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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Happy Day of Awesome Posts About Gender

January 20th, 2010 at 15:15

Mari Ness posts about gendered gaze, artistic assumptions and the way that women’s participation in the arts becomes so quickly forgotten, and made invisible. (via @Krasnostein on Twitter)

This is a great post, and raises one of the issues that I know I need to keep in mind – when complaining about the imbalance of women in the arts, it’s very easy to render invisible those who are and always have been a part of the scene. That’s one of the reasons that I like to review books that I read, even though it adds extra pressure to the whole reading-as-a-hobby thing (ha!).

The most memorable and important class I took at college (grades 11 & 12, not university) was Art Appreciation, which I chose purely because I had already signed up for the maximum number of history and english classes that could count towards university, and this was an essay-based subject. I had a great teacher, Wayne, who introduced us to a whirlwind of art history, and had a particular interest in pointing out female artists, and the use of women as subjects of art. His passion that year was artistic depictions of Judith slaying Holophernes, and this led me to Artemisia Gentileschi, still my favourite artist and the one who is most important to me. I chose female artists as my year-long project and wrote about Artemisia, and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, and Judy Chicago, and Georgia O’Keeffe. My eyes were well and truly opened to women in the world of fine arts, and the way they are so often overlooked, and that has always stayed with me.

Anyway, read Mari’s post, it’s awesome and layered with all sorts of things that I know I should think about more – like the way that people assume that any artwork that is anonymous is male, and that if it wasn’t made by women, it’s not art but ‘craft’.

And since apparently this is the day of awesome posts about gender, Overland have one over at their blog, too. (via @TalieHelene on Twitter, I love that people send me this stuff directly now!) This post picks up on a few other discussions about invisible sexism in literature and asks some important questions:

• Is there a difference between what women and men write?
• What do we judge as good writing?
• Where do we get these ideas about good writing from?
• How important is voice and experience to good writing?

All good stuff, and that distracted me nicely from my appalling strep throat and paranoia that the antibiotics aren’t kicking in for at least twenty minutes. Thank you, internet!

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