present. If you were wondering what such an article might look like, look no further than C.B. Liddell’s “The diverse works of Asian women artists,” a special to The Japan Times.

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I don’t watch Girls, but this is a great piece on projects aimed at normalizing non-sexual images of women’s bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Thought Catalog

In Los Angeles you spend time at gas stations like New Yorkers wait for subways. One of the perks is, if you like to eavesdrop, L.A. gas stations are great social equalizers. Everyone needs gas, from celebrities to lost tourists. Recently, I listened to two young women critically discuss the show, Girls.

The tall one wondered, “What’s up with Lena Dunham? Why does she always wanna get naked? Does she think it makes the show better? That like… people wanna see all that? Or is she just making the point — it’s her show and she has the power — she can do whatever she wants? Is she like just some girl with a bad body getting back at all the beautiful girls?”

So much going on in that series of questions. I wanted to ask them if we could go get some coffee and discuss it. But I…

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