Posts Tagged 'gender'

Periods and shopping – hormones and female vices

Why is it that women must have an “excuse” for overspending?

More importantly- why is iot that psychologists feel the need to link such a “feminine” trait such as uncontrolable spending to the menstrual cycle? This to me just seems like the comments scientists made about women at the start of the 20th century- being hysterical, their minds controlled by the womb, and how this made them unqualified for the vote. And this time it seems a much less high-profile fight for women’s rights.

And this is not to mention the potential problems with this arguement- does it still hold true for those who have gone through the menopause, or young women who have not started their periods yet? Or women like me who have P.C.O.S.? Plus surely there are men out there who make so-called impulse buys and overspend on things they don’t strictly need…

‘Are womens spending habits linked to their hormones?’ – why this question rather than ‘Are men’s urges to watch football related to their hormones?’ or something similar. The fact is it’s so much easier and more acceptable to  create the idea that women are incapable of controlling their actions than it is for men. I’m sure there have been studies into the links between testostrone and increased violence in men, or similar, but it just worries me that we still find the need to justify (socially constructed) gender differences via science.

The disappearing art of the tomboy

I read an interesting article about the ‘tomboy’ a couple of months ago, and found myself struggling to think of one I might personally know. I used to *try to* be one myself, when younger, as have both my sisters at various points, but none of us got along particularly well.

I was never a popular child and my own quirks combined with the tendency towards football and yo-yos rather than dolls and pink, made me feel like an outsider from the age of about five. One of my younger sisters has suffered at the hands of various bullies for years, which originally started when she was a tomboy-ish girl in primary school. She later went on to call my littlest sister “odd” or “weird” for some of her boyish tendencies (though this is partially due to her inability to see the appeal of football).

But what is perhaps more interesting about the tomboy than its disappearance is its conception. Whilst it appears to defy gender categorisation, the term tomboy encourages it through the assumptions it makes about typical feminine and masculine behaviour. Whilst I am more than happy for girls to prefer running about and climbing trees to playing ‘mother’ with baby dolls and brushing the hair of barbies, perhaps what we ought to consider is why we feel the need to give these girls a different name to their contemporaries because of this.

Understanding gender

Gender is often seen purely as a binary category distinction between male and female- i.e.: what sex you are. But it is also regarded by some as a social construction of meaning which has effects to do with power. This means that gender studies can be applied to many different contexts and persons- it is not only about discrimination against women, but also discrimination against races, cultures, sexual orientations, religions etc.

Introduction

This blog is a record of my thoughts and ideas surround this issue of women and gender in the arts. It is intended as a reflection of the things I am learning as part of my degree, and as such I hope it will be informative and of interest to others.

What I am hoping to gain from this exploration is a better insight into the feminist issues in the arts,particularly fine art. As a woman producing art in today’s society, I feel it is pertinent to understand the history of what went before- and not simply to accept what we are taught.

My parents brought me up to believe that all people are equal, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, culture, age, sexuality. I believe it is our responsibility to uphold the fair treatment of all, and to do so, we must question the ideologies that (consciously or unconsciously, subtly or unsubtly) shape that which does not value equality and diversity.

I hope that in studying the role of women within art I can better locate myself within a community, a world, that is traditionally so male-dominated; and encounter those who, through their work, made such a thing possible.