1. Men and feminist art

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    Do you think men can make feminist art? If so, please provide some examples. If not, why not?


    In “What About Men,” Donald Woodman makes an excellent point with using the word “femanism.” Feminism is a commonly misconstrued term. More often than not, it is considered a term to use about men hating, radical women. In reality, it is a term that means ending sexism. To end sexism, a united front of women AND men is needed. Women alone cannot do this because men sit in the positions of power to do this. By adding men to this fight to end the oppression, the results will be more successful. There needs to be more awareness among men about the need to recognize and eliminate sexism. Without adding men to our fight, how can we begin to end sexism when the majority of humans do not even recognize that it exists?


    I think that men are capable of making feminist art; it will just be art that is seen through the male lens. Just because that is true, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be considered “feminist”. A female could come across it, view it through the female lens, and consider it feminist. If an art piece is put in front of you without the knowledge of whether it was created by a male or a female, and you consider it a feminist piece, does it matter if it was created by a male? The meaning of a piece of art can have a different meaning to the artist than it does the viewer, and vice versa. So yes, men are able to create feminist art, whatever it may be.


    I believe that men can make feminist art. G.D. Anderserson said feminism isn’t about making women stronger, but it’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength. If men support the views of women, and want to raise awareness on the issues at hand, who are women to say they can’t. If a woman can hold the same position as a man, then it should be able to go the other way. If anything I believe that if men are making feminist art, its an even stronger statement because it shows that there are people in society that are in fact changing their views.


    Men can definitely make feminist art. Art is the freedom of expression and the means by who and how it is made are limitless. Just like art can be made with multiple materials and have many meanings, it can be created by by different identities. A man’s feminist art piece is so powerful because a viewer will ask why did they created this? Then they will want to know that man’s stance on feminism or why he is actively making art on the topic. Men who create feminist shine a light on feminism much brighter because of who is addressing it, a man.


    Yes, I think men can make feminist art. Today, we visited a gallery at the HUB at Penn State University and listened to the curator speak. It was fascinating because the artist being spoken about was definitely a feminist artist, and he was a man. I think men have the full capacity to understand and support feminism so they have just the same potential to make feminist art. If a man can be a feminist, why can’t they make art too? The speaker also mentioned Matisse as a feminist artist. Men are just as much a part of this movement for equality as women, so I think they have the full ability to make art that is considered feminist art despite their gender.


    I say that absolutely men can make feminist art. Feminism is not just for women, feminism is for everyone. Since feminism is for everyone, so is feminist art. It does not just have to be a woman whom creates it. For instance from watching Part III What About Men video, Judy Chicago’s husband Donald Woodman helped Judy on certain occasions with different pieces. I think anyone just has to understand what feminism is all about in order to produce feminist art. As long as men let’s say have a full understanding or even somewhat of an understanding of what feminist art is, then there would not be any doubt in my mind that they could create a work involving just that. Feminism in my eyes is the act of supporting women’s rights in all aspects. So if men want to create art in a social formation in relation to womanhood, why not? No one is stopping them! I think it would be crazy for men not to be able to produce feminist art. If they have a passion for women’s equality why would we even stop them from doing that? We need more men to help define what feminism truly means in broader terms and what better way to share and express with others than art? Personally anyone can produce feminist art, even males.


    I absolutely think that men can make feminist art, in fact, I think it’s critical that they do. I believe that men have a say in feminism and how it’s effecting society just as much as women. Men also have a view and an opinion on this topic and they have a right to put ideas and views into art. In this world we have no right to say who is “allowed” to make feminist art. It would be hypocritical for us to limit men just like they limit us in other aspects life.


    Do you think men can make feminist art? If so, please provide some examples. If not, why not?

    – Yes, I believe that men can, without a doubt, make feminist art. Although many of those whom create feminist art are women, it is very possible for men to create feminist art as well. Feminism is not limited to women only; there are plenty of men who are feminists and support women’s rights just as much as women do. So doesn’t that mean that men too are capable of producing works of art that express their feminist beliefs? Although artist Robert Morris was a Minimalist artist rather than a Feminist artist, one of his pieces sparked controversy in the world of feminism and helped prove the point of many feminists. His self-portrait of 1974 depicted him naked from the waist up, wearing only an army helmet, sunglasses, and S&M chains around his neck. No one seemed to give this picture a second thought until artist Lynda Benglis responded to it with a very similar, provocative naked photo of herself that many criticized. Robert Morris’ self-portrait made it evident that people perceive the naked male and female bodies much differently.


    I believe that men can certainly create feminist art. A man may create a piece of artwork that is not considered feminist artwork to him, but through the eyes of a viewer it could be portrayed as feminism. But some men do create feminist artwork with the intention of it being feminist artwork. Some men spend their whole life beside a women and get to know that women better than she may know herself. The man can see the true emotions and beauty in that women that she may never see in herself. Although women do not want to believe that a man may know them better than they know themselves, it is a fact. Men have the same capability of understanding feminism as a women as long as they are informed and educated. Men and women are both just as equal as the other through this feminist movement.


    I definitely think that men can make feminist art because men can be feminists. My favorite definition of feminism is from bell hooks, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” This definition to me means that anyone, any age, and background can be a feminist as long as they strive to end sexism. In class we went to see Birth of the Painted World Jivya Mashe and the Warli Tradition of India which work depicts a female goddess and the work was originally done by all women. Jivya Mashe was the first man to paint in the Warli Tradition and he has so much respect for the goddess that he does not paint the symbols and has the women artist paint her. While this is the only example that I know of now I know that there are men with great perspective that have created feminist art. This question is prompting me to find more artists, I hope it inspires you to look too.


    I think that men can make feminist art because to me feminist art is art in which women are portrayed or even somewhat defended. Today in the HUB Robeson Gallery, we saw art created by a man and it showed that women gave birth to the word. Although women are sometimes not treated equally to men, not all males are antifeminism so. Feminists include anyone from any gender who support women in gender equality.

    Judy Chicago

    A few weeks ago, I posted some comments in response to all the posts in Part 3 but for some reason, they disappeared into cyberspace so I thought I’d try again. I am wondering if people looked at the videos for this part or read the chapter “What About Men?” in “Institutional Time”, my recent book on studio art education. The reason that I am asking is that my hope for the Dialogue Portal is that it will become a place for real discourse about the issues raised and that can only happen if participants spend some time researching the suggested materials before posting their replies.

    Also, in my research for the chapter on men in my book, I read a number of essays by men discussing the fact that they were made to feel unwelcome in many women’s studies classes and feminist discussion groups, something that I find very regrettable. Women study and discuss male-centered art and ideas all the time and it is my hope that it will become a normal part of academic life for men to participate in female-centered topics. I would be very interested to learn about the experiences that men are having now and how they feel about some of the questions and posts. Judy Chicago

    Judy Chicago

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have been very disappointed by the lack of male participation in the Dialogue Portal. So I appreciate your having taken the time to comment and hope that it will stimulate other men to take part. Judy Chicago


    If we believe that feminist art is about confronting the assumptions that hold women back within our society and presenting ideas and imagery that justifies not only their abilities but also their equality, than anyone can make feminist art including men. Just like anyone can make artwork that raises awareness about race, gender identity, and the many other areas of social injustice. I don’t believe feminism is a female only club. It is a belief that woman should have equal rights in society and that right now they do not. It is about strive to achieve a greater sense of understanding and action. Restricting feminist artwork to only women means that we are secluding men from the conversation and I believe that is the exact opposite outcome from what we are trying to achieve.

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