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The Ongoing Objectification of Woman

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 32 (7993 words)
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‘Men expression, adult females are looked at, ‘ said John Berger in his seminal 1972 documental series Ways of Seeing, and in this one sentence, Berger summarised the relationship between work forces and adult females, and the objectification of adult females by work forces. From Susannah being looked at by the Elders, to Manet ‘s Luncheon on the Grass, adult females in art have been continually portrayed as non lone objects of desire, but objects to be owned.

One might wish to believe that feminism, and adult females, have come a long manner, non merely from the bra-burning yearss of the ’60s and ’70s, and the power-suited yearss of the ’80 ‘s, that saw adult females in places of power in the metropolis, and in political relations ; even from the yearss of early right to vote. Yet one has merely to look at a day-to-day newspaper, a adult female ‘s magazine, a Hollywood film, allow entirely a adult male ‘s magazine, to gain that the objectification of adult females is as rampant ( and I use that word intentionally ) as it has of all time been.

Even in the universe of ‘High Art ‘ , pictures such as Lucien Freud ‘s of a pregnant Kate Moss still portray adult female as something that can be looked at, desired, owned.

One would most decidedly like to believe that adult females have come a long manner since Rousseau stated, in typically compendious manner, that ‘the doll is the curious amusement of the females ; from whence we see their gustatory sensation obviously adapted to their finish. ‘ One presumes Rousseau was speaking about babe dolls, small miss dolls, to be played with and dressed up in pretty apparels, to sit softly, prettily and good dressed in a corner, unobejcting and clean, good practise non merely for maternity but muliebrity ; but he could every bit every bit good have been speaking about that most modern-day of dolls, the Barbie – bosomy, good dressed and reasonably, with a closet of apparels that would enable her to follow any calling, from spaceman to vet, sexy but sexless, epitomised by the most recent add-on to the sistership, Burqa Barbie, so that all misss feel represented in a globalised twenty-first century. All misss that are bosomy and good dressed, reasonably and neuter and quiet, anyhow.

Mary Wollstonecraft, the female parent of European feminism, believed that every bit long as work forces saw adult females as trophy married womans, and took kept womans, that the subjugation of adult females should go on, yet she did non entirely blasted work forces, believing besides that adult females were complicit in their ain objectification, and mentioning to them as clay figures to be moulded by work forces. Girls, Wollstonecraft believed, were enslaved to work forces through their societal preparation. With the coming of post-feminism, one could trust that adult females had eventually broken this male-oriented patriarchal perceptual experience of them, but it seems in fact to be the contrary. Young adult females expose more and more of themselves, saying that they are in control, and they may demo as much flesh as they wish in this post-feminist universe, but one can non assist but believe that Wollstonecraft was right – adult females still base their worth on how much a adult male values them, and on cherished small else. Barbie may be a twenty-first century spaceman, but unless she is bosomy and beautiful, Ken will non be interested, and Barbie will be worthless, both in her ain eyes and those of society.

In this essay, I propose to research how feminism and station feminism have influenced my development as an creative person, and to oppugn how the media ‘s continued portraiture of adult females as a trade good has affected other modern-day creative persons, both positively and negatively.

‘The end of feminism, ‘ said an early spokeswoman, ‘was to alter the nature of art itself, to transform civilization in sweeping and lasting ways by presenting into it the heretofore suppressed position of adult females. ‘

Barbie as a symbol of adult female as object can be found non merely in modern-day art, but besides in modern-day literature ; she has moved into mundane address as a disdainful remark on glamourous adult females ( ‘She ‘s nil but a Barbie doll! ‘ is a gibelike unfavorable judgment aimed at a adult female perceived to be beautiful but dense, dry when 1 considers how it is exactly this image that is being sold to us by the media! ) Mattel may market Barbie as a modern calling miss, far more independent than the original 1950s apparels Equus caballus, but is she as complicit in the objectification of modern adult females as Mary Wollstonecraft stated over 200 old ages ago?

The London based photographer Alex Kliszynski would look to hold with Wollstonecraft, and has straight questioned such attitudes in a organic structure of work that combines the imagination of erotica with Barbie dolls.

( hypertext transfer protocol: //areyoushaved.net/2009/10/art-culture-nude-human-barbie-dolls/ )

The instant reaction of the witness is one of repugnance, a feeling that something is non right. Such a extremely sexualised kid ‘s plaything is obscene, but possibly that is the intended point of the graphics? Barbie is the ultimate commodified, male chauvinist, male-fantasy position of what adult females should look like. She has a bantam waist, long legs, and tremendous chests. However, curiously, if you think about it, this extremely sexualized organic structure really lacks sexual parts, or the parts of the organic structure we would see if she were to the full bare. She has no vagina. Her chests have no mammillas. In add-on, Action Man, an idealised, sexualized male specimen, has no phallus and no scrotum. By puting a sexless doll in a lewd and rough place that should demo all the sexual variety meats but does n’t, Kliszynski is doing a remark on the dehumanising of adult females ( and work forces ) by media led objectification ; it is his purpose to name attending to that disjunction, to do the viewing audiences aware of the sexualized images of adult females and work forces that Barbie and Action Man dolls trade in.

However, I think there is another, yet more sinister, manner of reading Kliszynski ‘s art work. The dolls are a monstrous combination of human and plastic ; even the rubric of the work is ‘Human Barbie Dolls ‘ , proposing an unnatural mixture of the two. It is possible to understand Kliszynski ‘s piece as a remark on the modern phenomena of organic structure dysmorphia, a upset that causes a individual to believe there is something awfully incorrect with an facet of their face or organic structure, and which frequently leads them into a series of decorative surgeries. Kliszynski ‘s human Barbies symbolise this organic structure dysmorphic inclination prevalent in so much of ( western ) society, this desire to turn the human organic structure into a work of art, a flawlessness of flesh and plastic to fit the unnatural perceptual experience of idealized beauty encouraged by the media.

In her verse form, Barbie Doll, Marge Piercy makes much the same point:

This girlchild was born as usual

and presented dolls that did make

and illumination GE ranges and chainss

and wee lipsticks the colour of cherry confect.

Then in the thaumaturgy of pubescence, a schoolmate said:

You have a great large olfactory organ and fat legs.

She was healthy, tried intelligent,

possessed strong weaponries and back,

abundant sexual thrust and manual sleight.

She went to and fro apologizing.

Everyone saw a fat olfactory organ on thick legs.

She was advised to play coy,

exhorted to come on hearty,

exercising, diet, smile and wheedle.

Her good nature wore out

like a fan belt.

So she cut off her nose and her legs

and offered them up.

In the coffin displayed on satin she lay

with the mortician ‘s cosmetics painted on,

a turned-up putty olfactory organ,

dressed in a pink and white nightgown.

Does n’t she look reasonably? everyone said.

Consummation at last.

To every adult female a happy stoping.

Both Kliszynski and Piercy have recognised the damaging consequence on the mental and physical wellness of adult females ( and work forces ) of society ‘s objectification of the human organic structure. By invariably portraying an idealized myth of non merely the organic structure but the really function of adult females in society, the media ( and subdivisions of the art universe ) have created a civilization which views the organic structure in it ‘s natural human province as somehow incorrect and unnatural.

Equally, both Kliszynski and Piercy have recognised the complicity of adult females in this civilization ; the miss in the verse form is healthy and intelligent, born ‘as usual ‘ , presumptively ‘normal ‘ in all respects, and yet she accepts the truth of her low value in society because she is non perceived as physically perfect. Merely in decease, with her nose cut off and a cosmetically enhanced ‘putty ‘ olfactory organ in topographic point alternatively, can she be seen as ‘pretty ‘ . Her value as a strong and utile member of society is non-existent in a universe that refuses to see past her face.

Kliszynski himself has said that ‘the chief organic structure of my work is a figure of human-dolls that aim to raise inquiries about the legion images of the objectified and idealized organic structure that we see in the mass mediaaˆ¦I came to do this work as a reaction to the lowest-common-denominator attack to maleness taken by the media which serves and perpetuates the ‘lad ‘ or ‘raunch ‘ elements of our civilization. Curiously this ‘lad/raunch ‘ civilization seems besides to be embraced by many immature adult females ; a phenomenon which seems contrary to a decently progressive apprehension of gender and individuality in a post-feminist epoch. ‘ ( hypertext transfer protocol: //lostinasupermarket.com/2010/09/barbie-porn-seriously/ )

‘Lad magazines ‘ such as Maxim, Stuff and assorted other UK-based magazines intended for teenage male childs and immature work forces are ill-famed for backing a extremely commodified position of the universe – work forces and male childs are encouraged to purchase tonss of ‘bling ‘ like autos, two-channel constituents and expensive suits etc. By their really arrangement in such magazines, in ‘glamorous ‘ soft-porn airss, female theoretical accounts become as much ware as the appliances featured in the articles ; and as the reader ‘must ‘ ain the right phone to achieve position, so he must hold the ‘right ‘ adult female.

Yet this attitude of the organic structure as trade good is ironically pin downing work forces every bit much as adult females, and both sexes are in a crisis of individuality. Work forces are met on a day-to-day footing with conflicting images of themselves, from the traditional Action Man function of hubby, male parent, supplier, patriarch, to the more sensitive, metro sexual Ken, whose position, like that of Barbie, is defined by how he looks and what he owns. This crisis is as of import for work forces as for adult females ; statistics show that immature male self-destructions are increasing, there is a high rise in instances of attending shortage hyperactivity upset in males, offense statistics are lifting, divorce rates are traveling through the roof, and with female parents routinely given detention of the kids even the function of paternity itself has come into inquiry, exacerbated by the lifting figure of birthrate clinics and the ability for adult females to so easy be individual parents.

Role theoretical accounts such as Ken and Action Man are without uncertainty as harmful to immature work forces as a function theoretical account such as Barbie can be to immature adult females. No longer seen as breadwinners, or the caput of the household in a patriarchal society, work forces are often represented in the media by characters such as Homer Simpson, a chauvinistic, nescient adult male who is depicted as really lazy and obsessed with nutrient ; his boy Bart, frequently cruel to his sister, is discourteous and sick behaved. He alternate is frequently portrayed as Ken, an idealised, de-sexualized male with merely the acquisition of stuff points his end, fast autos and manner his lone involvements. Even telecasting shows like Sexual activity and the City imply that work forces are merely at that place for the sexual satisfaction of adult females. It portrays work forces as tactless, stupid existences that are merely at that place for female amusement and pleasance. These negative portraitures are as damaging to both genders as the comparative attitudes to adult females, rooted as they are in gender objectification and the denial of individuality. Alternatively, could we welcome this reorganization of traditional gender images? Could it non be that multiplicities of functions are now set uping themselves in modern society?

Playthings such as Action Man frequently stereotype work forces in aggressive functions, and this convention has been questioned in the work of Susan Hiller, who explores societal conditioning and attitudes to childhood in her work Punch and Judy.

Punch and Judy looks closely at the ferociousness of slapstick comedy. First shooting sections of unrecorded Punch and Judy shows the creative person so transposed these images on the walls of a square room ask foring the spectator to stand in the room with the marionettes ‘ images looming over them, the marionettes moving out violently as so frequently seen in their public presentations. Hiller examines how such stereotyped role-play in toys reinforces the premises placed on male childs and work forces and how they should move in society.

Where feminism fought against such patriarchal, capitalist belief systems, post-feminism seems to be purchasing right into the ‘raunch civilization ‘ that Kliszynski high spots.

I would specify ‘Raunch civilization ‘ as the whole juvenile, ‘laddish ‘ civilization that includes the chaps ‘ magazines every bit good as strip nines, harlotry and the jubilation of harlotry, extremely sexualized adverts and a general attitude that what ‘s best about female authorization is that more work forces get to see more adult females naked. Berger referred to it as ‘the male regard ‘ , Kliszynski as ‘raunch civilization ‘ , but I believe they are really similar, and it seems to be embraced by many immature adult females, who accept whole-heartedly the full condescending bunk of ‘girl power ‘ . Harmonizing to Wollstonecraft, work forces have widened what should be simply a biological spread of physical differences into a sociological spread: ‘But non content with this natural pre-eminence, work forces endeavour to drop us still lower, simply to render us tempting objects for the minute. ‘ Women, it follows, can non assist but be ‘intoxicated by the worship which work forces, under the influence of their senses, pay them. ‘

Has Barbie, in stand foring the most mercenary facets of modern twenty-four hours civilization, promoting a stereotyped image of muliebrity, go a pitiless goddess of modern society? A doll without any societal scruples ( or witting ) , reliant entirely on material properties to convey her felicity, worshipped by 1000000s, representative of a civilization that objectifies and vilifies adult females, no facet of her suggests any signifier of spiritualty, or higher morality.

When Mary Wollstonecraft accused adult females of their ain complicity in this stereotyped position of their gender she caused ripplings of choler and annoyance down the centuries. How could a ‘so-called ‘ feminist bend on her ain sex with such accusals? And yet, when one takes the clip to believe about it, one can see how right she was. Girls drama with Barbie dolls bought for them by female parents and aunts, and will, to repeat Rousseau, turn up to give Barbie dolls to their girls, therefore carry throughing their ‘destiny. ‘ They are complicit in the encouragement of stereotyped values. But what is the option? A miss may play with the ‘stereotypical ‘ playthings of maidenhood such as dollies and baby buggies, all pink and sparkly, mass marketed merchandises imposed on them by a performative oriented society, or she may play with the male version of such consumer points, Action Man, autos, trains, guns. . . But what message is really being sent? If a miss plays with Barbie dolls, she is viewed with disdain for being a ‘typical ‘ miss ; if she plays with stereotyped male childs playthings, she attains value in the eyes of society, for being more like a male child. No affair what she does, Barbie miss can ne’er accomplish societal value by being a miss, and post-feminism has been complicit in such societal values.

Devouring PassionsA was published in the ’80s, writer Judith Williamson ‘s theory is barely common cognition, most probably because it is endangering. She deduces that, contrary to the ideal posed by Mattel andA Barbie, “ the desirable form for a adult female. . . is that of aA male child. “ A

The extremely idealized Barbie has non been without rivals, nevertheless. In 1998, Anita Roddick started an Anti-Barbie run, under the pretense of ego -esteem.

Roddick started marketing postings of a doll called ‘Ruby: The Real Deal, ‘ with postings in the UK shops she owned, all picturing images of the generously proportioned doll with the affiliated motto: ‘There are 3 billion adult females who do n’t look like supermodels and merely 8 who do. ‘

With the purpose of disputing stereotypes of beauty and countering the permeant influence of the cosmetics industry, and with a lingua in cheek attack, the implicit in message was far more serious and could easy be applied to the stereotyped image of adult female and the manner western civilization objectifies adult females. ‘Ruby ‘ started a world-wide argument about organic structure image and self-esteem, but she was non universally loved. In the United States, the plaything company Mattel sent a cease-and-desist order, demanding the images of Ruby were removed from American store Windowss because she was doing Barbie expression bad, an admittance certainly, that Barbie ‘s impossible to accomplish figure was damaging to misss in comparing to the more realistic Ruby? In Hong Kong, postings of Ruby were banned on the MTR ( Mass Transit Railway ) because the governments were concerned they would pique riders. Like Barbie, Ruby was a de-sexualised plaything, holding no mammillas, genital organs or pubic hair ; other advertizements on the MTR which showed surgically enhanced, partly dressed female theoretical accounts, were allowed to remain. It is difficult non to leap to the decision that it was the realistic portraiture of the female organic structure that was violative ( and to whom? the male commuters? ) ; in a universe where the female organic structure is perceived to be a corruptible position symbol, the male purchasers were presumptively offended by the depreciation in value of their idealized phantasy.

Feminist creative person Helen Chadwick ( 1954-1996 ) made many plants that dealt straight with the function and image of adult females in society. In ‘Ego Geometria Sum: The Laborers X ‘ created in 1984, she had big reproduction of kids ‘s wooden bricks transposed with images of her bare ego. One may read many significances into this graphics: is Chadwick fighting with the weight of her ain image? By superposing her bare image onto a kid ‘s brick, is she proposing that she is nil but a toy, a plaything? She appears to compare herself to a troll doll, held by the hair in a discorporate fist with an inane smile on its face. The troll doll is ugly and deformed looking, and Chadwick is connoting that this is how society positions her, and muliebrity in general, from childhood onwards, if one does non conform to how society wishes one to be. All is non without hope though ; Chadwick besides portrays a door on one side of the brick, implicative non merely of closing, but besides of the possible to open, to let something in, or something out ; a agency of flight. As a Jungian original, the door besides is representative of the feminine, with all the deductions of a symbolic gap. In this graphics, is Chadwick researching issues of entrapment and flight?

Several of her plants address the function and image of adult females in society utilizing a broad scope of stuffs, such as flowers, cocoa and meat. She questioned the function of the female organic structure in art as a cosmetic object ; merely as cosmetic and aesthetic thoughts about art themselves had been questioned in the twentieth century. In 1990, she worked once more on subjects of sexual individuality and gender with her Cibachrome transparences entitled ‘Eroticism ‘ which depict two encephalons side by side.

On the surface, this is yet another seemingly simple, if arresting, piece of work, but like the encephalon itself, this piece contains a multiplicity of beds, waiting to be explored and teased out. The work shows two encephalons, side by side, mirroring each other. On the sides adjoining, the encephalons are enlivened by what appears to be bluish flickers, or flashes, proposing encephalon activity. Harmonizing to The Wordsworth Dictionary of Symbolism, blue is the coloring material of the mind, and of spiritualty ; it is the medium of truth. In Eroticism, Chadwick is playing with the thought of ‘a meeting of two heads ‘ , an attractive force based on the mind and the emotions. Yet we besides associate the coloring material blue with something a small spot blue, a spot blue, like a ‘blue film ‘ , and I would propose that Chadwick was besides bearing in head the thought that the encephalon is frequently referred to as the largest sexual organ in the organic structure. For Chadwick, in this piece at least, it is the attractive force of two people based on a meeting of mind and commonalty that is of import, non the outward visual aspect so critical to society.

In the 1790s, when Mary Wollstonecraft was composing A Vindication of The Rights of Women, she argued for the demand for more civil rights for adult females, a cause which she believed could merely be achieved by allowing adult females a better instruction. She argued that a adult female was capable of any rational effort that a adult male was provided with and that her early preparation should non brainwash her into respect to work forces. Wollstonecraft believed that work forces discourage adult females from accomplishing the same instruction that they receive routinely, and every bit long as adult females are denied this instruction, they can ne’er trust to accomplish equality with work forces. She builds on this deficiency of equal instruction for adult females in her statement adding that all work forces ( modern-day to her ) have a general deficiency of regard.

Two hundred old ages subsequently, in the 1970s, adult females were still contending to accomplish this basic degree of regard and equality in the academic and artistic universes, and it was the seventiess that saw the beginnings of a new art motion, the Contemporary Feminist Art Movement. The motion was inspired by demands for societal, economic and political alteration and by the desire of female creative persons to seek and coerce art galleries and museums to set up a just representation of their work ; there were really few female art instructors at that clip, though the bulk of pupils were female. It was common and widely accepted for art exhibitions to incorporate the plants of work forces merely, adult females being discriminated against openly, with some holding to confront the dual prejudiced blow of besides being black. Faith Ringgold ( b.1930 ) , an American creative person, was told she could merely exhibit in the museums devoted to African American art after all the black male creative persons had had their shows.

By the 1970s, women’s rightists and creative persons had started organizing consciousness consciousness groups that demonstrated at galleries and museums to expose some of these sexist patterns, and opened galleries together for more exposure of their plants.

With feminist creative persons desiring to travel farther than equal representation, their plants were frequently full of political and societal content shouting out for political alteration. The adult females ‘s motion in America had one such creative person by the name of Judy Chicago. Born in 1939, Chicago frequently reflected on issues associating to the deficiency of female representation in her work, stating ‘Because we are denied cognition of our history, we are deprived of standing upon each other ‘s shoulders and edifice upon each other ‘s difficult earned achievements. ‘

Many female creative persons voiced these sentiments at that clip, wishing to transform traditional all right art and sculpture to include feminist consciousness, with many researching the female organic structure with the purpose of repossessing the sexualised images that had been created by the male creative person that preceded them. Chicago ‘s piece ‘Dinner Party ‘ called out for both art critics and constitutions ( and the Establishment? ) To readdress the fact that so many female creative persons had been and were being excluded from art history texts used to educate the ( mostly female ) art pupils presently go toing the art instruction. This big work depicts a feast, the scenes embroidered representations of the vulva in a manner appropriate to the adult females being represented, adult females Chicago wished to honor, with a farther 999 adult females engraved in gold on the floor tiles. The geometric form of this piece is intriguing, with the tabular array laid out at a trigon, stand foring the tri-partite nature of adult females, the maiden, the female parent and the hag. Indeed, an upside down trigon has long been used in pagan religion to stand for the feminine.

This work has gone a long manner in encouraging adult females creative persons to repossess their individuality in stand foring the female signifier, and readdress the frequent debasement of female genital organ antecedently represented in male-created art.

The Dutch creative person Christina Camphausen ( B. 1953 ) is another illustration of a female creative person purpose on repossessing for adult females the representation of the female genital organ, printing a book of her work with the vulva as exclusive topic. Entitled ‘Yoni Portraits ‘ , it is filled with delicate drawings uncovering the vulva in all it ‘s beauty and assortment, images that are sometimes realistic and sometimes symbolic.

Taken from ancient Sanskrit, the word Yoni refers to the vulva and uterus and better describes muliebrity than its clinical opposite number ( vagina ) or its rough adult discrepancies ( bitch ) ; in India ‘s sacred linguistic communication it carries an built-in regard for this intimate portion of a adult female ‘s organic structure which is missing in English. In the book ‘s attach toing texts, the creative person makes clear that there is nil about the Yoni to be ashamed of. Rather, it is a body-part which in many civilizations has had really different intensions of power, beauty, birthrate and delectation.

Of her motive, Christina says:

With my work, I endeavour to help in reconstructing the Yoni to her

rightful and original topographic point of honor, and to bring on everyone to

see her with regard, to acknowledge her beauty and charming power.

Though the last decennaries make it seem that our modern societies are

sexually liberated, there still rests a tabu on this intimate portion of our

organic structures. In general, adult females enjoy more freedom than they used to hold,

yet it certainly is no progress in self-government that many modern-day adult females have their confidant, lower lips corrected in order to conform

to some unreal criterion prescribed by decorative sawboness or

professional nude theoretical accounts in calendered magazines.

To do graphics with the vagina as your topic is still a really courageous act, as it is a topic that is frequently considered inappropriate and by and large thought of within the context of erotica, and, in about all instances, for the sole pleasance of work forces. Many women’s rightists have attempted to take these lubricious intensions by promoting us to see vaginas, something non to be ashamed of, but as powerful and expressive constituents to be proudly protected as an self-asserting and positive manifestation of our being. Exhibitions are now get downing to demo that this has changed dramatically in recent old ages, with many creative persons who have incorporated imagination of the Vagina in their plants exhibiting together.

One such exhibition, organized by Francis M. Naumann and David Nolan, and entitled ‘The Visible Vagina ‘ took topographic point on January 28, 2010 at the David Nolan Gallery in New York and included graphicss by people runing from Judy Chicago and Nancy Grossman to Robert Mapplethorpe and Pablo Picasso. The most interesting facet for me is that there was such a strong male presence in the exhibition, and so it was arranged by work forces, a powerful mark of how things have progressed.

The most dramatic work in the exhibition for myself has to be the work of Sarah Davis and the piece ‘Britney ( Notorious ) , ‘ for amongst over one hundred graphicss, really few of which objectify adult females or propose a lubricious usage of imagination, this piece, a painting indistinguishable to a paparazzi-type exposure taken of the music star, hovers between art and erotica ; so, in its representation of both, it beggars the inquiry of how art and porn can be addressed within feminist issues.

If we accept that art is intended to excite the witness on many degrees, academically and emotionally, and that erotica is needed to excite on a strictly sexual degree, I wonder how this transmutation from paparazzi exposure and all the intensions of sneakiness, descrying and closeness to picture can change 1s perceptual experience.

I would wish to believe that the creative person who views Britney Spears as a strong, confident, self-made adult female is a women’s rightist who has staged the initial exposure to “ repossess ” her individuality by exposing her vagina merely as in ‘Yoni Portraits ‘ , believing there is nil to be ashamed of by demoing the power, beauty, birthrate and delectation this organic structure portion represents. Often in the media regard, Spears is used as an illustration to knock immature adult females today, nil but a Barbie doll. Her abilities as a female parent, her calling and societal life are often held up to public examination. Work force that are in the populace regard nevertheless, may be criticised for their personal businesss, heir drug dependence, their battles etc. , yet seldom for their frock codification or so for their functions or abilities as male parents. This is a gender prejudice that has become platitude and widely accepted.

In add-on, when Spears chose to have on a disclosure frock and adorn her organic structure with piercings and tattoos, the yellow journalisms turned on her brutally, and accused her of mental unwellness when she publically shaved her hair off. I feel though, that Spears was directing a message, via the media, about her sense of individuality and her value as a adult female. By shaving her hair off Spears was oppugning the male perceptual experience of feminineness and muliebrity ; she was a Rapunzel trapped by her beauty in a tower created by the male regard. The lone manner to take control of the state of affairs and to get away, was, like Rapunzel, to chop off all her hair and confirm her ain individuality off from societal outlooks and the media ‘s critical portraiture of adult females. In Ways of Seeing, John Berger explores the difference between nakedness and nudity, proposing that when one is bare, the witness ( and there must be one ) simply sees the human organic structure unclothed. When one is naked, the witness ( even if that is merely oneself ) sees the existent kernel of the individual. Nakedness is far more intimate than nakedness. When Spears cut off all her hair it was as if she had removed a camouflage, and showed herself to the universe to the full bare, showing her inner ego. It is this facet that Davis has picked up on in her piece of art: Britney Spears as a theoretical account of sex positive feminism, the un-Barbie goddess of post-feminism.

Sexual activity positive feminism, besides known as sexually broad feminism or sex-radical feminism began as a motion in the 1980s. Many adult females became involved in a direct response to the attempts of anti-porn women’s rightists such as Andrea Dworkin, as they argued that erotica was the Centre of feminist theory for adult females ‘s subjugation.

This period is known as the ‘feminist sex wars, ‘ a clip of het argument between anti-porn women’s rightists and sex-positive women’s rightists, between the impressions of the sex industry as an opprobrious and violent environment for adult females and the beliefs in adult females ‘s ability to take to be extremely sexual existences – and raises the inquiry of who is working who?

When Spears posed for a statue by American sculpturer Daniel Edwards ( b.1965 ) for the pro-life motion, she was one time once more steeped in the contention of ‘is it art or is

it porn? ‘ Entitled ‘Monument to Pro-Life ‘ this work is a full size sculpture of a bare Britney Spears in childbearing. The sculpture shows Spears on all 4s on a bearskin carpet, her oral cavity somewhat unfastened and her palpebras heavy, looking as if she is about to shout out. There is no indicant of hurting or pleasance ; it is non at all declarative mood of sexual aggravation or erotica. Her custodies lie wrapped around either side of the caput of the bear, as if she is utilizing it to move as a medium to the spirit universe pass oning with the animalistic impulses childbearing conjures up. Yet the media has criticised this piece, saying that: ‘Britney ‘s in a place that most would sooner associate with acquiring pregnant than with giving birth. ‘

I believe that in some ways things have deteriorated instead than progressed: the beauty industry and the porn industry, in their ain sometimes-converging ways, have caused a batch of that. Traveling back to the early ’70s, as adult females began to come in the work force in larger Numberss, some of that gaining power was used against them by aggressive beauty merchandise selling. The consequence has been an increasing focal point in the last three decennaries on dieting, an detonation in both sexes of bulimic and anorectic feeding upsets and organic structure dysmorphia.. These organic structure image issues are sometimes fatal. The decorative surgery industry has strengthened these attitudes by promoting people to move on these dysmorphic inclinations and, as in Piercy ‘s verse form, cut off the piquing organic structure parts. The overpowering bulk ( about 98 % ) of these clients are adult females. ( I would wish to distinguish here between decorative surgery, used to alter expressions, and plastic surgery, used to reconstruct people ) .

In add-on, erotica is a multi-billion dollar planetary industry. Almost all of the porngraphy out at that place aimed at heterosexual work forces and is highly degrading to adult females. Womans are frequently depicted as inactive, as in secret ever desiring to be dominated sexually, and are frequently referred to as ‘bitches ‘ , ‘whores ‘ and ‘cunts ‘ . Work forces are depicted as attackers who have an insatiate appetency for sex, and whose manhood is defined by holding repeated predatory sex with adult females. The porn industry has affected the manner industry in footings of both manner ( the manner theoretical accounts are posed ) and content ( lashs used to be worn by lone strippers and porn stars ) .

Womans are highly under-represented in places of existent power in the media – there are really few station directors and programme managers who are adult females. Puting it all together, it means adult females are more likely than of all time to be judged on visual aspects, to be seen as inactive, and to by and large be objectified, and have less ability to extenuate that through active control of the media. Raunch civilization is an branch of this and fuels the rhythm.


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One illustration of that convergence in the beauty industry and the porn industry can be seen in the work of Cindy Sherman ( 1954- ) , with her usage of store manikins and dolls. Shop manikins frequently created to be sexy, sex sells, after all, but Sherman pushes this construct to picture dolls in explicitly titillating state of affairss that are fazing to see, naming to mind a doll ‘s ( unadvertised ) map as a kid ‘s tool to research gender.

“ Untitled Film Still # 255aˆ?

The doll in “ Untitled Film Still # 255aˆ? ( 1992 ) has been fitted with realistic ( if hairless ) genital organ and is surrounded by ordinary family objects ( hairbrush, rope ) that, in the context of the doll ‘s doggy-style place, go S & A ; M objects of anguish and pleasance. Known for her transforming self portrayal, Sherman has experimented wildly with manikins and dolls through picture taking. The articulations of her manikins are pronounced, naming attending to their inanimate-ness, they are frequently fitted with overdone or hyper-realistic sexual and generative variety meats, furrows and organic structure hair, which usually you would non see or correlate with Barbie or action adult male or dolls in general.

Merely as Kliszynski, s extremely provocative photographic art with his usage of Barbie, Cindy Sharmen has been proving those parametric quantities of acceptable adult content for the last 30yrs. Her work has caused much contention due to the fact that Sherman herself is a vivacious portion of her work, and besides that the viewing audiences of her art “ are given no intimation of what to believe or experience. ” ( 20 ) Sherman, p. 8 ) go forthing her graphics often unfastened to debate. Born in New Jersey and the youngest of five kids, she spent her childhood as many other misss did, picture, playing “ dress up ” , and every bit many in her coevals were she was absorbed with the new engineering of telecasting. This captivation of that new engineering can be seen reflected throughout her calling and her many graphicss are based around the media of movie. Sherman received her Bachelor ‘s grade in Photography from the College of Art at the State College University of New York in Buffalo. And her first exhibition was of 70 Untitled Film Stills taken between 1977 and 1980. ( 20 ) Sherman, p. 193 ) A

A batch of the unfavorable judgment Sherman receives is due to her “ self-portraits ” , because she dresses up as characters in ordered exposure, frequently ensuing in a trouble of dividing her image from the underlying content and subjects addressed in her work. Yet in her work Untitled Film Stills # 66-77 she herself seems to turn to this issue straight. She appears without costumes, makeup, and have oning merely a bathrobe, and in her following series Untitled Film Stills # 79-89 she appears as the complete antonym. Heavily staged, she is have oning different costumes and makeup in an about theatrical attack. In a comparing of these two exhibitions, she is saying to the spectator, this is I, this is who I am “ dressing up ” as if a character. Almost seeking to formalize that her art is non a “ self-portrait ” . ( 200 Sherman p.8-9 )

Sherman has had many repeating subjects in her work including the male regard, female exposure, and gender individuality, with many of her Untitled Film Stills turn toing gender and stereotype issues. Often promoting the spectator to analyze their ain perceptual experiences of such, and it is in her Untitled Film Stills that she often analyzes gender individuality, with “ lessons in muliebrity ” frequently portrayed through “ film about the dominant civilization ‘s preferable values and behaviors. “ ( ( 22 ) Mauer, p. 94 ) A Yet Sherman ‘s work so frequently criticized for assailing “ male-gaze ” and the voyeuristic fetish of female exposure. Amelia Jones states this straight in Signs, “ Cindy Sherman ‘s self-portrait ignoble movie stills from around 1980, in their aggressive flirting with simulation and deficiency, clearly drama on the construction of the regard and its capacity to fetishize ( to stop dead or project as object ) what lies in its horizon. ”

A great many of Sherman ‘s Untitled Film Stills show female failing ( conveying in Mary Wollstonecraft ) with her technique of specific camera angles heightening the “ male-gaze ” she is able to bring forth within the spectator a combination of fright and erotism.

Yet with the illustration image, “ Untitled Film Still # 255aˆ? ( 1992 ) she has received much unfavorable judgment for the work being adult, unlike old Untitled Film Stills Sherman is non physically portion of the work, utilizing manikins alternatively. Mannequins and Barbie dolls that she places and phases with unmistakably bogus backgrounds.

It would be rather easy to presume that Sherman could hold been influenced by the work of Helmut Newton ( 1920-2004 ) peculiarly in her work turn toing the male regard. Newton was a German born Australian lensman, his work frequently used manikins to foreground the falsity of the manner industry and at that place pathetic political orientation of beauty,

The two Violetta ‘s in bed, Paris, 1991

Violetta ( above ) confronts her mirror image, oppugning what has more value in the manner universe, flesh or plastic? Newton frequently experimented with the functions of manikins and life theoretical accounts, frequently partner offing life like silent persons and adult females together ( as above ) or presenting manikins in public infinites and theoretical accounts in interior scenes to make elusive freak out. He often places human theoretical accounts in stiff, awkward places as though their organic structures had limited scope of gesture like manikins. Even in his recent work “ vogue September 2003 ” Newton has used the Actress Nicole Kidman in a questionable airs, pulling an uncomfortable analogue between manikins, the female, actress, and doll, she at first glimpse looks to be nothingness of genital organ, a airs that would be good suited as some sort of “ Super Barbie ”

Nicole Kidman vogue September 2003

Many of Newton ‘s plants depict dolls and manikins in titillating state of affairss, merely as in Sherman ‘s work, they could be oppugning a doll ‘s ( unadvertised ) map as a kid ‘s tool to research gender. They doubtless question the media ‘s continued portraiture of adult females as a trade good, and the ‘raunch civilization ‘ that Kliszynski high spots in his work, but could one inquiry how little this division between researching a kid ‘s gender and working it is going? These images of Barbie as seen so often in many of the creative persons work could be identified as resembling “ Sexual activity dolls ” instead than childrens playthings, and as ‘The end of feminism, ‘ said an early spokeswoman, ‘was to alter the nature of art itself, to transform civilization in sweeping and lasting ways by presenting into it the heretofore suppressed position of adult females.

Newton ‘s image of Nicole Kidman takes on a dramatic resemblance to that of the work of sculpturer Allen Jones ( 1937- ) His work is fused with Mannequins presenting as worlds picturing A forniphiliaA ( sexual objectification is manifested in a submissive spouse moving as a piece of furniture ) The adult females “ manikins ” have good endowed juicy proportions and resemble a blow up doll instead than shop manikin, yet they are placed in the function of a “ domestic ” object, they identify with the battle adult females have specifying themselves off from such stereotyping:

“ Chair, ” “ Table, ” and “ Hat base, ” 1969

Jones ‘ work has been often referred to as misogynous. Yet his work is certainly similar to that of Sherman and Newton in the manner it shows the subjugation of adult females, seeing them as objects.

For anyone to read the work in any other manner is certainly to take on a strictly “ Actual ” reading. Jones himself stated, “ I was reflecting on and noticing on precisely the same state of affairs that was the beginning of the feminist motion. It was unfortunate for me that I produced the perfect image for them to demo how adult females were being objectified. ” If one, was to take this “ actual ” reading and inquire the inquiry of why Jones has n’t made a male equivalent for illustration? Surely, that is the point, that there is none, as work forces are non of all time viewed in this manner by society. In add-on, as for dolls, playthings, men/boys are surrounded by playthings that encourage edifice, logic and competition, yet misss are given playthings that encourage nursing/nurturing, beauty, creativeness related and emotion based. Playthings have ne’er been more polarized in relation to genders which will certainly be one facet all these plants have drawn attending to.

Mary F. Rogers provinces in her article “ Hetero Barbie ” that “ Barbie illustrates what women’s rightists and civilization critics have been stating for some old ages. In no unsure footings Barbie demonstrates that muliebrity is a manufactured world. It entails a batch of ruse, a batch of apparels, a batch of props such as cuddlesome poodles and shopping bags, and a batch of attempt, nevertheless fulfilling at times ” ( Rogers 95 ) .

Rogers, Mary F. “ Hetero Barbie? ” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: a Text Reader 2: 94-97

In add-on, that “ manufactured world ” could besides been seen in Jones ‘ work as the adult females themselves become those objects of industry. Resonating with those values and political orientations they as immature misss have been introduced excessively, and as grownups readily accepted. With Kliszynski turn toing the ‘raunch civilization ‘ and mass media, and the political orientations that are represented in playthings, invariably digested by kids, it brings to mind what James Lull wrote in his article “ Hegemony ” where he states “ The mass media aid make an feeling that even society ‘s roughest edges finally must conform to the conventional contours of dominant political orientations ” ( Lull 64 ) .

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Contemporary Feminist Art Movement. The motion was inspired by demands for societal, economic and political alteration and by the desire of female creative persons to seek and coerce art galleries and museums to set up a just representation of their work

Chapter VA


Language can either aid or impede a individual masterA

the contradictions of his environment. In stating that artA

does the first, political orientation, the 2nd, and that how it does itA

is through construction, this thesis has intentionally left openA

the particulars about mass civilization. How does mass cultureA

reorient perceptual experience and through perceptual experience behaviour? UntilA

now, the inquiry has been answered by warring sides. AdornoA

maintained that it anesthetized audiences ; Benjamin and Brecht, A

that it brought the multitudes into their ain.

Roland Barthes represents something of a compromiseA

between these places. To Benjamin, he concedes thatA

mechanical civilization is wholly nonsubjective ; to Adorno, thatA

secondary significances nestle in this objectiveness ( although theA

misrepresentation that goes on is done linguistic communication, ne’er hypnosis ) .A

With Brecht, he is of one head that aesthetics unlock theA

bounds of political orientation. In the concluding analysis, he tends to agreeA

with Adorno, but for grounds that are consistent with Benja-A

min and Brecht.

Roland Barthes ‘ Hagiographas on art and political orientation, while


BarbieA is the Art World ‘s Muse

is a alone ICON for the twenty-first Century

In order of visual aspect:

BarbieA in “ Venus by Milo ” ; A BarbieA in “ Girl With the Pearl Earring, ” by Vermeer.

BarbieA in “ Mona Lisa ” , by Leonardo Davinci ; A BarbieA in an Erwin Blumenfeld-shotA VogueA screen.

BarbieA as Gabrielle “ Coco ” Chanel ; A BarbieA as the Statue of Liberty, by Bartholdi.

BarbieA in aA HelmutA NewtonA exposure ; A BarbieA as Nefertiti.

BarbieA inA Man RayA exposure ; A BarbieA inA The Beatles ‘ Yellow Submarine Album Cover.

BarbieA in “ Dora Maar ” , by Picasso ; A BarbieA in “ The Portrait of Sylvia von Harden ” , by Otto Dixx.

Cite this essay

The Ongoing Objectification of Woman. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-ongoing-objectification-of-woman-new-essay

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