On Great Women Artists

Feminist Art Theory Power

1.      Something I admire about Nochlin is that she rejects assumptions and faulty reasoning to describe why there aren’t “great” women artists. She also states the reasoning that masculine vs. feminine does not truly give any valid reason as to why women never emerged as great artists.  The reason that gender traits cannot explain this phenomena is because there are female artists who clearly do not fall into the category of dainty and inward looking as most female artists are. For example, female artists in France during the 18th century are considered to fall into this category, yet many would say that art in France at this time was generally more “feminine.”

Instead, she looks beyond the confines of gender and sex and focuses on the social structure and the socially constructed institutions that influenced and established the system in place today. In the article, she also looks at the issue of women as the “problem” and refutes that by arguing that institutions made it impossible for women to strive for this so-called “greatness.” In the white man’s world, women have little to no place on center stage. Women’s intellect, talent, and genius are restricted in our institutionalized world.

2.      The Guerilla Girls are a group of women artists who fight against discrimination. They expose issues on gender-roles, sexism, patriarchy, racism, and many more. They do their best to be inclusive of all women, as the term tends to come off as “privileged white women” when spoken so generally. They have produced posters and have engaged in projects to further their goal. They put as much pressure as they can on the art world to become what it is intended to be: a place for freedom of expression by any and all individuals.

3.      Virginia Woolf has an interesting theory as to what would’ve happened had Shakespeare had a sister. She stated that she would’ve been ambitious and artistic, smart and witty. Judith as she calls her, would be unlike most other women of her time. Instead of desiring to be a housewife she would try to get into theatre and embrace her artistic side. Her father would attempt to wed her off to a wool stapler and she would run away to London to pursue her dreams. When she arrives, she would be rejected. Eventually she would meet one man who would take pity on her and give her a child. Finally she would take her own life, and all of her work would be misappropriated and unsigned.

4.      I personally feel like women artists do not get enough attention, even in the feminist world. I am usually thinking about work related issues or abuse, but art is such an important aspect of our world that it should not be left out. My favorite article was Nochlin’s, because she and I have a similar writing style and thought process. We must be more inclusive of these issues in order to promote a welcoming environment. Once we begin to assess things rationally, we can start to comprehend the more complex issue of why we don’t have enough great women artists.

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