Gender And More Specifically Sexuality Essay

Gender And More Specifically Sexuality Essay

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Gender and more specifically sexuality is a very common theme within art both now and then due to the fact that each sex has a hard time grasping what the other goes through. Feminine sexuality is an especially hard concept to grasp due to the fact that it is looked at as something necessary to be kept private on an individual basis yet is also exposed regularly in the media and in the public eye. L’escarpolette or The Swing is one of Fragonard’s most famous paintings as it suggests an interesting relationship between two lovers. Édouard Manet’s Olympia is well known for being one of the paintings he used to assault Parisians feelings as it shows a naked woman who is staring intensely into the audience. While society viewed feminine sexuality as scandalous in these paintings, the artists were using it to shock the audience because they find societies views ridiculous. The way society reacted to the artist’s use of gender with a focus on women’s sexuality in L’escarpolette (The Swing) and Olympia gives clues as to why even today, society views women’s sexuality as such an important yet private concept and allows us to better determine the causes of society’s negative ideas of feminine sexuality today.
The Swing was accepted poorly by society due to its controversial potentially erotic image of two lovers. At this time shocking audiences with sexual undertones was quite common and Fragonard learned to do this from his teacher François Boucher. According to Henry M. Sayre in The Humanities Culture, Continuity, and Change “The Swing” contains erotic symbolism as a naked foot was a well-known symbol of virginity being lost which disgusted and shocked his audience. (817) In today’s society there is still a lot of weight in losing one’s...


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...on their behaviors and will probably continue to do so for quite some time.
Today’s viewpoint on women’s sexuality is due to viewpoints being passed down through the generations and will probably continue to exist yet change quite a bit over the next few decades. The reactions of society to The Swing and Olympia are examples of the viewpoints that have been passed down causing today’s view of women’s sexuality as being something that should be used for men’s pleasure but also hidden from society. It is important to look at gender roles and women’s sexuality in both ancient and modern art in order to help us understand our viewpoints and to help us to change those viewpoints to give women more comfortability and freedom. Society must try to make changes to their ideas of women’s sexuality so that everyone in society can feel free to be themselves without restrictions.

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