Renée Cox's A Gynocentric Aesthetic

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Introduction Throughout history, women around the world have struggled to obtain equal political, social, and economic standing with men. Consequently, this struggle has carried over into the art world and fields of aesthetics. Fifty-one percent of today’s visual artists are women, yet only 28% of museum solo exhibitions in eight selected museums featured female artists. The art community has a diversity problem, and it is highly important that feminist aesthetics are acknowledged and implemented under the general umbrella of aesthetics. There are several reasons for this. First of all, women deserve reparations for their historical exclusion from the art world. Secondly, current patriarchal standards within aesthetic fields need to be abolished…show more content…
Throughout history and across the world, Felski claims, women have had such diverse experiences that it is impossible to find a common thread of experience between each and every individual. Therefore, it would be impossible to claim an all-inclusive feminist aesthetic unique to the female experience. In “A Gynocentric Aesthetic,” Renée Cox makes a proposal as to what a feminist aesthetic could possibly look like. She bases her model off of matriarchal and egalitarian societies in the present day. In societies such as the African Lovedu and !Kung San, the roles of men and women are complementary rather than subsidiary. These cultures stress the inclusion of all members of a community and the sharing of…show more content…
Patriarchal art concerns the fictional, and has existed only since the aesthetic sphere was separated from the rest of life. It is thus artificial and denatured. Matriarchal art is ‘the ability to shape life and so change it; it is itself energy, life, a drive toward the aestheticization of society.’”

Such art fuses with life itself until the two are indistinguishable from each other. Cox’s suggestions for a gynocentric aesthetic extend far into the metaphysical but still contain practical applications. Cox suggests that a feminist form of artistic expression would place emphasis on the creative process rather than the final product. Art would be more collaborative and less specialized. By analyzing features from different matriarchal cultures, Cox refutes Felski’s claim that there can be no universal feminist aesthetic. Cox was able to discover a common feminine denominator rooted in social science that could serve as a basis for what is considered “feminist” art.

The Logic Behind a Feminist

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