Powerful Images

1. Response to Readings:  Bunting, Johnson, PFA, A&F 

I really enjoyed the first reading regarding the definition of feminism. I found it to be so relatable because I always struggle when it comes to calling myself a feminist or not. I never tend to label myself as one because I always have the skewed societal perception of what a feminist is in my mind. However, according to this article I would most definitely classify myself as a feminist. I also found the writing style of the article to be intriguing as well. I felt it spoke directly to the reader, calling them out on their misperceptions of the word. Saying that feminism is so much more as equal rights for both men and women, yet at the same time as simple as that sums it up so perfectly to me.

I found the second article just as interesting as the first. What really stuck out to me at the beginning was how it’s important to look at more than individual men and women but how society influences people to behave in a certain matter. I also found it interesting how the idea of patriarchy was broken down. Pointing out that it isn’t this detached subject that affects people, but rather something that we and individuals participate in. Based on how a person is individually influenced by society, they give back in a certain unique way. In addition, I was shocked how such derogatory words used in the patriarchal world were once positive. I would of never guessed that simple words like witch and crone were reclaimed during this day and age. Summarizing the whole article, I really appreciate how patriarchy is pointed out not to be an attack on men but a system which unfortunately exists in society. It not only one group of people who participate it in, but a entire mass of people from different walks of life.

The last two articles were not as intriguing to me as the first two, yet they were very informative on what role women play in the artistic world. I found the A&F explanation of how feminism and art relate helpful in which it clarified that not all women’s art is about feminism. The other reading went a lot more in depth about this topic. It discussed issues such as how much of influence gender has on an artists work. I also found the commentary on how women art from decade to decade changes drastically. Just like styles or art the feminist purpose essentially has varying movements. Its interesting how much things have changed in feminist art over the years and how in the future it is going to continue to evolve into something new.

2. Think of the word “woman.”  What does it make you think of?  What images spring to mind? Provide a statement about what the each image conveys to you.  What characteristics does “woman” possess in these representations?

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This year in studio art I was instructed to come up with a theme that I found interesting and crete a series of art work about it. The theme I chose was American Societal Isolation and Loneliness. One of the pieces that I created was the feet in heels. Iv’e always had this weird fascination with the concept of exotic dancers or strippers. I think there is something much more to it than the typical vulgar assumptions. A quote on the topic that I find extremely interesting is “ What one person sees as degrading and disgusting and bad for women might make some women feel empowered and beautiful and strong”. Thus, I chose the image on the right as one of my representations of what is woman is. I feel this way because anyone who is empowered by such an occupation and can deal with the stereotypes and the isolation that in pushed upon themby society is an amazing soul to me. I think the cherubs that are added in the photo contribute to this idea in which they are commonly used in nude romantic art of the past. I feel like it almost turns this typically acclaimed vulgar art of exotic dancing into something that was once accepted by the public eye.

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The second image I think of when I hear the word “woman” is strong. Something that makes me proud to be a female in the inner strength I think most women posses. This is because without the upper hang men get, women have to do twice the work to achieve the same amount of success. I think the image on the above is a great metaphor for the inner strength and willpower I believe women posses. I also think this image is great because she is wearing heels and has her hair done, etc. I think there is this widely accepted concept that women always have to look good, and by good meaning their hair is done and they are wearing heels and makeup. So the fact that women posses this strength and still “look good” while doing it is something I think every women should take pride in. I did a gender project in the 11th grade in which I had to convey with pictures what I felt being a woman stood for. I chose to do a series of pictures of the stereotypical women jobs, yet in dresses and heels. My concept was to convey to people the extra mile women have to work in this society.

3. Collect 2 images that you consider extremely powerful. (Download images from internet, take a digital pic, or use library scanner; Insert images into essay.)  Identify the main theme(s) you associate with the image.  For each, provide a statement of what the image means to you, why it is powerful, and what the image says (and doesn’tsay) about the world in which we live. 

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I find the image above to be extremely powerful. I think in todays society it is a big thing for women to take various cultures customs and turn them into fashion statements. A big thing now is people wearing bindis and burqas like headdresses. For many years clothing and accessories with crosses have been sold in mass quantities at stores. Although that too is a form of cultural approcriation it isn’t the same as the most recent trends. This is because they’re now being stolen from cultures who don’t given women the equality they deserve. In the Arab societies, the women were deprived of the most basic human rights that is required for human existence. The practice of female infanticide was widely practiced among some of the Arab tribes. So for people like Lady Gaga to wear a burqa in a sexualized way is so disrespectful in my opinion. That’s why I find this image so powerful. It is someone of that culture who is proud and embracing her customs in they proper and appropriate way.

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The second image that I find to be of an actual woman but of a female lioness. Although the image of is of an animal I think it conveys the same idea of how powerful women are. Even though the lioness is drenched in blood from the obvious prey she just attacked, the idea that she has the role is inspiring. Metaphorically speaking in relation to humans I feel it represents that women are capable of doing what is sometimes considered a “man’s job”. It is the job of the female lion to hunt and provide food for the family. I also think its so interesting how in the animal kingdom that the male animals are typically the “prettier” ones. The reason for this is so they can attract a mate. It shows that this idea that women are supposed to always look pretty and stay at home and let the man provide everything is strictly a societal constructed concept. There is no genetic reason that females, both animal or human, can’t do the same job as a male.


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