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.
Saville, Jenny, 1970- -- Criticism and interpretation.
Human figure in art.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Titian, ca. 1488-1576. Rape of Europa [visual works]
Art -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Rape in art.
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.
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.
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
Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 -- Political and social views.
This essay suggests that to understand the pacifist position Woolf
takes in her critique of fascism and patriarchy, it is essential to
recognizehow, 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
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.