Women’s role in the subtle art of misogyny.
If every artwork has the political, personal and biographical aspect of the artist in the background, then what background has the individual action of the artist, and is the relationship between the artist and the art egocentric in its essence?
When the artist seeks to understand and express his feelings and his impulses through the use of paintings, music and theater, through these expressed feelings that are connected to his distinctive subconscious, he objectifies women and girls.
SHE is portrayed as a plethora of colors, life itself and lots of emotions, which visually and spiritually correlate with the artist’s sensitivity. A portrayal that reflects the personal aspect of experience and imaginary perception, but still, even in this stage this portrayal remains limited in minimizing the societal role. And precisely when the wider audience analyzes the artwork, is able to discern and understand this kind of relationship, then everything that seemed normal up until this point starts to change.
Because SHE is portrayed as someone dependent, for the purpose of sexual fantasy, addiction, liberation. And all these are “justified” by the sensitivity and the personal perception, which turns out to be related to the distinctive subconscious of the genders. We can say that an artwork that reveals such standpoints is a reflection in the narcissistic mirror of masculinity. The view that we often get to see, is not what the feminists, and all of us who advocate for equality, would love to see.
And women very often hesitate to criticize the art that objectifies, distinguishes and diminishes them.
There is no woman or girl who hasn’t been viewed as an object at some point during her life, whether she was buying food in the morning, in a flower shop, in the street, getting on the train, or waiting for a call. But besides this, women and girls have very often been objectified and discriminated against through art. Yes, they have been discriminated against at such a sophisticated level of communicating ideas, in this very unique interaction with the world, in someone’s creation that thousands of admirers view as guidance.
We are witnesses of artworks in which the women and girls are portrayed as décor and this depiction becomes inevitable. Just like a good meal or a coffee at dinner time, the work of art is imbibed with sexism, an essential need in the expression of artistic feelings. Just like “Twin Peaks,” where the men are men, whereas women are sensual, servile, ambitionless, or dead.
However, the world of art tolerates the abuse because it believes the artists to be above all others and that the rules don’t apply to them. Defending misogynistic art cannot be separated from the justification of every other bad misogynistic thing in real life.
Misogyny in artworks build on women’s intellectual insecurities in understanding a bigger and higher truth. Often, you can’t criticize the art for its sexualized content because you are considered the equivalent of an ignorant who compares the artworks in an art gallery with the drawings found in a third grader’s drawing block.
And women very often hesitate to criticize the art that objectifies, distinguishes and diminishes them, because they want to avoid the social pressure emanating precisely from their inability to perceive the aesthetic.
Just as the artistic is political and the personal is political, the artistic is also personal.
In these circumstances, you can’t criticize movies with sexual content because you are considered to be displaying oppressed and complex sexual feelings, you can’t criticize them because your own look expresses the opposite of what you declare.
For real?! Why should women and girls believe this? Why should we believe that we can’t be vocal about everything that bothers us? Then, why not criticize everything misogynist around us? Everything that keeps us from breathing freely and from changing predetermined social constructs?
If you criticize the paintings of Édouard Manet for the commercial feminine representation in his paintings, you will be considered an annoying and arrogant feminist. You cannot be a critic of art if you don’t criticize it for the representation or disfiguration of feminist issues. You cannot be an artist and you have nothing to interpret for us when in your personal life you create violence, you hate and you minimize the role of girls and women in society.
Just as the artistic is political and the personal is political, the artistic is also personal. When the poet and romancer Jay Parin was criticized in 2009 for his novel, which was adapted into a movie called “The Last Station,” he took Picasso as a reference to separate the art from the artist. “Can you really split the art from the man or the woman who creates that art,” he asked.
The answer is yes, undoubtedly. This is done by attempting to draw parallels between the personal and artistic levels. However, there are lots of examples in history of big artists who were horribly flawed people who behaved badly and hurt those around them. If someone can evaluate the artwork of the artist it is the audience, and this personal dimension of the relationship between the artist and women and girls in society needs to be an indicator in the artistic evaluation.
A group of feminists who want to make it known to the audience that they are able to peer into the mind of a sexist artist.
However, nobody looks at a painting of Picasso in a museum and says: “I shouldn’t take this work seriously because Picasso deceived his many wives, and was abusive toward his son,” and the fact that Carl Andre, the minimalist artist, allegedly pushed his wife and artist Ana Mendieta from a window on the 33rd floor, doesn’t directly have an impact on his minimalist sculptures.
All the artworks, paintings, sculptures, drama, movies, and music that display sexism, hate and that minimizes the role of women in society, and the way in which these have been seen and have been treated as artistic heritage is tragic, and that is why it is worth protesting.
So, we could protest through another form of poetry, such as slam poetry, for example. A group of feminists who want to make it known to the audience that they are able to peer into the mind of a sexist artist. That they have seen and heard how he hates women and overvalues his own position in society. That they have heard and seen how he values the aesthetic of certain body sizes, misinterprets the sensual and progressive social development and reduces it to the predetermined gender role.
Now we are so mad, oh you won’t believe how much!
You’re doing anything except for art
Our body isn’t made to hold your ego
You weren’t taught to love all genders the same
Now we are mad, and you are to blame!
This is a self-mutilating circus
You have painted yourself as clown in!
Feature Image: Faton Selani / K2.0.