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Thread: The Passive Female
December 13th, 2013 #27Registered User
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So, I did a quick Google search of Zhaoming Wu. Porn all the way. Beautiful, subtle porn, but still porn. Lots of images of women lolling in their sunlit boudoirs, stretching languidly and idly fondling themselves or else looking wistfully out the window, or clutching their knees in forlorn lonesomeness. That, my friend, is porn.
And- back to BlackSpot's initial observation- no such images of men; in fact, men are only represented as simple portraits. Maybe that's not the artist's entire repertoire, but it's telling.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberDecember 13th, 2013 #28
I refer to my previous statement. Your not being able to separate nudity from pornography (which is sensation without content) is your problem. That you can't see the content doesn't mean it isn't there.
Which is another way of saying: It's a tremendous lack of sensitivity on your part that you can look at a Zhaoming Wu painting and lump it in with Brazzers.
December 13th, 2013 #29Registered User
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On the contrary, you unnecessarily delimit pornography. Nudity is not pornography and pornography is not nudity, but those images are designed primarily to titillate - admittedly in a more subtle, "elevated" way than, say, an average Hustler shoot. I am not saying that this is a bad thing, or that the artist is unworthy, or anything like that.
Indeed, it has been one of the major themes of art from its beginnings. Certainly the great artists of classical times or the Renaissance, and their patrons, were fully aware of the unabashed, and direct (by which I mean, it is intended to arouse, not just to comment on arousal) erotic content of their art. I can't remember which ancient author it was now, but one of them wrote how a sculptor gave his female nudes androgynous buttocks in order to appeal to viewers of different predilections.
The attempt to defend the erotic in art as being something other than what it so clearly is, is a Victorian legacy. Eighteenth century artists, in response to rising prudery, could get way with transferring their erotic pictures to exotic (usually Middle Eastern) settings and calling it reporting rather than porn. Nineteenth century artists had to go farther, and claim that their erotic pictures were some sort of Platonic celebration of form. Maybe some of them even believed it. But that was just an excuse to continue painting young women lolling about on silk sheets for the delectation of male patrons.
December 13th, 2013 #30
I'm aware of the legacy of art that's meant to do nothing but titillate, especially in the 19th century. That's not the same thing going on here, and that's what I mean about being able to see the difference. The subject matter is the same, but the picture evokes a completely different reaction. No one looks at one of Wu's pieces for erotic titillation. In my case, it's farthest from my mind. If you were holding up one of, say, Godward's paintings as your example, I'd see more of your point. But you're painting an entire form of art with that same brush, saying that some people created these pictures to titillate, therefore the idea that any nudes that are created as an artistic celebration of form is just an excuse. You've bought so wholly into this cynical, art critic view that you can't see past it. And I find that profoundly irritating, because you come in with this "enlightened" view, declaring that any talk of the art of it is bunk and that all people really wanted was to paint boobies.
December 13th, 2013 #31Registered User
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I can see how you'd be irritated, and I admit I may have overstated the case. I haven't really thought about this topic much before and I may have gotten carried away by my own train of thought.
I do not believe that "any nudes that are created as an artistic celebration of form is just an excuse". Many nudes are an artistic celebration of form, without sexual connotations. However, when I, personally, look at Wu's pieces, I see strong erotic overtones. The window-lit bedroom settings, the gossamer, the warm and soft light, and most of all, the overwhelming preponderance of shapely young lasses in wistful or even overtly sexual poses...I really don't see how you can look at that body of work and not see the erotic overtones. If it's just about the human form, why are there no men, no children, no older or less fit women? Why are there no other settings? Why are none of them engaged in activities other than reading?
December 13th, 2013 #32
No worries. I've taken a few of Wu's classes, I assure you that he does paint men and women of different ages and shapes as well, just not as much. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures back then :/. As I said, there's a very particular model type that he gravitates towards in most of his work, and that's the foundation. What he does after that has everything to do with the abstract qualities, the color, the texture, the edges, the mood above all. That's why I brought up his 'figure as landscape' analogy. It's not only about the subject, although the handling does work with the subject. It's hard not to see the poetry inherent in female form, although some of those clinical atelier studies do a pretty good job of doing away with it .
On a tangential note, I don't really equate all eroticism with pornography, it is a human experience in its own right that doesn't always have to do with mere titillation. That's a blurry line though, and I honestly don't think I could do justice to that line of thought in discussion right now.
But, I've gotta get back to work before the boss comes around. Cheers on the discussion .
December 13th, 2013 #33
Gene methylation, ie switching on and off, adds even an another layer of complexity over the already insanely complex behviour of the genes themselves.
we are 100% nature + nurture.
Culture is a very thin skin on the surface; its like the old bromide goes, we're only 3 days from barbarism if the food runs out.
" I just think it is more beneficial to look at it as if it were a cultural phenomena, instead of anything else, because that means we can change it. And I think it really is cultural, and we really can change it."
I again agree completely with Benedikt here. Witness the total lack of success and the terrible psychological damage done when mothers were told they were causing schizophrenia in their children by their parenting techniques (yeah that happened), or that being gay is a choice and can be changed. Both schizophrenia and homosexuality are wired in and theres absolutely fuck all culture can do about them aside from understanding this fact.
If you disagree, why did 50 shades of grey sell a jillions copies? The fantasies in there were, according to the reviews, generally about being dominated sexually. Not dominated intellectually, financially, just in the bedroom for fun.
Also, there seems to be this idea that dominance = good and male, and submission = bad and female. Guys want to compete, and win and BE THE MAN. The worst thing a guy can be is sexually submissive, once a cocksucker always a cockucker eh? "You cant control your woman, youre weak!" And less so recently but historically definitely, woe betide that a woman be dominant; that makes her 'mannish'. I infer no such moral positions from sexual ones, any more than I inately support the white pieces in chess because Im caucasian.
I am saying that passivity might be a strategy to attract males, and does not represent real submissiveness, much as dominance behaviour is a strategy (to demonstrate fitness) and earn the right to breed with females even thogh big muscles dont necessarily eaqual good genes. Gaming these strategies for personal benefit is why we might go to the gym to build our muscles or wear make up that makes our lips seem engorged with blood.
Like Sid says, a lot of this says more about you than it does about the work in question.
The only way all this nonsense will be squashed is when people can select the gender they prefer to physically appear as.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 13th, 2013 at 09:41 PM.
December 13th, 2013 #34
I think pictures of passive women are kind of like pictures of Jesus healing the sick. Wishful thinking. It's like "wouldn't it be nice if I could just get orgasms without having to do anything". And that goes for dominance fantasies too. They're mostly a convoluted way to fantasize about orgasms without guilt. "Wouldn't it be great if some guy I totally want to screw JUST HAPPENED to force me to do everything that I would do in a second if it weren't socially frowned-upon."
December 13th, 2013 #35
"Oh, it's a lot more complicated than that. Even when it comes to sex it's hardly a matter of a guy doing everything and the woman receiving everything. Because if you are passive and submissive, someone who is more active and socially manipulative is going to poach your testeroney protector. Or you may lose your chance at getting a better testeroney protector."
Now youre talking! And we're into the game theory of sexual selection... which is insanely interesting reading by the way...
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 13th, 2013 at 10:40 PM.
December 13th, 2013 #36
someone asked about an evolution of women in art as a function of time. i cant provid ethat but this might be germaine.
over the years artists have found ways to embellish mickey's childlike (neotenous) features to ellicit the cute response from people. thats the thing that makes people, especially women, go aww when then see a baby's big eyes, small muzzle and cute ickle fingers. kids love it too. it opens parents wallets.
theyve also been evolving out the stuff that looks like an adult monster rat thing; long spiky face, long whip tail, tiny beady eyes, small hand to head size etc.
artists do the same thing for strong powerful dudes and sexy inviting chicks lounging on sofas. The mistake is thinking sexual posturing is the same as desire for interpersonal dominance. it might be fun to be sexually dominated for a while, but not so much in the work place or marriage for years.
i dont think theres anything wrong with this posturing or media featuring it per se, and i dont want us to 'grow out of it', just recognise it for what it is; our animal past shone through the prism of culture and selected for in a large part by its automatically broad appeal; sex sells..
the reason we have trouble with this? no idea, but chimps have different theory of mind abilities during different tasks. during competitive tasks, they can accurately model the mental states of their opponants, cooperatively this isnt so much the case.. might be something like that going on..
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 14th, 2013 at 12:20 AM.
December 14th, 2013 #37
More women [than men] actively painting.
“In 1985 a group of female artists from New York, the Guerrilla Girls, began to protest the under-representation of female artists. According to them, male artists and the male viewpoint continued to dominate the visual art world. In a 1989 poster (displayed on NYC buses) titled "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?" they reported that less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections of the Met. Museum were women, but 85% of the nudes were female.”
December 14th, 2013 #38
vk and benedikt. I still disagree. Of course there are biological differences between the sexes. Gender inequality (and gender studies as a whole)however isn't about the actual sexes but about the way we perceive our socially constructed gender roles. There is a difference between being female and the ideas in our heads about what constitutes "female-ness".
The creation of thousands of images with docile woman on them is saying something about how we perceive the female gender. These ideas are constructed and have little to do with our biology and everything to do with our culture and politics.
edit: the problem for me with using scientific observations about our sex to say something about our gender is that these observations become part of our ideas about gender and because of that lose all there scientific credibility. How easily is an observation that females tend to be more caring, nurturing, emphatic (or whatever) used to actually advocate gender inequality. The step, females are more caring, nurturing and emphatic so females should be house-wives isn't really that big.
Last edited by D.Labruyere; December 14th, 2013 at 10:10 AM.
December 14th, 2013 #39Registered User
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"Socially constructed gender roles"
What about biologically-emergent gender roles? In what sense can you separate societal morés from biology?
I believe that ideology is holding you back, D. You are shutting down the scientific method by refusing to allow in certain strains of information because you can't tolerate them morally. But the reality is, you can't investigate something scientifically while also viewing it through a prism of morality. In order to really have investigative rigor, you must be willing to think all possible thoughts.
At least Icarus tried!
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