The sexualization of art pieces continues.
Artist Maggi Hambling has found herself the victim of online criticism after she created a statue for feminist icon Mary Wollstonecraft. The statue was unveiled on November 10th in London, and was immediately met with widespread criticism.
Novelist Jojo Moyes said that it would have been better to "commemorate Mary Wollstonecraft with her clothes on." Many agreed with this sentiment.
Hambling responded to the criticism, saying that people have "missed the point" of the statue.
Hambling defended her work to the Evening Standard, saying: "You can’t be naked enough can you? The point is that she has to be naked because clothes define people. We all know that clothes are limiting and she is everywoman. As far as I know, she’s more or less the shape we’d all like to be."
She added that the statue isn't of Wollstonecraft. The statue is of "everywoman."
"She’s everywoman and clothes would have restricted her. Statues in historic costume look like they belong to history because of their clothes. It’s crucial that she is ‘now’. The whole sculpture is called ‘for Mary Wollstonecraft’ and that’s crucially important. It’s not an idea ‘of’ Mary Wollstonecraft naked… the sculpture is for now."
I feel that!
For those that do not know who Mary Wollstonecraft is, she is known as the "mother of feminism." She was a pioneer of human rights. Wollstonecraft published a book called "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792. It was the earliest published work that called for gender equality.
The book inspired women suffragists 100 years later.
I love the meaning behind Hambling's statue, and it is so relevant today.
Clothes on this "Mary Wollstonecraft" statue would have confined her, especially if she were to be clothed in true 1700s attire. It would have kept her back in her time. She shouldn't be kept back there. She is relevant today, as we are still fighting for gender equality in this world.
The statue represents pushing boundaries by being your true naked self. She is everywoman. We shouldn't be held back in a patriarchal society. We should be kicking down barriers! Mary Wollstonecraft was centuries ahead of her time when she wrote her book about gender equality. Such a thing was unheard of back then, and it's still a struggle today. We shouldn't be held back like women were in the 1700s. We need to make bold statements, push barriers, and be strong figures in this world.
Maggi Hambling, I salute your symbolism! The statue is beautiful, strong, feminine, and bold. She is the shape I'd like to be!
An added thought:
Why does everyone continue to clutch their pearls at a nude female body? You don't see naked male statues getting the same criticism. Double standard much?
The female body is not shameful. It's a work of art. It's an expression of freedom and power. This is why we need feminism: because both men and women are afraid of strong femininity. The fear is just another part of the patriarchal curriculum.
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