How Female Artists Are Subverting Mainstream Portrayals of Women

SALOMÉ GÓMEZ-UPEGUI, Artsy, January 18, 2021

The late 1960s and 1970s saw the birth of the feminist art movement, and with it a plethora of female artists who were unafraid to question expectations around femininity, womanhood, and the female body. Proponents such as Judy ChicagoMiriam Schapiro, and Yayoi Kusama sought to transform stereotypes by creating space for conversations around women’s liberation within the art world and beyond it. Yet to think that the feminist pushback steadily going on for the past 50 years or so has been enough to eliminate the absurd norms that oppress the female body is merely wishful thinking. Still today, women are often expected to be thin, hairless, smooth, soft, beauty queen–like pieces of perfect flesh. Still today, women are often expected to embody ideals in favor of the male gaze. Thus, the work of artists who rebel against these stringent standards is as relevant as ever.

This subject is at the foreground of the current exhibition “My Body, My Rules” at the Peréz Art Museum Miami (PAMM), open to the public until September 2021. This group show, organized by Brazilian curator Jennifer Inacio, features over 20 female artists from around the world and aims to examine “the mainstream portrayal of women, confronting the stereotypes, violence, limitations, and ideals imposed on the disputed image of the female body.” According to Inacio, the title of the exhibition is envisioned as a chant of empowerment, echoing the famous feminist slogan “my body, my choice.”