Strong Work Ladies, Job Well Done!

I just went to see the Kara Walker exhibit at Reed's Cooley gallery, where my class had a chance to sit down with the curator to talk about the show.  I noted that I found the work to be powerful in it's messages of gender and sexual violence that transcends race, the work spoke to me as the work of a courageous woman daring to make challenging art that speaks of all women, yet embodies a personal history - I thought it was empowering and liberating feminist work. The discussion brought to light a distinct and interesting generational difference between myself and my fellows; I am very much a Third-wave Feminist and they would consider themselves Postfeminist.

"Just because the artist is female doesn't make her a feminist artist."  (...true, a woman can choose to not identify her work as feminist, but that she can even make it and have it seen in public with any genuine critique and be taken seriously, does indeed make it feminist work, like it or not.)

Our professor, the curator and I all did a little double take and looked quizzically at each other.

The declaration that being female bodied, and making work about female bodied subjects and the sexualization and objectification and profit from of said female figures, does not make one a feminist, SHOCKED ME!

"Well, looks like our work here is done ladies, strong work!" I said to my contemporaries as I made motions of dusting off my hands.

Very little shocks me. But this notion rips my heart out. I'm trying to wrap my head around whether it's naiveté on their part or my jadedness as a citizen of the world we live in.  I accept that I am jaded. I accept that they may be naive. But there is something more to this that concerns me - it's that they don't see anything inherently wrong with how politicized the female body is.

For reference,

From Feminist Frequency, I add this an outline of the Straw Feminist trope that fuels the postfeminist idea in media.  


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