1. Why did Monica Sjöö’s “God Giving Birth” (1968) cause such a public scandal? Explain and Respond.
Sjöö’s art piece caused such a scandal because it challenged the norm. Any type of artwork that does that always causes some sort of controversy. I think that is so ironic because art that follows what everyone already knows and finds familiar is so mundane and boring. If you can accept an artwork for what is on the surface, than the viewer will simply move on and forget about it. Sjöö portrays God first as a female, which contradicts the common assumption that God is a male. Many claim they see God as neither sex, yet typically have a male imaginary image in their head. In addition, she calls the figure God not Goddess. Goddess would somehow justify the artwork, giving it these less important qualities. The same applies in many aspects of our society, like the phrase “female doctor” instead of just doctor. It somehow changes the image of the person and the certain connotations that go along with those words. Next, the image doesn’t portray a beautiful white women, but a dark unhappy figure. If it where a blonde women cheerfully giving birth, than somehow the oppionion of the piece would drastically change. In societies eyes at least it would be an “attractive” piece to look at. Hence, with my previously explained opinion on controversial art, I really like Sjöö’s painting. She isn’t afraid to voice her opinion on how she sees the world and condemn her beliefs based off of what society would consider “accurate”.
2. Do you agree with Sjöö that “art is a revolutionary act”? Explain.
As I previously discussed I think Art is an extremely powerful tool. Those who use it to express their individual opinion are sometimes criticized because their individual approach doesn’t meet the social norm. However, I find pieces like this to be the best kind because they provoke change, which can sometimes be a revolutionary change. Artist who are afraid to voice their opinion in art due to fear of the other’s eyes is ridiculous. Goddess art is just one example of the many ways art has revolutionized the world. Having the courage to show or produce artwork that has been given the impression to be shameful is an extraordinary power to posses. Art is an highly effective way to send a message to society about one’s perceptive reguarding social issues. A straightforward example of this is the feminist art movement. Women were able to bring attention to an issue they felt they faced in society through art. In result, this act of using art as a tool has drastically changed the perspective of women throughout the years. Thus, it is seen how art can give a voice to very powerful subject matters. Personally, growing up I always had a hard time expressing myself to others or trying to verbally convey thoughts and emotions I experienced. The way I was able to express myself was visually through art. It was something that revolutionized my voice, freeing me from the standards placed upon me.
3. What is the “myth of the vaginal orgasm”? Explain and Respond.
The myth is that vaginal orgasm doesn’t exist, but is rather a clitoral orgasm. The clitoris is the male equivalent of the penis, thus it doesn’t make sense to call it a vaginal orgasm. Men reach orgasm simple by the friction of their penis experienced during sex. However, women can’t commonly reach orgasm during sex the way penetration affects men. Thus, the myth has been created that women are sexually pleasured in the same way men are which is completely untrue. Hence, women must redefine the “normal” expectation for orgasm to achieve the same pleasure. The term “frigid” has been coined for those women who can’t achieve this mythical “vaginal orgasm”. In the past, Freud equivalated this incapability to women solely being envious of men. His theory was not based on any type of knowledge of women anatomy but Freud’s bias opinion that women are inferior to men. This myth is still carried out in today’s society because of many societal defined concepts such as the penis being the epitome of masculinity. It is hard to break the socialy defined rules of sex that exist in today’s society. There are certain expectations that women are meant to hold when the act in itself is something natural, not created. It is absurd to think that a women isn’t doing something “right” and has to “fake it” in what is a natural tendency of human nature. It bothers me that having sex is almost perceived as this event that is meant for men and women only play a role in this exciting experience. I think this is a major topic of discussion that needs to be brought to the attention to the majority of people.