Nice day for a sulk

I’m finally through with my resits/exams and I am incredibly glad because I struggled with my art history course so much. Not because it went above my capacity to understand, and not only because I found it a highly one-dimensional course (art is never just art but an indicator of a certain zeitgeist so how can you only teach us one viewpoint? etc. etc.) but also because it quite simply completely ignored women’s liberation. One of the more telling examples is that only one woman in the Bauhaus is mentioned, whereas the director of the institute claimed gender inequality was over in 1919. This, despite the fact he only let women work in textiles (these women are not mentioned even though their designs are still being produced). This I know because I read and researched it myself, not because it was in my course. Does that not show you the zeitgeist of that time but also of the time this book was written and of the time this course was given? Does that not show you how women’s liberation happened but was only often executed on the surface (or not at all), but a deep-rooted misogyny on the inside? This is not the zeitgeist of the 1930s, but also of today. At least that’s what I conclude out of the overlooking of pretty much every female artist of 1900-1950. And if they aren’t overlooked, their autonomy in their own work is often completely negated by explaining this or this man told her to do this so and so etc.

It made me feel so incredibly alienated. I feel like it subliminally told me I have no right to study this, that I don’t have a place in the art world, and the world in general. It made me feel like I was going mad, because surely this course couldn’t be telling me this subliminally and/or consciously or not, right?

I can’t deny it; lately I’ve noticed an exponential rise in my anger towards (gender) inequality. So I wondered, do I have some sort of superfluous anger to vent and am I just projecting? But I realised, the older I get the more I start to identify myself as a woman, female and consequently the more I understand and feel the sting of gender inequality, the more I see that society’s image of a woman is almost completely opposed to how I feel. How I see myself as a woman, and how society tells me a woman should be is completely contradictory. There’s a giant discrepancy between those two images and it is extremely alienating to me. Man, is that how it feels to be a woman? Because it sucks, it suxxxxxxxxxxx.

That said, how amazing are these glittery sheep hair clips? Glitter. Sheep. In. My. Hair.

16 Comments

  • Urgh studying art history is so fucking depressing. Last year my teacher mentioned one woman. ONE WOMAN (around the reaslism period). He also told us that because of Darwin his theory that also mentioned that women their brain is smaller than men, women weren’t taken seriously anymore. I laugh bitterly with the anymore, because come on… they werent taken serious before either.
    I’m thinking about printing the guerilla girls slogans on sticker paper and sticking them everywhere around my artschool JUST BECAUSE I WANT TO.

    I can’t deny it; lately I’ve noticed an exponential rise in my anger towards (gender) inequality.
    You should see me rage these days. Last week I saw the cover of the knack while browsing the magazines and ttly went into rage mode just because of the cover (“The downfall of men” with the male symbol = limb penis.) So I couldn’t even open the magazine and make an attempt to fucking read it. :/

    ANYHOW all negativity aside, I really like your outfit! 😀

    • NEVERMIND I FOUND THE COVER BACK AND WHAT THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT. NOW I’M EVEN MORE ANGRY.

      And the article is about how women take over the economy. Yeah, because there are tons of women who own their own company these days. *rolls her eyes*

    • I get that during realism and so on not many women could be artists let alone artists that end up in an art encyclopaedia. But women’s liberation happened at early 1900. Women had already been accepted to art schools in I think around 1860?, women were allowed to vote in England from +/-1919 etc. That is HUGE, yet there’s no sign of that whatsoever in hardly any art encyclopaedia, while like I’ve said, art is always a reflection of a certain zeitgeist and what’s called as ‘great art’ today is also a reflection of our current zeitgeist. SIGH.

      And what? ‘not taken seriously anymore‘? That whole theory sprung from men wanting ‘scientific’ proof of their own superiority. WHAT. I can’t believe a teacher said that.

      Ugh, yes, and what with the whole ‘society is becoming so female-oriented/effeminate’ etc. there’s no more room for ‘real men’ any more. Ugh, dude whatever.

  • Hey Eline,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your art history class. I’ve never taken one myself, but I’ve felt the exact same way in poetry classes. Especially frustrating are poetry classes that focus on the avant-garde, because the teacher and the students in that class are usually really enamored with HOW GROUNDBREAKING AND GENIUS these poets were, but all I can think about is the immense sexism and racism that these movements are founded on and how deeply they excluded and patronized the works of their female counterparts.

    And I also think anger is tremendously good for the soul, especially in instances like this. I’m writing a little essay on anger right now! And also thank you for all your support on my Guardian article. It’s good to get some feedback from people I trust.

    And last but not least, your outfit is amazing! Sheer blue overlay and sheep clips? Love.

  • Probably off-topic, but I totally identify with your frustration/rage! Hahaha. I’m in a graphic design course and one of my tutors often refers to “being like a man” “acting male” to get ahead, and even if its not his intention, I find it extremely alienating from the entire profession. I also get annoyed when I’m trying to tell this to someone and they brush off the way I feel as being oversensitive. RAGH.

  • Your outfit is soooo awesome. Though I think it looked even better with Ashley’s sneakers.

    I agree about art history courses. They’re aaaalways like that (in my experience) and the male-only thing is viewed as sooo normal that it took me far too long to even notice it.
    I’m so glad most of my literature courses aren’t like that (though some are). Euurgh last semester we spent half a class discussing this Yeats poem about the rape of Leda and the way my professor talked about it made me soooo uncomfortable.

  • I love yr ensemble here, so v. Charles Anastase!

    Academia in general is such a boys’ club STILL. Even female professors can fuel this, I took a MODERN (1900-1960s) art history course w/ a female prof & while I overall enjoyed th class, we discussed at most a handful of female artists (Lee Krasner & Frida Kahlo being th only two I remember spending a full unit on.) In my field (film) it’s even worse, I don’t even want to think about it (depression/rage will set in too!) It’s part of why I want to be a professor/film academic if possible, to focus my “agenda” on things that matter to me that should have more exposure.

  • Oh Eline! Thank you for articulating some of the same thoughts that I have. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in my frustrations with academia. Anger can be a productive emotion though, so hopefully we can all change the world together…

  • Cute cute outfit ! I love layers ! I have seen all your blog and i love the way you harmonise colors, it is so refreshing to me because I live near paris where everybody wears grey. Thank you for showing me something else !

  • The sad thing is it’s not just the art world that excludes women’s contribution. It’s so frustrating, and the attitude won’t ever go away. Reminds me of this quote:

    “When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. “This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar” she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?”

    – Sandi Toksvig

    I think the best thing is to be aware of it, and to try and educate people and point out things as much as you can. Change starts with the small things!

    And also, you look fantastic, as always! xxx

  • Hi,

    As a fellow art history student, I understand your frustrations. Luckily for me my particular university is very much involved with revisions of art history, in the field of Feminism and Orientalism in particular. I found reading Linda Nochlin , John Berger, Griselda Pollock and Laura Mulvey to be extremely interesting on the topic of Feminism and Art History, all offering quite different views, some of which I agree with, some not. Also when reading these in conjunction with T.J. Clarke, you get a real feel of how, along with gender, class has been a defining feature of art history. I’m sure you’ve probably read most of this but thought I’d suggest them in case they might channel some of your rage!

    You have a wonderful blog : )

  • i hear you. the more i focus on that stuff the more angry i get. i can forget it for a while but it seems to always live under the surface ready for another round. i just try to live my life as best i can and sometimes when that stuff makes me feel bad about myself, i fight it. like gender stuff, ageism, the mix of the two. i live in a pretty square place, so many things get on my nerves here, sometimes i feel like i am living on an alien planet. hmmmm.

    this is sort of out of place here, or maybe not! but this made me think of you-
    https://ponyagogo.tumblr.com/post/1112016736
    i love it so much!

  • Gender issues are a big bug bear of mine, I finished my foundation degree basically ripping the pornography industry apart and its unrealistic and overtly sexualised portrayals of women.. But yeah – FANTASTIC outfit.. Just the right amount of sheerness and layers, and the pastel colours put together look positively delicious, but I especially love the shirt, the colour is ACE.. xx

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