Women In Art By Emma Marshall

The Art of Choosing

Choosing a piece of artwork for this particular project was a lot harder than I thought it would be. So instead of choosing just one piece of art I chose to do something a little different. The first page of my project is a photo of me at the Harn Museum. The interesting part of the photograph is not me but, the wording on the poster I found hanging inside of the Harn. Immediately I changed the direction of my project and the topic in which I was going to present on. For this project I am choosing to look at multiple pieces of art which ties into one big focal point; why are there so many nude women in art but so little artists displayed within the museum?

Desundo en frente de espejo concavo

Females Become Leaders

As you can see from the above photograph, naked women are seen in art all over the world. However, that raises the question of why are women subjected to always being naked and why are more women artists not displayed in museums. The art I chose for this project represents intercultural communication in regards to leadership because it tells a story of how much women have overcome in the last century or so. Women, such as the one painted in this photo from 1927, were seen as those who were inferior to males. We could not vote, work, marry who we wanted, have freedom of speech, etc. We were seen as individuals who raised children, cooked, cleaned and made sure their husbands were happy. The art I chose relates to leadership because it reminds me of how much we, as a sex, have overcome. We have won the right to vote and to hold jobs. We have seen women as leaders in multiple aspects of our lives whether that be a teacher, doctor, boss, friend, mother or even our recent presidential candidate. These pieces of artwork show how we, as women, were not seen as much more than a naked model for artists to create masterpieces of and how since then we have blossomed into leaders of the world.

En el patio de mi casa

Micro Aggression

Micro aggression is defined as a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group. Micro aggression relates to the art(s) that I chose because it shows how there may have been an unintentional prejudiced attitude towards women in how they were represented in art in earlier years. Above is a piece of art that was created in the 1800's where the female is naked while the two men are clothed. That made me wonder what men thought of women in those days and how the art I chose touched micro aggression a little. Unintentionally or intentionally women are constantly viewed as the weaker sex. As this photo shows the men are lounging freely in their clothing while the woman is in the nude. To the eye of the viewer that photo can mean multiple things. For me, it makes me wonder about the role of the woman in that time frame. My whole life I have only seen women as leaders but in museums you do not see that at all. Museums show art that in my eyes degrades women and represents us in a manner that makes others believe we were/are still seen in that way. Museums I think unintentionally have micro aggressive tendencies towards women as a whole because they do not display large quantities of art work BY women. They merely display artwork OF women. To someone like myself and many others that causes one to ask why more artwork by women is not shown instead of the naked artwork and how do we change this societal view of women in art.



The art touched me in multiple ways. The art of naked women made me look at museums in a different way. I started to realize that throughout each different section of the Harn that there were differences in how each of the women were presented. In the french section, a lot of the women were photographed or painted in dresses which in my opinion showed a little more respect for the women they were portraying. In other instances such as the Latin section of the museum, I noticed that there is a noticeable difference in the cultures. The french women had clothing whereas the Latin women did not. It raised a lot of questions as to how the women in our society today are viewed by different cultures. As a white woman it is typical for me to see other white women in leadership. In other races, I wonder how they view women in leadership. Do we all view women for their bodies or their ability to bear children? Or does each culture or race view them for the skills they bring to the table?


Much like that of difference, the diversity of the art was intriguing. Although there were lots of women in the nude there were also section in which women were clothed. That showed the diversity among the different cultures, races and the different view points of women in art. Diversity is in a number of ways and in the art I presented you can see that by just glancing at the images. The way women are portrayed and what they are doing within the art all leans towards diversity.


Women's liberation is something that plays a huge role in the art that I chose. Like mentioned in my first photo, you start to question why there are so many naked women in art but so little art created by women being displayed in museums. The Harn shows how they are helping fight the movement to bring in more women artists. Not only from the sign they have placed but also by the exhibit they have that only shows female artists works. As someone who is not too fond of museums, it shocked me to see that sign informing viewers of women in art. The Harn seems to be trying to help the movement by adding art from women but also leaving the art portraying women. I think by doing both it shows how women have progressed throughout the last few centuries. They have gone from being the women painted to being the ones who are doing the painting. It displays how true leadership has been established throughout the years.

"How did it make you feel?"

Going into the museum I honestly thought this entire project was a little pointless. As someone who does not enjoy museums or art I was not too excited about this and was not sure how this related to intercultural leadership. However, once I was inside the museum and saw the large poster on females within the art world something inside me clicked. I started applying what we have learned on the minority group and started applying that to what I was seeing in the museum. It made me a little upset to see so many naked women in the museum. Yes, that may have been the "thing" in the 18-1900's but it just seemed so superficial. Not seeing a large amount of women artists within the museum was saddening. Although they have an area of art made by women it was very small and empty compared to the other sectors of the museum. It made me thankful for how much our society has changed in regards to the view on women and their roles. We have progressed so much and it hopefully only continues from here.

What did you learn?

I must say I was surprised by the amount of information I learned by spending an hour at the Harn museum. I learned that art can be very subjected and can be very controversial. Art tells a lot of different stories. I went there hoping to relate African or Latin American art to our class and ended up doing something totally different. By doing so I learned that museums can teach us an array of things. It can teach us about cultures, race and sex. Art related to a multitude of things as well. Women in art is something I never thought of or cared about until this class. Women in leadership was also something that I rarely paid attention to. It is interesting to see how there are prejudices in not only the history of the actions of others but also in the art of others. Whether that be by french, latin, african or american artwork. There is always going to be a group or minority that is negatively portrayed in art displayed around the world.

Created By
Emma Marshall

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