The act of saying that the artist must be beautiful becomes hauntingly human. By repeating this line, Abramovic challenges conventional beauty standards and calls upon modern female desires to be physically beautiful. Not only does the performance extract from physical appearance, the piece questions whether art must be beautiful. In performance art, the actions often challenge the performer and bring it to the extreme by putting emotional and physical stress on the artist’s body and mind. Art must be Beautiful, Artist Must be Beautiful puts continuous stress upon the artist’s body by reclaiming the figure as the artists own and exposing the harsh realities of social expectations.
During the 1900s, even after the civil rights movement passed, women continued to be objectified and dismissed. Socially, women were projected as the idealistic housewife, and were given unrealistic beauty standards. Views of women were conflicting, because in the media women could be sexualized, but could not openly talk about sex or have complete authority over their bodies. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, female artists fought to reclaim their bodies and dismiss these sexist ideas. One way women took authority over their bodies was by challenging stereotypes through performance art.
Feminist theorist Diana Meyers studied the agency of women in “Gender in the Mirror: Cultural Imagery and Women’s Agency.” Meyers theorizes that women gain their agency in two primary ways: beauty and narcissism. Meyers applies this theory to the twenty-first century and correlates the rise of cosmetic surgery and the beauty industry to women’s desperation for agency through appearing beautiful. Under this theory, women intermingle their existence with their agency and “unlike Narcissus, who believes he is in love with a beautiful, submerged Other, women are positioned to believe that they will perish if the image in the glass disappears” (Meyers 123). Then, through self-serving actions devoted to achieving beauty ideals, women unintentionally
Unrealistic Expectations of the Beauty Industry The idea of beauty is said to be intangible and completely subjective. Beauty is defined as a quality present in something that brings satisfaction to the mind. Advertisements and billboards often display an image of what society has deemed to be perfection, although the majority of average people feel this image is unattainable. Beauty products are incorporated into many people’s everyday routines, and the beauty industry often takes advantage of this in order to create an unrealistic expectation of beauty that can be harmful to one 's self image. Women in society are often pressured into conforming to unrealistic beauty standards.
A world where ideals of beauty constantly shift . A world where the central power gets to decide what the standard for beauty is through the media. A world where women are judged for their outward appearances and compared to the overarching base for beauty—the Western ideal. That subsists as the reality of Earth in the year 2017. Although conformity can lead to unity, the Western media’s distortion of beauty destroys all of the unique standards of beauty that different cultures have, leading many people to do plastic surgery.
A disconnect between perception and reality is also apparent in the view of gender. In society, women are especially vulnerable to labels and they are shaped by the social, intellectual and domestic stereotypes placed on them. Stereotypes can be changed by addressing the differences between the stereotype and reality. There is a word that goes with the word macho, “marianismo.” It reflects a belief in an ideal woman such as the Virgin Mary. This model woman is gentle, passive, virtuous and self-sacrificing.
The jealousy that marks Hedda’s feelings towards Mrs Elvsted is used to simulate the self-loathing in women that stems from the inability to fit into the traditional female role in society. Where Mrs Elvsted is docile and nurturing, Hedda is manipulative and destructive. This creates a jarring effect as the audience can directly compare the two female characters, especially when the audience notices how effortlessly Mrs Elvsted is able to influence and inspire other characters, like Lovborg and later Tesman, constructively while “everything that [Hedda] touches becomes mean and ludicrous” (p 99). It is ironic that while both female characters were feeling unfulfilled, ultimately, it was Mrs Elvsted - a character who fit into the female role completely - who passionately rejects society’s conventions whilst Hedda kept trying to act within such conventions, even though she had made it clear that she was miserable. This further emphasises Mrs Elvsted’s perfection as she becomes socially liberated, though she only does so to remain emotionally close to Lovborg and continue to play a supporting role to him.
To sum it up, he thinks that women are irrelevant figures when not only compared to men but also compared to society. He summaries a part of the basis of his reasoning on women in one statement: her art is false. They would rather live false lives then to admit to the truth. Women today avoid the truth at all times and when the truth is revealed, they become discontent. Woman’s “chief concern is appearance and beauty, (Nietzsche, 226).” A woman’s concern with the material causes them to be consumed with the superficial and distracts them from meaningful activity.
In her article "Why Feminism Doesn't Need an Aesthetic (And Why It Can't Ignore Aesthetics)" R.Felski notes that "the ubiquitous androcentric metaphors and myths about creativity ... defined" women "and" artists "as terms that mutually exclude each other ... From romanticism to modernism and postmodernism, the artist's image was closely associated with the ideal of sinful masculinity, while women were considered capable of reproduction and imitation at best". [к сожалению, прямой оригинальной цитаты я не нашла, перевела близко к тексту] In the same article, Felsky describes the three strategies of feminist art. One of them is proving that women's art has artistic value and that is why it should be included into the established art system, not for political reasons. The followers of this strategy believe that such things as, for example, needlework or sketches of family life, are just as significant and important for art; it is simply because of male domination that they have been forced out of the professional
Stone (1995, p. 413) described this phenomenon as the ‘‘myth of bodily perfection’’ which has established standards that are generally impossible for most to meet. Toward Intimacy: Family Planning and Sexuality Concerns of Physically Disabled Women, a major work on disability and family planning services, noted that disabled women have not yet been established as being societal or sexually eligible ("Task Force," 1980). For those with disabilities, the inability to match the ‘‘ideal’’ body may be even more visible and hurtful (Rousso, 1996). All women face pervasive and invasive messages about how women's bodies should look, move, and develop and they face rigid societal definitions of attractiveness (Institute for Information Studies, 1982). Disabled people must also face the additional stigma of being physically different.