Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

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Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Fri Mar 22, 7:02 2019

It seems to me that most historical changes occur gradually in a step by step manner. This suggests what can be called cultural or social inertia. That is that people have to become accustomed and familiar to new concepts before they are willing to accept them. Below I give an example of this in regard to the gradual acceptance of women being equal to men in terms of women being educated, being allowed to vote and then of people being willing to vote for women.

Bathsua Makin was born c. 1600 in London and was a writer of both prose and poetry. She was able to read four different languages and had an understanding of two more, as well as possessing knowledge of medical practices. In 1673 after a life which included teaching, she wrote An Essay To Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen, in Religion, Manners, Arts & Tongues. With An Answer to the Objections against this Way of Education. Thus in the 17th century she was attempting to promote education for upper class females.

Just seven years or so Basthsua Makin’s junior was Anna van Schurman, born in 1607 in Cologne in what is now Germany. In 1636 she became the first female student to study at the University of Utrecht and wrote, in 1646, a book entitled Whether the Study of Letters is Fitting for a Christian Woman. During most of her life she advocated for female education and felt that women were inherently as intelligent and able to learn as men.

Mary Astetll was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1666 and in 1700 wrote her Some Reflections upon Marriage, Occasion’d by the Duke & Dutchess of Mazarine’s CASE Which is also consider’d. She also wrote A Serious Proposal to the Ladies by a lover of her sex in 1694 and is quoted as writing “If all Men are born free how is it that all Women are born Slaves?” As with her two predecessors mentioned above she was a proponent of female education.

Born in 1656 in Winslade, Devon, Lady Mary Cudleigth was part of the same literary group as Mary Astetll and in 1701 wrote The Ladies Defence: or, The Bride-Woman’s Counsellor Aswer’d: A POEM in a DIALOGUE between Sir John Brute, Sir William Loveall, Melissa, and a Parson. She also wrote a poem in 1703 entitled To the Ladies. The poem can be seen here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/ ... the-ladies. Lady Cudleigth advocated more equality both in marriage and in education. Other women in the literary group along with Mary Astetll and Lady Cudleigth were Elizabeth Thomas, Judith Drake, Elizabeth Elstob and Lady Mary Wortley Montaqu.

On March 31, 1776 Abigail Adams (the future first lady of the United States) wrote to her husband, John Adams (the future President) the following:

“. . . and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

“That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex.”

Then in reply to his wife’s plea John Adams writes on April 14, 1776, “Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full Force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat.”

In 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft’s (born on April 27, 1759 in London, England) book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects was published. Quotes from this book include:

“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone. I earnestly wish to point out in what true dignity and human happiness consists – I wish to persuade women to endeavour to acquire strength, both mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonymous with epithets of weakness, and that those beings who are only objects of pity and that kind of love, which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of contempt.”

“It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men.”

“I may excite laughter, by dropping an hint, which I mean to pursue, some future time for I really think that women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without having any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.” (Chapter 9)

Here is a nice short video (3 minutes long) illustrating one of Mary Wollstonedcraft ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjalBmkmkvE.

(To be continued)
Tom,

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by melsbells » Mon Mar 25, 13:03 2019

I'm not familiar with the first four women you mention. Thanks for highlighting them.
Endymion wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 7:02 2019
It seems to me that most historical changes occur gradually in a step by step manner. This suggests what can be called cultural or social inertia. That is that people have to become accustomed and familiar to new concepts before they are willing to accept them.
I'm skeptical of this viewpoint. It often is sadled with the idea that history is a linear progression. Though I can't argue against the need for familiarity. It's the only way I see to overcome entrenchment bias. But, interracial marriage was legalized in the US before the practice was accepted by a majority of people.
Then the exchange between Abigail and John Adams feels sickeningly familiar to exchanges in contemporary times.

It's striking how much class and racial privilege are evident in these arguments. So the right to be educated and have a voice, if you have the right pedigree. I seem to remember Wollstonecraft talking about class rights, but it's been to long since I read "A Vindication of the Rights of Women".

In Bertrand Russell's correspondence with his first wife, Alys Pearsall Smith, he talks about a paper he wrote in support of women becoming members of The Apostles Society (philosophy circle) as well as generally supporting the move for formal admission of women in the university, which was initially well received in his philosophy circle, until they discovered he was engaged and then contributed much of his thoughts on the subject to Alys Pearsall Smith's influence, as though he was only trying to impress her.
That would have been over a century later than Wollstonecraft. In that same time period (late 1800's), the idea that the state ought to subsidize maternity was also being taken seriously.

Thanks for the write up. I will continue looking forward to the continuation.

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Tue Mar 26, 6:06 2019

Melsbells, thank you for your polite and informative comment, I feel it is important for viewers to read different opinions and I certainly don’t feel I am always correct. I would not say that “history is a linear progression,” but it seems to me that it tends in a particular direction, however at different speeds and with some regressions. Perhaps the next part will illustrate this better, but then maybe not.

Tom,

Added: I agree with you that there is a certain amount of class privilege evident in those arguments.

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Tue Mar 26, 10:30 2019

Part Two:

The New Jersey (USA) constitution of 1776 stated that “all inhabitants of this colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds . . .” were allowed to vote. Since it stated “all inhabitants” it meant that women and non-whites who met the other requirements could vote. Now, because of the requirement of being “worth fifty pounds” no married women could vote. This is because by law married women could not own property and by law all property was owned by their husbands. However, even this limited right was taken away in 1807.

Back in Britain, in 1832 a petition calling for the single women’s vote was sent to Parliament by Mary Smith. This was the first such petition.

In the United States the Woman’s Rights Movement was very much connected with the movement to end slavery.

In 1796 Sojourner Truth (name at birth Isabella Baumfree) was born as a slave. She was freed in 1826 as a result of New York State anti-slavery laws. During the rest of her life she supported rights for both blacks and women and for abolition.

Sarah Grimke was born in South Carolina in 1792 to a slave owning family. Her sister Angelina Grimke was born 13 years later. Both women were active in both the movements for abolition and for women’s rights. In 1838 Sarah wrote Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman.

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (born November 12, 1815) and Lucretia Mott (born January 3, 1793) initiated the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, in NYS. Close to 200 women were present. At the convention Elizabeth Cady Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments. This document in part reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . .” Further, “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.” The document then goes on to list grievances starting with “He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.” See here for a complete copy: https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon ... nsent.html.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (born in 1820) met in 1851 and started to work together for women’s rights. On Election Day in 1872 Susan cast a vote in order to test the constitutionality of such an act under the 14th Amendment. She was not successful in this.

January 1867 saw the formation of the Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage (Britain) and two years later this society held a public meeting on this issue. In 1880 women on the Isle of Man were given the right to vote and in 1894 British women could vote in local elections.

In 1869 Wyoming (United States), then a territory and not a state, allowed women to vote. This was followed, before 1900, by three other territories, all in the west. Upon becoming a state in 1890 Wyoming continued to allow women to vote. Colorado (1893) and Utah and Idaho (both 1896) followed suit. A Women’s Suffrage Amendment was brought before the US congress in 1878.

Emmeline Pankhust was born in 1858 in Manchester, England and in 1889 she organized the Women’s franchise League and then in 1903 helped organize the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was a major figure in the British suffrage movement. In June of 1911 40,000 British women publicly demonstrated for the female vote and in 1913 50,000 did so.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed in Britain, allowing women over the age of 30 to vote. This right was extended to all women over the age of 21 in 1928. In 1919 Nancy Astor became the first female member of the House of Commons.

By 1919, just prior to the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, a total of 27 states allowed women to vote for President. Most only did so after 1909. Then on August 18, 1920 the 19th amendment was ratified. It simply reads “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Republican Jeannette Rankin was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1916 from the state of Montana. She was the first women to serve in the US Congress. She did not run for the House in 1918, but instead ran for the Senate, however she lost that contest. As a result there were no women in the 1919 to 1921 Congress however that was the last congress without a female member. When Jeannette Rankin was first elected to the House the US Congress had 531 members so in 1917, 0.2% of the membership were women. Today (2019) there are 535 voting members 127 of whom are women, so today 24% of the membership are women. Here are the average numbers of women in the US Congress per decade starting in 1919:

(1919 to 29) 2.6
(1929 to 39) 8.2
(1939 to 49) 9.4
(1949 to 59) 13.4
(1959 to 69) 15.6
(1969 to 79) 16.2
(1979 to 89) 22.8
(1989 to 99) 47.4
(1999 to 2009) 76.4
(2009 to 19) 98.8

As of the 2018 election there are 127 (24%) women in congress with 25 (25%) in the senate and 102 (23%) in the house, an all time record.

What is interesting is that not only did the number of women in congress increase from one decade period to the next, but there has been acceleration in this increase. For example between the 64th congress (1915 to 1917) and the 90th congress (1967 to 1969) (26 congresses) the number of women in congress increased from zero to 12, while between the 90th congress and the 116th congress (2019 to 2021) (also 26 congresses) the number of women in congress increased from 12 to 127, an increase of 115 over the same number of congresses.

This data was obtained from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, see here: https://cawp.rutgers.edu/history-women-us-congress

So based on the idea of cultural or social inertia the lack of women in politics is not due to some natural biological difference with men, otherwise there would be no change or very little change, but to the time needed for people to become accustomed to the idea of female equality, in that each generation becomes somewhat more accustomed to that.

Tom,

To be continued,

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Sonic# » Thu Mar 28, 14:41 2019

First, thank you for sharing. I like reading about the summaries of women, and in a few cases I didn't know about them. (Bathsua Makin is literally a couple of years outside of the literary time period I studied, and she didn't come up in my surveys like Mary Astell did, so I knew next to nothing about her.)

Like mels, I have reservations about posing an idea of cultural or social inertia. If I were to add one idea to the picture, it's that of conflict. In other words, civil rights and power for women accrues as a result of people repeatedly having to confront challenges to cultural norms, and it is precisely those challenges that some people become accustomed to and other people try to snuff out. So the history of women's rights isn't what I'd describe as a process of inertia (which risks minimizing the efforts people made to change the standards of their time) but one of effort, confronting norms, false starts, advances, and retreats. Summarily, people have to actively work to keep feminist issues at the forefront, or the efforts of opponents may outswarm them.

A couple of brief examples:

I love Mary Wollstonecraft. Both A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman are brilliant and rhetorically dazzling texts, and the second is one of the great defenses of education. She recognized that the French revolution represented a chance to grant educational opportunities to everyone and to effectively upend the system of privilege that put men over women. Her arguments were not unchallenged during her life, but her detractors could effectively render her arguments inert after her death. When her husband William Godwin published his memoir on Wollstonecraft, she was effectively scandalized for having relationships and children outside of her marriage, even if Godwin approved. Her life was taken far more seriously than her writings for a long time, and it took her work slowly being read and rediscovered by later feminist writers for Wollstonecraft's influence to grow. Her life was the point of substantial conflict, and it was those points of engagement and conflict that eventually led to her wider recognition - finally, her defenders won out.

Rachel Speght in 1615 wrote a response to a misogynistic tract by someone named Joseph Swetnam. Swetnam's Arraignment of Women has sexist jokes galore as well as lots of Biblical justification for why women are inferior, wicked, and should never be trusted. (These claims are typical and centuries old by this point - look up the "querelle des femmes" tradition for more.) Speght's response, A Mouzell for Melastomus, is a rhetorically superior takedown of Swetnam's arguments. She uses classical philosophers, Biblical verses, and a store of Greek myths and stories along with a deep store of logic to call his argument out systematically. She made a splash and influenced some readers, but it was Swetnam's original tract that was republished several times in the 17th and 18th centuries; hers wasn't. Her influence was modest. So it's not like there was a pathway for people to grow more accustomed to Speght's ideas. It is only through sustained effort and interest, not inertia, that any set of ideas has a chance.

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Fri Mar 29, 6:34 2019

Sonic, by social or cultural inertia I mean that people have to become accustomed and familiar to new concepts before they are willing to accept them. As with Melsbells I thank you for your polite comment and I feel it is important for viewers to read different opinion and I certainly don’t feel I am always correct.

Tom,

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Sat Mar 30, 6:46 2019

Part Three

Starting in 1937 Gallup Polls asked people in the US whether they would vote for a woman for President. In 1937 only one third said they would, in 1949 the percentage saying yes was equal as to the percentage saying no and in 2015, 92% said they would vote for a woman. That was actually down from 2012 when 95% said they would vote for a woman. However over all, with that one exception, there has been an increase in the percentage of people who would vote for a woman, which supports the idea that people are becoming more accepting of women in politics.

Woman
Year Yes No No Opinion
2015 92 8 0
2012 95 5 0
1999 92 7 1
1987 82 12 6
1984 78 17 5
1983 80 16 4
1978 76 19 5
1975 73 23 4
1971 66 29 5
1969 53 40 7
1967 57 41 4
1963 55 39 4
1959 57 39 4
1958 54 41 5
1955 52 44 4
1949 48 48 4
1945 33 55 12
1937 33 64 3

Further, the 2016 presidential race was the first time in US history that a woman won the popular vote. This also shows a continuing movement toward voters being willing to vote for a woman. More importantly Hillary won 56% of the 18 to 24 year old voters, 53% of the 25 to 29 year old voters and 51% of the 30 to 39 year old voters, so Hillary received more than 50% of the vote from those between the ages of 18 to 39. However, she did lose the popular vote from those older than 40 years. This suggests that those who are become of voting age in the future will be even more willing to vote for a woman.

A very brief comment on women’s education: In 1840 eleven women received their Bachelor degrees from the Georgia Female College. These were the first women in the United States to earn such a degree. See here: https://ischool.uw.edu/podcasts/dtctw/f ... ge-diploma. In 1970 the female to male ratio of total undergraduate fall enrollment in degree granting postsecondary institutions was 73 female to every 100 males, but by 1980 that ratio increased to 109 female to every 100 males and in 2015 it was 127 females to every 100 males. Further it is projected that by 2026 it the ratio will be 132 females for every 100 males according to the National Center for Education Statistics, see here: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16 ... 303.70.asp.

By 1995, in the United States, there were more women than men between the ages of 25 to 29 with a bachelor’s degree or higher. See here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/184 ... by-gender/

In a following post I plan to write about women in the arts, but I am currently searching for information on the ability of married women to own their own property (Laws of Covertures) and more information on the history of the education of women. I would very much like it if anyone would contribute to this topic in regard to women in history. While I know somewhat about female scientist I do not know that much and would like if someone wrote about female scientist in history.

Tom

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Mon Apr 1, 8:00 2019

Not Everything Changes:

Back in the 1980s a group of female artists, calling themselves the Gorilla Girls, put out a poster which asked the question “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” and followed with the explanation that “Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.” In compiling more recent information from the Metropolitan Museum’s website I found that there are only 126 works by only 50 female artists on display at the Fifth Avenue main building of the Metropolitan Museum. Here is a compilation of statistics dealing with this issue presented on the website of the National Museum of Women in the Arts see here: https://nmwa.org/advocate/get-facts. And here is an article entitled Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, and Fixes by Maura Reilly at ArtNews see here: http://www.artnews.com/2015/05/26/takin ... and-fixes/. Another interest point is from a 1986 NY Times article concerning H. W. Janson’s History of Art, that “. . . no female artists were mentioned in earlier editions, [of Janson’s book] except for an anonymous Greek vase painter.” The paper described Janson’s book as “. . . a campus classic, a seven-pound, 750-page tome filled with pictures and prose, remembered by tens of thousands of liberal-arts graduates simply as Janson’s – the basic college textbook on the world’s great painting and sculpture.” See here: https://www.nytimes.com/1986/03/12/book ... -text.html. So it seems that not everything changes.

This is particularly strange as it is likely that during the 19th century and maybe before, there were more and maybe many more female artists as compared to male artists, except that the female artists were mostly amateurs as indicated by the following quotes. “Like many nineteenth-century middle-class British women, [Mary] Best took drawing and painting lessons as a young child. The pursuit of such activities signified a leisured lifestyle and was considered indispensable to young women, both for amusing themselves and for providing accomplishments that would attract suitable husbands.” See Temma Balducci, (http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/sprin ... an-artists) third paragraph. And “Although bourgeois and upper-class French women were encouraged to pursue informal artistic training, and particularly to produce small-scale pencil drawings and watercolor paintings, there was a clear demarcation between arts d’agrement and painting as a professional endeavor. Women who crossed this line were often viewed as “acknowledged outsiders,” “mavericks,” and even trespassers in the art world, by both men and women and by both artistic producers and consumers.” See The Problem of Woman Artists (https://genderstudies.nd.edu/assets/391 ... tist_1.pdf) first paragraph. So it seems that most women had the jump on most men in regard to training to be artists.

Bright spots in regard to female artists include the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), located in Washington DC. They have works from more than 1,000 female artists. See here for a somewhat long (27 minute) video on the NMWA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXaln1MDGwg. At this link profiles on many of the female artists whose works are shown at the museum can be found listed alphabetically: https://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles#A and here can be found images of some of the works in the collection: https://nmwa.org/our-collection. The image search can be narrowed by artist, time period, medium or theme.

The NMWA also started the #5womenartists program which asked people if they could name five women artists. See here for a 1 ½ minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6zgrgxsXXE. If you are interested the video will be followed by six more short videos dealing with female artists. In addition the Tate museum in the United Kingdom, as part of this program, is committed to hosting five large-scale exhibits from female artists. See here: https://www.bustle.com/p/the-tates-5wom ... f-16439752.

Also the Brooklyn Museum, located in Brooklyn NY (the site of my nativity), in 2018 added works from 96 female artists to their collection. In addition the Elizabeth A, Sackler Center for Feminist Arts, an exhibition and education setting, is located at the Brooklyn Museum and has been for more than ten years.

According to a Bustle article by Farah Joan Fard “. . . women make up 60-70 percent of those studying art at a university level . . .” although that does not translate into more art by female artists being shown. See here: https://www.bustle.com/p/women-outnumbe ... uate-55299.

To be continued

Tom,

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Enigma » Tue Apr 2, 7:19 2019

Artists and art becoming part of the canon in the art world is dictated less by the arrival of new geniuses and more by who champions who than we'd like. It's insanely difficult to get from good at painting to shown in important museums and pulling in record money at auction. No one makes it completely on their own. They need connections and champions. The reality is those resources are harder for women to get.

That link to the gorilla girls followup is interesting. The bump in income married men and fathers receive is so odd.

One of my majors in school was art and I took some art history as well. I remember taking a women's art history course and being absolutely astounded at the women who were out there leading artistic trends but who weren't mentioned in the standard art history courses.

A few artists you might enjoy who were successful in their time but who we don't often hear about.

Realism - Rosa Bonheur: https://www.wikiart.org/en/rosa-bonheur
Realistic sculpture - Anne Whitney: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Whitney
Impressionism - Mary Cassatt: https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt
Various styles-cubism - Natalia Gonchariva: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-gonc ... tworks.htm
Surrealism - Dorothea Tanning: https://www.wikiart.org/en/dorothea-tanning
Contemporary sculpture - Louise Bourgeois: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/lou ... -bourgeois
"Human beings are amazing... we might be horrible, horrible, but we're wonderful too. Otherwise, why go on?"

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Tue Apr 2, 14:57 2019

Enigma after you asked me who my favorite artists were and when I saw that your profile said you were “Into art” I was hoping you would add to this topic. Of the six artists you linked to I only knew of two – Rosa Bonheur and Mary Cassatt – so I now know of four more female artists than I did. So thank you. Rosa Bonheur’s work is unique in that she did so many paintings of animals. My favorite of her works and what is most likely considered her master piece is her Le Marché aux Chevaux (The Horse Fair). I plan to write about five female artists in an upcoming post and to include a part on that painting.

Tom,

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Thu Apr 4, 11:09 2019

Continuing from the last post:

Of cause there have been professional women artist and this video (4 ½ minutes) gives information on two female renaissance artists and shows some of their works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd9IXZES0mU. The artists are Sofonisba Anguissola b. 1532 in Cremona, northern Italy – note her painting showing her sisters playing chess and the various emotions shown their faces and Lavinia Fontana b. 1552 in Bologna, Italy who became a member of the Roman Academy (online Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another woman artist was Adelaide Labille Guiard born in France in 1746. She painted her Self-Portrait with Two Pupils in 1785.

Image

To me this painting is more than a simple self-portrait. The artist is shown actively engaged in her professions. On her lap rests the tools of her trade, a palette, brushes and a mahl stick. She is also in the process of preparing her brush for the next application of the paint. Her confidence is revealed by her direct gaze at her subject, which from appearances could be the viewer. She also shows herself to be calm and assertive. She is in control. Adélaïde Labille–Guiard is not only pursuing her profession of painting, but is also engaged in her profession of teaching painting. Marie Gabrielle Capet, one of her pupils, looks with interest at the canvas while the other, Carreaux de Rosemond with similar interest looks at the subject. They are eager to see what their teacher is doing. This is not a passive scene at all.

Here is a short slide show, with music, of Adelaide Guiard’s paintings (just over two minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTt11xOWBpE.

Rosa Bonheur’s painting Le Marché aux Chevaux (The Horse Fair), (1852 to 1855) is a remarkable and energetic work of art, see here:

Image

It is large, being approximately 8 by 16 ½ feet in size. Despite showing a scene located on the Boulevard de l’Hôpital, in southeast Paris the subject of the painting is very much nature. The large numbers of horses, which occupy most of the foreground of the picture, are swirling in a cyclone of action. They are only barely under the control of the human handlers and in some places they appear to be about to break out. The browns, whites and blacks of the horses add to the excitement of the painting. While it appears to be a warm day, the sky seems threatening with its gathering dark blue clouds, which contrast with the green of the large trees. The only building in sight is the dome of the Salpêtrière Hospital in the far background. The depiction of nature only barely under the control of humans exemplifies the Romantic ideology and can be seen as signifying emotions being just barely under the control of the intellect. In observing this scene, a couple of times a week for over one year, the artist wore men’s clothes and had to get official police permission to do so, as it was illegal for women to wear men’s clothing in Paris at that time without such permission. Rosa Bonheur was born in Bordeau, France in 1822. In an earlier comment Enigma posted a link to a site showing 53 other paintings by this artist.

The sculptor Edmonia Lewis was born c. 1844 in New York State to a mother who was a member of the Chippewa also known as the Ojibwa tribe and a father who was a free man of African descent. She was given the name “Wildfire” by her mother. Here is the artist’s work The Death of Cleopatra (1876, 5 ¼ feet high, in marble):

Image

According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “the piece was first exhibited to great acclaim at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and critics raved that it was the most impressive American sculpture in the show. Not long after its debut, however, Death of Cleopatra was presumed lost for almost a century—appearing at a Chicago saloon, marking a horse’s grave at a suburban racetrack, and eventually reappearing at a salvage yard in the 1980s.” See here: https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/deat ... atra-33878. It is now at the Smithsonian. Here is a video, with music showing the work from various angles and in detail (6 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8Vj03U874. Others sculptures created by this artists include – a bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (1864), Old Indian Arrowmaker and his Daughter (1866 to 1872), Morning of Liberty, Forever Free (1867), Hiawatha’s Marriage (1874) and Hagar in the Wilderness (1875). Edmonia Lewis did much of her work and lived much of her life in Rome, Italy, having moved there in 1865.

Tom,

Sign of progress: Lori Lightfoot, who describes herself as “an out and proud black lesbian” was elected mayor of Chicago, the nation’s third most populated city. Her nearest rival was Toni Preckwinkle also a black woman.

To be continued

Endymion

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Tue Apr 9, 15:10 2019

Seemingly Fine Arts are not the only area where female artists are underrepresented. From what I see this is also the case for Movies, Music and Literature. According to a report by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism on average per year over the eleven years 2007 to 2017 only 30.7 % of speaking characters were female in the top-grossing films (1100 films) (http://assets.uscannenberg.org/docs/ine ... -films.pdf). And during that same time period there were only 53 female directors out of a total of 1223 (4.3%). Looking at the 91 different films which have won the “best picture Oscar” it seems to me that only 13 are primarily about a female or females (14% of all “best pictures”). Also it seems to me that 15 “best picture” movies are primarily about mixed couples or groups (17% of all “best pictures”) which leave 63 “best pictures” (69% of “best pictures”) primarily about a male or males. When I write “it seems to me” I mean after seeing the film or reading about it. Here are the 13 “best pictures” that I feel are primarily about a female or females:

The Broadway Melody 1929
Gone with the Wind 1939
Mrs. Miniver 1942
All About Eve 1950
The Sound of Music 1965
Terms of Endearment 1983
Out of Africa 1985
The Silence of the Lambs 1991
The English Patient 1996
Titanic 1997
Chicago 2002
Million Dollar Baby 2004
The Shape of Water 2017

A list of best picture winners up until 2018 can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls009480135/.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) contains lots of information on virtually all films. According to their data see here there are 14,756,195 actresses listed and 23,369,933 actors listed for a ratio of 1.6 actors for every actress. This means that for every three actress credits there are approximately five actor credits.

According to the Geena (Davis) Benchmark Report 2007-2017, “Male leads vastly outnumber female leads – 71.3% compared to 28.8%” (in the top 100 Family Films). See here: https://seejane.org/wp-content/uploads/ ... -12-19.pdf. Also according to Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “Even among the top-grossing G-rated family films, girl characters are out number of boys three-to-one.” Also, “That’s the same ratio that has existed since the end of World War II. For decades, male characters have dominated nearly three-quarters of speaking parts in children’s entertainment, and 83% of film and TV narrators are male. See here https://seejane.org/research-informs-em ... ths-facts/.

Possible good news is that, as reported by The Wrap, “For the first time since 1958, the top three highest grossing domestic releases have featured female leads.” This was in 2017. These films were Star Wars: The Last Jedi starting Daisy Ridley; Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot. See here: https://www.thewrap.com/female-lead-fil ... ox-office/. Hopefully this is the start of a trend (although based on 2018 it may not be) and not just something that happens once every 60 years or so. The 1958 movies were South Pacific starring Mitzi Gaynor, Auntie Mame starting Rosalind Russell and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Elizabeth Taylor.

Here is an article by Laura Berger entitled Michelle Williams and Laura Dern Talk Equal Pay and the Power of Standing United from Women and Hollywood: https://womenandhollywood.com/michelle- ... ng-united/. The article is not only about existing problems, but also points to recent improvements for example Michelle Williams is quoted as saying “I could tell my workplace was shifting,” and “Rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long at a morning greeting, my hand was shaken and I was looked squarely in the eye and I was welcomed to my Monday morning.” It was also noted that “She [Michelle Williams] was also paid the same amount as Sam Rockwell, her co-star on ‘Fosse/Verdon.’ an upcoming FX miniseries.” Further, this feature from Women and Hollywood lists “. . . all of the women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films premiering this April [2019]” (See here: https://womenandhollywood.com/april-2019-film-preview/.) The list includes descriptions and pictures. I feel that it is important to recognize that there are problems, but also that in some areas things are improving.

In deciding whether a best picture winner was primarily about a female or females I used my subjective feelings after seeing or reading about the film. This brings us to the Bechdel test named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel. There are three rules for movies in this test, one, it has to have at least two women in it who, two, talk to each other about, three, something besides a man. When I first heard of this rule I thought it meant that they never talk about a man, but now it seems that it means they talk about something other than a man at least once. See here for the comic that presented this rule: http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/wp-conten ... ned-up.jpg.

Here is a short (2 minutes) video about the Bechdel test from feministfrequency: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s. This link goes to a longer video on this topic The Oscars and The Bechdel Test (10 ½ minutes), also from feministfrequency: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8JuizIXw8 and here is a video comparing and explaining the Bechdel Test and the Mako Mori Test by Rowan Ellis (8 ½ minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiRFu1a143E.

I know I do a lot of links and I don’t expect everyone to go to every link, but I put them there to give people and option and also to show I am not making things up.

Tom,

To be continued

Endymion

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Thu Apr 11, 14:14 2019

Emigma, I was looking through the comments from people who have added to this thread and I realized I didn’t pay full attention to your point that:

“Artists and art becoming part of the canon in the art world is dictated less by the arrival of new geniuses and more by who champions who than we'd like. It's insanely difficult to get from good at painting to shown in important museums and pulling in record money at auction. No one makes it completely on their own. They need connections and champions. The reality is those resources are harder for women to get.”

This is very important in understanding why there have been so many fewer women, not only in the fine arts, but in many other aspects of the public life. Thank you for mentioning that point.

Tom,

Endymion

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Tue Apr 16, 13:04 2019

Here are two films that are not only about women, but are dominated by female characters. The first is Stage Door (1937) which was nominated for Best Picture in 1938. The female characters include:

Terry Randall, played by Katharine Hepburn b. 1907;
Jean Maitland, played by Ginger Rogers b. 1911, my favorite all around entertainer,
Judith Canfield, played by Lucille Ball b. 1911;
Eve, played by Eve Arden b. 1908, who also played as Our Miss Brooks on TV in the mid 1950s and as Principal McGee in the film Grease,
Annie played by Ann Miller b. 1923, she was 14 years old when the film was made and lied about her age and had a fake birth certificate to get the part;
Kay Hamilton, played by Andrea Leeds b. 1914, who was Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this movie in 1938;
Linda Shaw, played by Gail Patrick b. 1911;
Miss Luther, played by Constance Collier b. 1878, she was 58 years old when the film was made, started on the stage at age 3 (1881), her first film was in 1916 and her last film was in 1940;
Hattie played by Phyllis Kennedy b. 1914.

The following link goes to a video 4 minutes long showing the beginning of the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OJ-7UBRvEw. The above mentioned characters as they first appear are Hattie shown sweeping up, Judith Canfield shown sitting on the couch, Linda Shaw shown walking down the stairs, Eve with the white cat over her shoulders, Jean Maitland running down the stairs to confront Linda Shaw and Miss Luther sitting in a chair knitting then talking.

Here is another clip from the movie entitled Lucille Ball & Ginger Rogers in Stage Door (1 minute). Toward the end it shows Annie (Ann Miller), with the white cap, leaving out the front door with Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQ-2E4hoSXw. And here is the Official Trailer for the movie (2 minutes). Both Kay Hamilton (Andrea Leeds) and Terry Randall (Katherine Hepburn) can be seen in this video. See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flax6E338y4.

One of the great things for me about this movie is the strong comradeship shown among the women.

The Women (1939) is a film with an all female cast, including children and animals. Here are the full credits for the movie from IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032143/fullcredits. I counted 120 “actors,” but the trailer gives a figure of 135 women. It was based on a play by Clare Boothe Luce. Also the trailer claims that the movie is “. . . all about men.” See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8WsqaN4izs. I don’t agree with that, even though the women talk a great deal about men (it may even fail the Bechdel Test), but it is all about the women’s feelings and shows their emotions. The acting is good and I particularly like Norma Shearer b. 1902 as Mrs. Stephen Haines – Mary – I feel she is a great actress (I go between using the term actress or actor for a female actor); Rosalind Russell b. 1907, as Mrs. Howard Fowler – Sylvia and 12 year old Virginia Weidler as “Little Mary.” Here is Virginia in the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story speaking French, walking on her toes and singing the song Lydia the Tattooed Lady, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR-qbWsUfZc. I’m not sure if she is actually playing the piano, but this clip shows her great talent. Her performance in The Woman is more dramatic showing her range. As to whether these movies are Feminist films I will leave to the viewer to decide, particularly in regard to The Women. A remake of this movie was made in 2008, directed by Diane English who also wrote the screenplay. I believe the cast for that film also was all female (See here for the full cast: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430770/fu ... cl_sm#cast).

I don’t feel that comradeship in The Women is as strong as in Stage Door and I would recommend Stage Door over The Women, but you can see them both. Turner Classic Movies is showing Stage Door on June 14, 2019 at 1:00 am (set your DVR for it) and The Women is scheduled for July 26, 2019 at 8:00 pm.

Tom,

To be continued

Endymion

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Re: Women in history and an examination of gender norms:

Post by Endymion » Mon Apr 22, 6:35 2019

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism also produced a report on females in the music industry (http://assets.uscannenberg.org/docs/aii ... o-2019.pdf). According to this report on average per year over the seven years from 2012 to 2018, 21.7% of artists were women (out of 700 songs) (3.6 males to 1 female); 12.3% of songwriters were women (700 songs) and 2.1% of producers were women (400 songs). Further from 2013 to 2019 the percentage of female Grammy nominates were: 8.2% for record of the year, 6.6% for album of the year, 20.6% for song of the year, 41.1% for best new artist and 2.6% for producer of the year. Further only 24 of “Rolling Stone’s” 100 Greatest Singers of All Time are women, see here https://www.rollingstone.com/music/musi ... e-4-35089/ (dated 2010). Of course Rolling Stone is only considering what I would call “Pop Singers” that is singers that one would hear on most commercial radio stations.

According to The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, report Inclusion in the Recording Studio? (See first link in this post) the top female songwriters “across 700 popular songs from 2012 -2018” with the number of their credits are:

Onika Maraj (Nicki Minaj) 18 credits
Robyn Fenty (Rihanna) 14 credits
Taylor Swift 12 credits
Katheryn Hudson (Katy Perry) 9 credits
Adele Adkins 8 credits
Sia Furler 8 credits
Belcalis Almanzar (Cardi B) 8 credits
Brittany Hazzard (Starrah) 8 credits
Selena Gomez 7 credits

Personally I generally prefer female singers, possibly due to having heard so many male singers throughout my life although I also feel that popular female singers tend to have a greater range in regard to variations in pitch and that is something I like. I prefer singers who use their voice as a musical instrument to the extent that I like hearing songs sung in a language I do not understand, which is every language except English and also vocalization without words, even to the extent of feeling that in some cases knowing the words interfere with my enjoyment of the musicality of the singers voice.

Tom,

To be continued

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