1. Men and feminist art

Home Forums Dialogue Portal Dialogue Portal: Part 3 1. Men and feminist art

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    Elizabeth Eagle

    I think a male can certainly create feminist art; I don’t believe feminism should be limited to female thought and action. Listening to Michael Kimmel and Linda Stein speak, Kimmel early on brings up a good point-that it is easier now in today’s world to raise strong, fierce females; less so to raise a gentle male. I found this to be a powerful and true statement, and can easily relate back to the question of males participating in feminist art/feminism. If women can be fierce and create feminist and thought provoking art, why can’t men be included in this-in supporting feminist thought and in turn sharing and provoking the gentle male role and how this might be pertinent to feminism.


    After watching Michael Kimmel’s lecture on gender, I have concluded that men play a large role in the struggle for women’s equality. Historically, as Kimmel pointed out, women have not been able to “have it all, because men do.” He outlines how men have been able to have successful careers while at the same time having a thriving family/home life because women are behind the scenes taking care of the kids, doing household duties, and being homemakers. While this stereotype of women as homemakers and men as breadwinners is rapidly changing as women have become regulars in the world of business of other career ventures, it is still present in today’s society. Growing up in a religious home and going to church, I was taught that it was a woman’s responsibility to take care of her family and husband above all else. In recent years, I have grown out of this school of thought and began to look at myself, as a woman, as just as capable as men to be a breadwinner in the family, and that being a homemaker is not the only responsibility of women. Kimmel talks about the sexual revolution and how it has effected not only how men act, but has given power to women to take charge of their pleasure and their wants and needs. I think that this has given women a new standing in society as more than mere objects of desire, but as people who have desires of their own, beyond sexual desire, and going into desire for a career or to be something more than a homemaker. Kimmel ends his video talking about sexual assault and how the power lies in the hands of men to change the norm, and that the solution lies in the decision making of men. I think that this is especially profound because it seems to be such a simple answer to an issue that has haunted our society for so long, yet there has been little to no change, if not negative change to the issue. Men’s role in the struggle for equality is to be better, more aware, and more considerate of women’s issues and place in the world we live in today.


    Michael Kimmel’s talk on gender was very enlightening in many ways. When he discusses the issues of sexual assault in college and the efforts made to stop these actions, I was struck by what he said because I have had similar thoughts. The main push to help limit sexual assaults has mainly been on the side of women, as Kimmel discusses. These efforts have always perplexed me and seemed as if they were dancing around the true problems and causes of these awful actions. The focus must be switched to the perpetrators instead of the victims. This is the one true way in which we can limit assaults. By making an effort to teach men how to properly act and showing them how wrong this is we can effect real change. I believe that in this case as well as other issues involving gender, we are unwilling to work together to solve problems and drive the genders further apart. Such is the case in some extreme instances of feminism in which the movement has been seen as anti-male or that men are the problem and must be defeated instead of convinced. We must work together in order to create the world we are envisioning. Instead of working toward a separate but equal society and more of an entirely equal society that can coexist. I believe that Kimmel does an amazing job of presenting this by showing the similarities between the genders. The study he presented about marriage and the relationship needed was truly fascinating and I believe that we more often need to look at interactions between genders as peer relationships between two humans instead of rare discussions between people who cannot relate to one another. When we are able to fully incorporate both genders into the conversation and work together to expose the inequality in a productive manner true change can be achieved and gender equality will be a reality instead of a distant dream.

    Trevor Smith

    Michael Kimmel’s lecture regarding the difference between men and women made me truly think about how men have played a significant role in women’s struggle for equality. For example, When Kimmel mentions the Anita Hill sexual harassment accusation of Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, in 1991, the Senate, whom at that time was mostly dominated by men, called her “scornful” and a “liar”. The media then followed the trail of the Senate by desensitizing Hill’s accusation by referring to the case as, “A chilling effect”. Such comments made by the Senate and media seemed to be an attempt to halt any future instances of women coming out and accusing prominent male members of society of sexual acts of misconduct. This is just one example of how men have attempted to stifle the progression of women’s equality. Furthermore, in 1970, 2/3 of women agreed that men are basically kind and considerate. Now, 44% of women only agree with that statement. In 1970, 41% of women agreed that men’s egos require them to put women down. Now, 58% of women agree with that statement. This statistical trend reflects how men have grown increasingly intolerable of women’s rights as more and more women have pressed the issue. Additionally, women have grown aware of men’s displeasure toward women’s equality, and this time around, women are not going to allow men to get away with it. As a male, I’m quite disgusted that men feel the need to put women down to make themselves feel better, and I actually find that to be more of an insecurity issue than a dominance one. Lastly, I feel for women and their fight for overall equality, and after listening to Michael Kimmel’s lecture, I’ll make sure to be more aware of this particular social issue. After all, I feel that awareness of this pressing issue, particularly amongst men, is vital toward aiding men in supporting women’s equality.

    Lance Rautzhan

    I believe men can make Feminist art because I have.

    Founding Mothers 11

    Founding Mothers 11″ X 8.5″ Ink Jet Print Collage on Paper, 2018

    Three Women founded Museum of Modern Art. their perMANent collection is predominantly male. To borrow a phrase from Donald via Arsenio, “Hmmmmm.”

    Truth is I never really thought about feminism much, mostly because I was a little scared of the term and fear was a product of lack of understanding. Through women like Karen Keifer-Boyd and Wanda Knight I have come to understand the pervasive nature of the patriarchy and that as a man I have an obligation to question the prevailing hegemony. Full disclosure, these women are my professors and I’m not trying to gain some “brownie points” (see below for etymology of brownie points). Rather, I wanted to expose how effective a pedagogy that is centered on art can be. The piece above was made last semester in Wanda’s Diversity course. “Founding Mothers” is a testament to the pedagogies of both Karen and Wanda and in keeping with my re-mixed Beuysian philosophy that my studio practice and pedagogical practice are inextricably intertwined, now, here, enters the discourse as an educational tool. Artists have a unique voice, and art is a useful if not vital tool to expose inequities of all kinds. From a feminist perspective, you can hand out an article by Chris Weedon to everyone on the street and expect that the average person would probably toss it, especially if the passerby is a man and the title includes the word feminism. Or, you can install a Barbara Kruger piece in the town square. No offense to Chris Weedon, I really enjoy her writing but I think you can catch my drift.

    This caught my eye when doing a quick search on the etymology of brownie points:
    “A popular etymology is an allusion to the merit badges or six points earned by Brownies (junior Girl Guides/Girl Scouts) for carrying out good deeds. Brownies were named after a kind of mythological elf that does helpful things around the house.”
    Lots to think about in there from a feminist standpoint. Maybe I should make some art about it…

    caroline grace

    During the 24 years that I have lived on Earth as a woman, I can say that I do believe that men play a role in the women’s struggle for equality. With that being said, I believe that there are women who have also played a role in the issue.
    Ignorant, self-infatuated people as a whole hinder the evolution of women in society. I have witnessed men who would immediately assume that I am incapable of doing tasks that they may not consider “right” for a woman, but I have also experienced men that are capable of working on an equal playing field, and have the same expectations for me as they would for a male.
    I think that the narcissistic man that has a low self esteem is especially held accountable for the woman being put second, so that he can feel mighty.
    But I also think that there are women who would rather let “him” go first so that they don’t have to deal with the wrath of a man who doesn’t want to deal with a woman who may be equal to or greater than him.

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