Hypatia

Hypatia
Volume 18, Number 4, Fall/Winter 2003
Special Issue: Women, Art, and Aesthetics
Guest Editor: Peg Brand and Mary Devereaux

CONTENTS

Re-Contextualizing Women Artists

    Heartney, Eleanor, 1954-
  • Thinking Through the Body: Women Artists and the Catholic Imagination
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    Subject Headings:
    • Christianity and art -- Catholic Church.
    • Mary, Blessed Virgin, Saint -- Art.
    • Catholic women artists.
    Abstract:
      Mariology—the veneration of the Virgin Mary—exerts a profound influence on women artists from Catholic backgrounds. Internalizing the mixed signals Mary transmits about purity, female strength, and compassion, they reinterpret the stories and mythologies surrounding her in ways that allow them to explore the ambiguities of the female role in contemporary society while also examining their conflicts about their own sexuality.
    Meagher, Michelle.
  • Jenny Saville and a Feminist Aesthetics of Disgust
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    Subject Headings:
    • Saville, Jenny, 1970- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Human figure in art.
    • Aversion.
    Abstract:
      This essay examines an aesthetics of disgust through an analysis of the work of Scottish painter Jenny Saville. Saville's paintings suggest that there is something valuable in retaining and interrogating our immediate and seemingly unambivalent reactions of disgust. I contrast Saville's representations of disgust to the repudiation of disgust that characterizes contemporary corporeal politics. Drawing on the theoretical work of Elspeth Probyn and Julia Kristeva, I suggest that an aesthetics of disgust reveals the fundamental ambiguity of embodiment, allowing us to critically attend to the aesthetic and cultural objectification of the female body.

Bodies and Beauty

    Cahill, Ann J.
  • Feminist Pleasure and Feminine Beautification
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)
    Abstract:
      This paper explores the conditions under which feminine beautification constitutes a feminist practice. Distinguishing between the process and product of beautification allows us to isolate those aesthetic, inter-subjective, and embodied elements that empower rather than disempower women. The empowering characteristics of beautification, however, are difficult and perhaps impossible to represent in a sexist context; therefore, while beautifying may be a positive experience for women, being viewed as a beautified object in current Western society is almost always opposed to women's equality and autonomy.
    Lintott, Sheila.
  • Sublime Hunger: A Consideration of Eating Disorders Beyond Beauty
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)
    • Eating disorders.
    • Sublime, The.
    Abstract:
      In this paper, I argue that one of the most intense ways women are encouraged to enjoy sublime experiences is via attempts to control their bodies through excessive dieting. If this is so, then the societal-cultural contributions to the problem of eating disorders exceed the perpetuation of a certain beauty ideal to include the almost universal encouragement women receive to diet, coupled with the relative shortage of opportunities women are afforded to experience the sublime.
    Hobson, Janell.
  • The "Batty" Politic: Toward an Aesthetics of the Black Female Body
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    Subject Headings:
    • Body, Human -- Social aspects.
    • Women, Black.
    • Buttocks.
    Abstract:
      I assess representations of black women's derrières, which are often depicted as grotesque, despite attempts by some black women artists to create a black feminist aesthetic that recognizes the black female body as beautiful and desirable. Utilizing a black feminist disability theory, I revisit the history of the Hottentot Venus, which contributed to the shaping of this representational trope, and I identify a recurring struggle among these artists to recover the "unmirrored" black female body.
    Shusterman, Richard.
  • Somaesthetics and The Second Sex: A Pragmatist Reading of a Feminist Classic
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    Subject Headings:
    • Beauvoir, Simone de, 1908- Deuxième sexe.
    • Body, Human -- Philosophy.
    • Aesthetics.
    Abstract:
      This paper explains the discipline of somaesthetics, which emerges from pragmatism's concern with enhancing embodied experience and reconstructing the aesthetic in ways that make it more central to key philosophical concerns of knowledge, ethics, and politics. I then examine Beauvoir's complex treatment of the body in The Second Sex, assessing both her arguments that could support the pragmatic approach of somaesthetics but also those that challenge its bodily focus as a danger for feminism.
    Frueh, Joanna.
  • Vaginal Aesthetics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Vagina.
    • Aesthetics.
    Abstract:
      Based on the premise that ugliness looms large in both cultural and women's consciousness of vaginas, I create a representation of the vagina's beauty as rich and sweet. Smell, taste, and touch play predominant roles as I use scholarly analysis and my own autobiographical narratives and poems and poetic language in order to redress the vagina's culturally inherited ugliness.

Art, Ethics, Politics, Law

    Eaton, A. W.
  • Where Ethics and Aesthetics Meet: Titian's Rape of Europa
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    Subject Headings:
    • Titian, ca. 1488-1576. Rape of Europa [visual works]
    • Art -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    • Rape in art.
    Abstract:
      Titian's Rape of Europa is highly praised for its luminous colors and sensual textures. But the painting has an overlooked dark side, namely that it eroticizes rape. I argue that this is an ethical defect that diminishes the painting aesthetically. This argument—that an artwork can be worse off qua work of art precisely because it is somehow ethically problematic—demonstrates that feminist concerns about art can play a legitimate role in art criticism and aesthetic appreciation.
    Mullin, Amy.
  • Feminist Art and the Political Imagination
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminism and the arts.
    • Art -- Political aspects.
    Abstract:
      Activist and political art works, particularly feminist ones, are frequently either dismissed for their illegitimate combination of the aesthetic and the political, or embraced as chiefly political works. Flawed conceptions of politics and the imagination are responsible for that dismissal. An understanding of the imagination is developed that allows us to see how political work and political explorations may inform the artistic imagination.
    Musgrave, L. Ryan.
  • Liberal Feminism, from Law to Art: The Impact of Feminist Jurisprudence on Feminist Aesthetics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminist jurisprudence.
    • Feminism and the arts.
    • Aesthetics.
    Abstract:
      This essay explores how early approaches in feminist aesthetics drew on concepts honed in the field of feminist legal theory, especially conceptions of oppression and equality. I argue that by importing these feminist legal concepts, many early feminist accounts of how art is political depended largely on a distinctly liberal version of politics. I offer a critique of liberal feminist aesthetics, indicating ways recent work in the field also turns toward critical feminist aesthetics as an alternative.
    Winterhalter, Teresa.
  • "What Else Can I Do But Write?" Discursive Disruption and the Ethics of Style in Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas
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    Subject Headings:
    • Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. Three guineas.
    • Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 -- Technique.
    • Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 -- Political and social views.
    Abstract:
      This essay suggests that to understand the pacifist position Woolf takes in her critique of fascism and patriarchy, it is essential to recognize how, not only why, she explores the relationship between narrative and political authority. Creating an intersection between a feminist conceptualization of Woolf's narrative technique and philosophical notions about ethical forms of representation, it argues that Woolf fragments the locus of narrative authority in Three Guineas to model a stylistic resistance to linguistic practices she thinks support totalitarian ideology.
    Shaw, Joshua.
  • Annotated Bibliography of Writings in Feminism and Aesthetics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminist theory -- Bibliography.
    • Aesthetics -- Bibliography.
    • Feminism and the arts -- Bibliography.
    Abstract:
      This is a selective annotated bibliography of publications in the area of feminist aesthetics from 1990 to 2003. It is intended to compliment the bibliography presented by Linda Krumholz and Estella Lauter in the Spring 1990 issue of Hypatia.

Review Essays

    Lauter, Estella, 1940-
  • Aesthetics in Crisis: Feminist Attempts to Create an Interdisciplinary Discourse
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    Subject Headings:
    • Florence, Penny, ed. Differential aesthetics: art practices, philosophy and feminist understandings.
    • Foster, Nicola, ed.
    • Robinson, Hilary, ed. Feminism-art-theory: an anthology 1968-2000.
    • Aesthetics.
    • Feminism and art.
    Leibowitz, Flo.
  • "Images" of the Female and of the Self: Two Recent Interpretations by Women Authors
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    Subject Headings:
    • Meyers, Diana T. Gender in the mirror: cultural imagery and women's agency.
    • Cheney, Liana. Self-portraits by women painters.
    • Faxon, Alicia Craig.
    • Russo, Kathleen Lucey.
    • Sex role.
    • Women painters -- Psychology.

Notes on Contributors

Guidelines for Contributors

Announcements

Books Received




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